Weekly Digest – 17 March 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Phase 1b Vaccination Roll Out to Commence on 22 March 2021

Phase 1b vaccinations will commence on 22 March 2021, and more than 1,000 general practices will join the COVID-19 vaccination program from next week to further strengthen the capacity and ensure an efficient distribution of vaccines across the country.

Phase 1B includes vulnerable groups, such as older people and people with certain underlying medical conditions. Those eligible for Phase 1B will be able to find a vaccination provider through the new national vaccination information and location service, at the Department of Health website.

You can also check which phase of the vaccine rollout you’re in through the Eligibility Checker.

Over $1.1 Billion to Extend Australia’s COVID-19 Health Response

The government will invest more than $1.1 billion to extend Australia’s national COVID-19 health response and suppression strategy until 31 December 2021.

This $1.1 billion is in addition to more than $22 billion spent in these areas, including over $6 billion to support the COVID-19 vaccine roll out. This investment will extend the focus on containing the virus through testing, tracing and border and travel measures, building and investing in the capacity of the health system, and collaborating with states and territories, the health sector and others.

More information on the specific measures that will be supported can be found here.

Stimulus Package for Tourism Industry: Cheap Flights, Loans and Financial Aid

The Australian government unveiled a $1.2 billion tourism support package to help boost local travel, while international borders remain closed.

Airline ticket subsidies for travellers, cheap loans to small tour companies and financial aid for the country’s two largest airlines are designed to keep this critical sector afloat until our international borders reopen.

Wage Subsidy Scheme for Apprentices to Be Expanded

The government will spend $1.2 billion to expand its wage subsidy scheme for apprentices, as JobKeeper is set to end this month.

Under the apprentice scheme, the government will pay half the wages of apprentices up to a maximum of $7,000 each quarter for 12 months. It will run until September 2022. Ask us if you have any questions.

Second Round of ‘Boosting Female Founders Initiative’

The federal government has launched a second round of funding for the Boosting Female Founders Initiative worth $11.6 million. This will support female entrepreneurs to build their businesses and create local jobs.

Through this government support, grants between $25,000 and $400,000 will be provided to Australian start-up businesses that are female-founded or majority owned and led by women.

Applications opened on 8 March 2021, International Women’s Day.

JobKeeper ends soon: what to do if you’re worried about your business

If your business is struggling with cashflow or other issues at the moment, it’s time to have a chat. It’s a good time to take stock and think about your business more broadly. It’s likely that any underlying issues have been compounded by the COVID-19 crisis, magnifying and accelerating the impact of these issues.

If you are worried about how your business will make ends meet without JobKeeper, you should speak with your advisor to find out your options. It’s crucial to be proactive and act early if you feel you will be in financial distress. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you weather this storm. We’ll make sure you have a solid understanding of your business’ current financial position so you can make informed decisions.

The final JobKeeper payment will be processed in April 2021.

If you haven’t yet enrolled there’s still time. If you’re eligible you can enrol at any time until the end of March 2021.

If you already receive JobKeeper payments for your eligible employees, you don’t have to do anything when the program closes.

However, you will need to complete your final monthly business declaration for March by 14 April 2021.

If you still need assistance you may be eligible for the JobMaker Hiring Credit or other help, just ask us.

Claiming the JobMaker Hiring Credit

The JobMaker Hiring Credit is available for eligible employers who create new positions for eligible young people between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021.

To receive JobMaker Hiring Credit payments, you don’t need to satisfy a fall in turnover test. All you need to do is complete three steps:

  • Register – via ATO online services, Online services for business or the Business portal, or through your registered tax or BAS agent.
  • Nominate your eligible additional employees – by running payroll events through your Single Touch Payroll (STP) enabled software by 27 April 2021.
  • Claim payments – using ATO online services, Online services for business or the Business portal, or through your registered tax or BAS agent.

You can register at any time until the scheme ends. Ask us if you have any questions.

Beware of Scammers Impersonating the ATO

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is warning about a new batch of scammers impersonating the ATO who are claiming they’ve suspended their target’s tax file number (TFN) following suspected fraudulent activity.

While the number of people falling victim to this scam is low, the large amounts being lost per person is alarming, according to Assistant Commissioner Trent Jakubowski.

So remember, the ATO does call taxpayers but will never:

  • send unsolicited pre-recorded phone messages
  • use aggressive or rude behaviour, or threaten you with immediate arrest, jail or deportation
  • suspend your TFN
  • request direct transfers of money to a personal bank account
  • project their number onto your caller ID

If you receive a suspicious call, email, or SMS, report it to ato.gov.au/reportascam or call the ATO’s dedicated scam line 1800 008 540 to check if it was legitimate.

Upcoming Key Dates

Upcoming key lodgment and payment dates for businesses:

21 March

  • February monthly activity statements – final date for lodgment and payment.

31 March

  • Lodge tax return for companies and super funds with total income of more than $2 million in the latest year lodged (excluding large/medium taxpayers), unless the return was due earlier. Payment is also due by this date.
  • Lodge tax return for the head company of a consolidated group (excluding large/medium), with a member who had a total income in excess of $2 million in their latest year lodged, unless the return was due earlier. Payment is also due by this date.
  • Lodge tax return for individuals and trusts whose latest return resulted in a tax liability of $20,000 or more, excluding large/medium trusts. Payment is due as advised on their notice of assessment.

Contact us if you have any questions.

It’s time to review your fringe benefits

The fringe benefits tax (FBT) year ends on 31 March. That means it’s time to review the benefits you’ve provided to your employees for the last 12 months and work out which of those attract FBT.

Examples of fringe benefits include:

  • private use of work cars
  • entertainment (e.g. concert tickets)
  • reimbursement of employees’ expenses (e.g. school fees)
  • salary sacrifice arrangements.

Over the past year there have been many changes and restrictions due to COVID. To adapt, you may have provided your employees different benefits to those you usually provide, and these may be exempt from FBT.

Generally, you do not need to pay FBT for:

  • items provided to employees to enable them to work from home (e.g. laptop or portable device)
  • emergency accommodation, food and transport
  • emergency health care.

You can find out more about when it is (and isn’t) a fringe benefit here and read about the FBT COVID changes here.

Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended

The government is extending its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. If you need help to access these loans or you want to find out if you are eligible, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.

6 Financial Documents Any Small Business Needs

Drawing up the right financial documents matters to your small business’ success more than you think they do. They can give you a clear view of your financial health and can help you make sound decisions.

Below are the six most useful financial documents that you can benefit from:

  1. Income statement- This shows your revenue and expenses and indicates if your business is profitable.
  2. Cash flow statement- This documents how cash is coming in and going out of your business. Most importantly, this shows which parts of your business are generating the most cash and which ones are spending the most cash. It can be really helpful when creating upcoming budgets.
  3. Balance sheet- This shows if your assets balance with your liabilities. If you have more liabilities than assets, you’re losing money and must reevaluate.
  4. Accounts receivable aging report- This is a list of overdue customer invoices. It covers how late the payment is and how to contact the client for collection.
  5. Budget report- This compares the actual results of your business with a pre-established budget. It is used to determine how much funds each area of the business is given and how well they use the funds to achieve the goals of your business.
  6. Business plan- This maps out where your business is, where you want it to go, and how you plan to get there.

If you need help generating or understanding these financial documents, simply get in touch with us. Our reliable team can explain these in language that’s easy-to-understand.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.