AGPAL recommends seeking individual financial advice from your financial advisor, business manager or accountant on how these measures may support your practice during the coming months.
Support for general practices
The Australian Federal Government has announced it will be doubling of Practice Incentive Payments (PIP) to practices that stay open offering face-to-face consultations.
Included in these changes is $3 million to healthcare workers and universal telehealth for all Australians:
The Australian Government is expanding Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians and providing extra incentives to general practitioners and other health practitioners.
Services will include GP services and some consultation services provided by other medical specialists, nurse practitioners, mental health treatment, chronic disease management, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health assessments, services to people with eating disorders, pregnancy support counseling, services to patients in aged care facilities, children with autism, and after-hours consultations.
Financial support for businesses
To help financially distressed businesses, the Government will:
- provide up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not-for-profits that employ people
- provide temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
- increase the instant asset write-off to $150,000
- provide a 15-month business investment incentive
- subsidise up to 50 per cent of apprentice and trainee wages for 9 months
For more information and other financial support in your state or territory, visit business.gov.au.
Boosting cash flow for employers
Eligible businesses, including not-for-profit organisations, sole traders, partnerships, companies or trusts will be provided with a tax-free cash flow boost of between $10,000 and $50,000. Your business is eligible if it:
- held an ABN on 12 March 2020 and continues to be active
- has an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million (generally based on prior year turnover), and
- made eligible payments you are required to withhold from (even if the amount you need to withhold is zero).
Your initial cash flow boost is based on the amount of your PAYG withholding.
Eligible businesses that withhold tax on their employees' salary and wages will receive a credit equal to 100% of the amount withheld – up to a maximum of $50,000. The minimum credit will be $10,000, even if the amount required to be withheld is zero. However, you will not be eligible to receive any more cash flow boosts until your PAYG withholding exceeds $10,000 over the relevant periods
Monthly lodgers will receive a credit that is calculated at three times the rate (300%) in the March 2020 activity statement, to align with quarterly lodgers.
You do not need to apply for the cash flow boosts. If you are eligible, the boosts will be delivered as credits in the activity statement system from the Government's announced date of 28 April 2020.
The credit is available to:
- quarterly lodgers for the quarters ending March 2020 and June 2020
- monthly lodgers for the March 2020, April 2020, May 2020 and June 2020 periods.
Eligible entities who received initial cash flow boosts will receive additional cash flow boosts, for the periods June to September 2020, equal to the total amount of initial cash flow boosts received. This will be delivered in either two or four installments depending on your reporting period.
Backing business investment
Businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million are able to accelerate their depreciation deductions on the purchase of certain new depreciable assets.
This applies to eligible assets acquired and first used or installed ready for use from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2021.
Increasing the instant asset write-off
From 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, the instant asset write-off:
- threshold is $150,000 (up from $30,000)
- eligibility range covers businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million).
Businesses with a turnover of $500 million or more are not eligible to use instant asset write-off.
From 1 July 2020, the instant asset write-off will only be available for small businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million and the threshold will be $1,000.
ATO administrative concessions
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will also consider relief for eligible businesses; these include:
- deferring by up to four months the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including PAYG installments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise allowing businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get quicker access to GST refunds they may be entitled to
- allowing businesses to vary Pay As You Go (PAYG) installment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG installment to zero can also claim a refund for any installments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters
- remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities
- working with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low-interest payment plans.
If disruption to your business operations causes you to fall behind with your tax and super obligations, contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 or speak to your tax professional so that they can work with you to find a solution. Further information is available here.
Australian Banking Association (ABA) has announced that all small businesses hit by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic will be able to access a six-month deferral of loan repayments.
Contact your bank to discuss your options.
The Government will guarantee 50% of unsecured loans taken out by small businesses in the six months starting from 1 April 2020 with banks who join the scheme. This will make it easier for small businesses to access credit quickly, with less red tape.
Loans can be taken over a three-year term to a maximum amount of $250,000. Also, loans will not have any repayment requirements for the first six months, but will not apply to existing customers refinancing.
COVID-19 support in your state or territory
Your state or territory government can also help you find support during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:
- ACT Government - COVID-19 economic survival package.
- NSW Government - COVID-19.
- NT Government - jobs rescue and recovery.
- Queensland Government - COVID-19 economic relief package.
- SA Government - COVID-19.
- Department of Health Tasmania - COVID-19 response measures.
- Department of Health and Human Services Victoria - COVID-19.
- WA Government - Coronavirus COVID-19.