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Support for small businesses through COVID (July 2021)

There is a range of different support packages available from the state and federal governments to help businesses affected by the recent COVID lockdowns get through this challenging period.

Various options to access help

COVID-induced lockdowns are tough on businesses, especially those that are forced to close their doors due to public health orders. But there is a range of government support packages qualifying businesses can access. Here’s a rundown of some of the assistance packages available.

  • Support for NSW businesses

There are two grant packages for small businesses in NSW depending on the size of the business. Under the COVID-19 Micro Business Grant scheme , if your annual turnover is between $30,000 and $75,000 and your revenue has dropped by 30 per cent or more since the start of the latest lockdowns, you may be able to claim a fortnightly, tax-free $1,500 grant. Larger businesses, sole traders and not-for-profit organisations can apply for one-off grants of up to $15,000 under the 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant Scheme.

While the JobKeeper wage subsidy package has ended, the JobSaver initiative is still in place. This scheme’s purpose is to keep people who are employed by COVID-impacted businesses in their jobs. Businesses whose revenue has dropped by 30 per cent or more, whose annual turnover is between $75,000 and $50 million, may be eligible for fortnightly payments equal to 40 per cent of payroll up to a maximum payment of $10,000 a week. This is also available to non-employing businesses, which may qualify for a $1,000 weekly payment.

Additionally, businesses with annual revenue of up to $10 million, whose revenue has dropped by 30 per cent or more since the start of the latest lockdown, may be able to defer payroll tax payments until 7 October 2021. Affected businesses can also request to enter into a 12-month, interest-free payment plan to pay back any deferred payroll tax.

The NSW government has also announced a tenancy support package for NSW businesses. Landlords cannot evict tenants who can’t pay their bills as a result of COVID until after the lockdown ends. There’s also land tax relief available for landlords who reduce rent for impacted tenants.

Industry-specific support

Tourism has been one of the hardest-hit of all sectors during the pandemic. So the NSW government has introduced a special tourism support package, the centrepiece of which is the Dine & Discover NSW Voucher Scheme. Under this initiative, NSW residents can access vouchers through the Service NSW website they can spend at a variety of restaurants and attractions. Additionally, NSW residents can access up to 200,000 vouchers worth $100 each to go towards the cost of accommodation bookings.

Businesses do need to be verified to become part of these schemes. Go to Service NSW to register and find out more.

Additional support options

The SME Recovery Loan Scheme is an option for businesses seeking access to funds to support their way out of the pandemic. This scheme is open to businesses with annual turnover of up to $250 million seeking loans of up to $5 million. Successful applicants must have also received JobKeeper between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021, or have been affected by the 2021 floods.

Under this scheme, the federal government will guarantee up to 80 per cent of the loan, with a 24-month period loan holiday.

We have focused on NSW and federal support packages in this article, but state governments are constantly making announcements about support available to small businesses through the pandemic. So, it’s an idea to regularly check your state government’s web site to find out about support packages you may be able to access.

The invaluable support of an advisor

It’s impossible to underestimate the value a trusted advisor can add to your business through market cycles. It’s an idea to talk to your bookkeeper or accountant to ensure you are taking advantage of all the government support to which you are entitled.

Access to accurate, up-to-date financial information is also essential to apply for many of the grants available to businesses as they navigate through the pandemic. Intuit QuickBook’s leading cloud-based accounting software supports you by giving you and your business advisers access to all the information you need to apply for government support and ensure you have a real-time view of how your business is performing. Contact us today to find out more.

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