We hope you and your family have been keeping as well as possible during this Extended Lockdown in August.
As of last week, we now have more complete information around the current grants and payments available to 1) Eligible Businesses or 2) Eligible Workers
Once again, we thought we would provide a summary of the different kinds of Government assistance currently available.
The Victorian and Federal Government have announced extra support measures to assist small and medium businesses to recover from this new Lockdown, which have been summarised further below
(Please note, since the Lockdown has recently been extended again further into September, there will be additional grant information released by Business Victoria in the next week or so. Please go to their website for updates regarding Automatic Top-up Payments https://business.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs)
There is potentially some great news for businesses that have not yet received any grants so far from Business Victoria, who may now be eligible for the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund, which is $20,000. One of the key requirements for this grant is that you are required to provide a Letter from a Qualified Tax Agent to confirm your business has experienced a reduction in Turnover of 70% or more.
Please note, if you are not able to get in contact with your Tax Agent, but in fact do have a reduction in Turnover, I can provide the required letter to you since I am a Qualified Tax Agent. I would first need to speak to you and advise whether you are actually eligible, and also advise what information I require from you in order to prepare the letter. However, before contacting me, please first read further below for more information regarding this grant and the eligibility criteria.
If you believe you are eligible or are unsure, and need assistance to lodge an application with Business Victoria, please contact us. Feel free to forward this link to anyone else that you think might benefit from this information.
(The following website also provides a summary of all other types of assistance available at present. https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/financial-and-other-support-coronavirus-covid-19#relief-packages)
1) ELIGIBLE BUSINESSES
After you have read the below, we recommend that you read further information on the website links provided below, which contain additional information, eligibility criteria, instructions on how to Apply, etc.
The FAQ’s for each of the grants on the Business Victoria website are very helpful as well.
Also, for further information contact Business Victoria on 13 22 15.
VICTORIAN BUSINESS SUPPORT PACKAGE
i) Small Business COVID Hardship Fund – NEW
This program has specifically been introduced for small businesses that have unfortunately not been eligible for support under existing programs, and have experienced a 70% reduction in turnover.
All business industries can apply for this grant.
This new type of assistance has been introduced for businesses whose operations have been severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions in place since 27 May 2021.
This grant applies to both employing and non-employing businesses, including Sole Traders registered for GST.
*Claim closure date: Please note, this will be open for applications until 11.59pm Friday 10 September 2021 or until program funds are exhausted or, whichever is earlier. *Grant amount: Eligible businesses will be invited to apply for grants of $14,000. *Eligibility criteria: To be eligible for the Program, a business must: 1. Be located within Victoria; and 2. As a direct consequence of COVID-19 restrictions since 27 May 2021, have experienced a 70 per cent or greater REDUCTION in Turnover/Revenue for a minimum consecutive two-week period comparable to a prior comparable benchmark period in 2019. (Please note: If your business did not have a trading history in 2019, there are alternative rules available); and 3. Letter from a Qualified Tax Agent - Evidence of the 70% reduction in turnover must be attested/verified by a Qualified Tax Agent. Therefore, if you chose to submit the application online yourself, your application must include a signed copy of this letter in .pdf version. 4. Have an annual Victorian payroll of below $10 million; and 5. Be registered for GST on 28 July 2021; and 6. Hold an ABN and have held that ABN on and from 28 July 2021; and 7. Be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator. For example, ASIC, WorkSafe. 8. For employing businesses only: Be registered with WorkSafe Victoria. (If you are a Sole Trader and do not employ anyone, this does not apply to you.) *Where to apply? Below is a link to the application form: https://businessvic.secure.force.com/PublicForm?id=SBCHF-2021#no-back-button
More information is available on the Business Victoria website below:
FAQ’s – The Frequently Asked Questions cover off many questions and are definitely worth a read: https://business.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/small-business-covid-hardship-fund/faqs
ii) Business Costs Assistance Program – Round THREE August Extension
This program is a continuation of the previous support offered under this assistance measure and provides additional support to eligible businesses in certain industries.
*Grant amount: At this stage, eligible businesses will receive the 2 below grants for the month of August 2021: i) ‘12 August 2021’ Top-up Payment - $2,800 ii) ‘19 and 22 August 2021’ Top-up Payment - $5,600 *Eligibility To receive these payments, your business must have previously received either of the 2 below grants: 1. Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two (May/June) 2. Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two July Extension These grants were only available for businesses who operated in a certain industry with a ANZSIC industry code included on the list previously provided by Business Victoria. This grant applied to both employing and non-employing businesses, including Sole Traders registered for GST. *How this will be paid? This will be processed and paid automatically, which reduces any additional administrative burden. Therefore, you cannot apply for this yourself.
More information is available on the Business Victoria websites below:
iii) Business Continuity Fund – August Extension
This program is a continuation of the previous support offered under this assistance measure, and provides additional support to eligible businesses in the CBD.
*Grant amount: Eligible businesses will receive $2,000 grants. *Eligibility criteria: To receive this payment, businesses must be located in the CBD, and meet both of the below criteria: 1. Your business must have previously received either of the 2 below grants: i) Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two (May/June) ii) Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two July Extension and 2. Your business must belong to one of the Twenty-four eligible sectors, listed on the below website link: https://business.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/circuit-breaker-business-support-package/business-continuity-fund/eligible-anzsic-classes *How this will be paid? This will be processed and paid automatically, which reduces any additional administrative burden. Therefore, you cannot apply for this yourself.
