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Support to regions and communities most affected

Australian Government Corona Virus ( COVID-19 ) Economic Stimulus Method 5 | - Support to regions and communities most affected

What is the Tax Benefit?

The Federal Government has set aside $1 billion to support regions and communities disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the coronavirus. This includes those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.

The measure will include the waiver of fees and charges for tourism businesses that operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the waiver of entry fees for Commonwealth National Parks. It will also aid with identifying alternative export markets or supply chains, with targeted measures to further promote domestic tourism.

On a case-by-case basis, the ATO will look to provide administrative relief for some tax obligations for people affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

How could this potentially impact cash flow?

Taxpayers should assess whether they are in industries directly affected by the coronavirus. While the announcement specifically lists the tourism, agriculture and education, many other industries are significantly affected where, for example, supply chains are through China. The ATO has announced (click here) a number of specific concessions that may be available, including:

»deferring (by up to four months) the payment date of amounts due through the BAS (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise;

»allowing businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting to get quicker access to GST refunds;

»allowing businesses to vary PAYG instalment amounts to zero for the April 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments 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; and

»working with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low interest payment plans.

The ATO has stated that employers will still need to meet their ongoing super guarantee obligations for their employees (as they do not have the ability to defer payments).

What are the next steps?

The time period in which entities can access the stimulus package is limited and therefore action should be taken immediately. It is therefore critical to consider your position, whether you can qualify for the measures and the potential impact of the measures and how the rules apply. Many of these measures could assist clients in accessing much needed cash in the short term.

Contact your accountant to review your situation and determine what action is required.

Take a detailed read of the official government website which explains further details click here.

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