More information is available on the Business Victoria website below:
iv) Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 – August Extension
This program is a continuation of the previous support offered under this assistance measure and provides additional support to eligible businesses in the hospitality industry.
The grant amount paid will be dependent on your venue capacity, which Business Victoria will determine based on information and records available to them.
*Grant amount: Eligible businesses will receive a grant between $5,000 to $20,000, which will be graded by venue capacity by Business Victoria. Please note, an additional $2,000 will also be made available to the business if it is located within the CBD with an eligible postcode. *Eligibility criteria: To receive this payment, your business must have previously received either of the 2 below grants: i) Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 (May/June) ii) Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 July Extension *How this will be paid? This will be processed and paid automatically, which reduces any additional administrative burden. Therefore, you cannot apply for this yourself.
More information is available on the Business Victoria website below:
v) Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme and Landlord Hardship Fund
The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme has been reinstated to provide much needed rent relief to small to medium commercial tenants and their landlords.
This will provide guaranteed rent deductions to tenants, who meet the eligibility criteria.
This will also support landlords that provide rent relief for their tenants.
The Scheme will apply retrospectively from 28 July 2021 and will run until 15 January 2022.
Tenants and landlords are encouraged to enter negotiations directly, with the Victorian Small Business Commission available to provide mediation if parties cannot reach an agreement.
*Rent relief Benefits and Protections The benefits and protections for commercial tenants and landlords include: • proportionate rent relief (for example, a business with a turnover of 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels can only be charged 40 per cent of its rent – of the remaining rent at least half must be waived, with the remainder to be deferred) • a ban on rental increases • a moratorium/temporary stop on evictions for eligible tenants who can’t pay their rent, without first undertaking mediation through the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) • free mediation for commercial tenants and landlords to support fair tenancy negotiations. *Eligibility criteria 1. More than 30 per cent REDUCTION in Turnover/Revenue. 2. Commercial tenants with an annual Turnover below $50 million. *Rent relief Calculations Rent relief will be calculated by comparing the business turnover for the final quarter of 2020–21 with turnover from the final quarter of 2018–19. The percentage drop will determine the amount of initial rent relief. For new businesses that were not operating in 2019, special arrangements will allow for assessing the impacts on their turnover.
For further information contact the VSBC on 13 87 22.
More information is available on the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) website below:
FAQ’s – The Frequently Asked Questions cover off on many questions and are definitely worth a read:
2) ELIGIBLE WORKERS/BUSINESSES NOT REGISTERED FOR GST
Eligible workers can apply for the Federal Government COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
For more information, click on the below website link:
Also, for further information contact Services Australia Disaster Assistance on 180 22 66.
COVID-19 DISASTER PAYMENT
This is for Australian workers who have had their hours of work and income significantly affected due to the lockdown since 6th August 2021, and may be eligible for a COVID Disaster Payment from the Federal Government of $750 or $450 per week.
Most small businesses not registered for GST are eligible.
If you’re a member of a couple, you can both claim this payment. You and your partner will need to make separate claims.
Please note, there are different eligibility criteria for the below:
i) if you don’t get a Centrelink or DVA payment
ii) if you get a Centrelink or DVA payment.
However, I have only summarised the below information for those that do not currently receive any Centrelink payment.
*Claim closure dates: 1. For the payment period of 06 to 12 August 2021, claims open 13 August 2021 and close 02 September 2021. 2. For the payment period of 13 to 19 August 2021, claims open 20 August 2021 and close 09 September 2021. 3. For the payment period of 20 to 26 August 2021, claims open 27 August 2021 and close 16 September 2021. 4. For the payment period of 27 August 2021 to 02 September 2021, claims open 03 September 2021 and close 23 September 2021. *Eligibility criteria: You must meet the below criteria: • you're an Australian resident or hold a visa that gives you the right to work in Australia • you're 17 years or older • you did not get an income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay during the payment period. • you did not get the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment • you did not get a state pandemic payment • you did not get a state small business payment from Business Victoria (listed further above in this e-mail) for the same period • you lost income and didn’t have any appropriate paid leave entitlements. • you were unable to earn your usual income of 8 hours or more or a full day’s work because you were in the COVID-19 hotspot and were subject to a restricted movement order, or you lived or worked from other areas of Victoria. You are NOT required to take any of these types of LEAVE before accessing the payment, which is a good thing: • annual leave • unpaid leave • paid sick and carer’s leave • long service leave • compassionate leave when your employer has stood you down without pay. Please note, there are no liquid assets rules for Victoria. This means you can still receive this payment, even if you have a certain amount of assets or money in your bank account. *How much you can get? The amount of COVID-19 Disaster Payment in Victoria you can get depends on your situation, and all of the following: • the location of the health order • the period you’re claiming for • the hours of work you lost. Period Date Range - 06 August to 02 September 2021 (4 Week Period) Amount Per Week if you lost less than 20 hours work that week - $450 Amount Per Week if you lost 20 hours or more that week - $750 Please note, a full day of your usual work is what you were scheduled to work but could not because of a restricted movement order. This includes not being able to attend a full time, part time or casual shift of less than 8 hours. *How to apply? If you are an Australian resident, you must claim this online via myGov. If you are an Eligible Visa holder, you must call the Emergency information line on 180 22 66.
More information is available on the Services Australia website link below:
Watch the YouTube Video on the below website link, which provides easy-to-understand visual instructions: