Weekly Digest – 16 December 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s updates and some ideas that will help us all overcome this crisis.

State-by-State Guide to COVID-19 Restrictions Ahead of Holidays

As Australia plans to reopen in time for Christmas and the New Year, authorities are reminding people to follow the COVID-19 restrictions that remain in place. Over the months, states and territories have continuously changed travel and social restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. You may check this guide for a state-by-state breakdown of which restrictions remain in place in your particular state.

Electronic PAYG and GST Instalment Notices

You can now get your quarterly pay as you go (PAYG) and goods and services tax (GST) instalment notices electronically.

By using the ATO’s online services to lodge your activity statement, you will be able to access your instalment amount online anytime.

You can also receive an electronic reminder of your due date via email or SMS 21 days before the due date, instead of by paper. If you’re already using their online services, your December quarterly instalment amount is now available online.

If you need help with your taxes, our registered tax agents and BAS agents can help.

Can The JobMaker Hiring Credit Help Your Business?

The JobMaker Hiring Credit could mean that your business will receive payments for new positions you create.

Eligible employers will receive payments of up to:

  • $200 a week – for each eligible employee aged 16 to 29 years old
  • $100 a week – for each eligible employee aged 30 to 35 years old.

To be eligible, your business must meet criteria including:

  • holding an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • being registered for pay as you go (PAYG) withholding
  • reporting through Single Touch Payroll
  • being up to date with income tax and GST lodgement obligations
  • not falling into any of the exclusion categories.

You can register for the JobMaker Hiring Credit using ATO online services or the Business portal or contact us so we can help you with your application.

JobKeeper Payment Extension Starts Soon

The second JobKeeper Payment extension starts from Monday 4 January 2021.

It means:

  • if you are eligible for JobKeeper extension 2 you will need to complete a new decline in turnover test
  • the payment rates for your eligible employees will change
  • if you are new to JobKeeper you can enrol in the program to participate in the remaining fortnights.

For JobKeeper fortnight 20 (Monday 21 December 2020 to Sunday 3 January 2021):

  • You will have until the end of Monday 4 January 2021 to pay your employees (meet the wage condition).
  • Business monthly declarations for JobKeeper fortnights 18, 19 and 20 are now due 28 January 2021.

For JobKeeper fortnights 21 and 22 (starting Monday 4 January 2021 and Monday 18 January 2021):

  • You will have until Sunday 31 January 2021 to meet the wage condition for your eligible employees.

Key Dates

21 December 2020

  • November Monthly BAS is due – You need to lodge and pay your November monthly BAS. If you will have difficulty paying, still lodge the BAS and contact the ATO to work out a payment plan.
  • JobKeeper fortnight 20 starts

Changes in Casual Employment

There have been significant changes for Casual Employment, which involves overtime pay rates in some awards. If your award has been affected by these changes but you failed to update your systems, you run the risk of underpaying your staff.

You may check if your award was updated by accessing the Fair Work Commission’s Schedule of Determinations here.

If you find a mistake has been made, you need to work out how long the employee has been underpaid, how much was actually paid and should have been paid, and back pay the employee. Make sure to include the overtime, penalty rates, and superannuation when paying the variance.

Contact us if you have any questions.

Financial Help and Free Mentorship For Online Businesses

Micro and small business operators can get financial assistance and free mentoring through a government-funded programme called New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).

New entrepreneurs can access free mentoring for the first 12 months of participation in the program and receive financial assistance for up to the first 39 weeks of business operation.

Existing micro-businesses impacted by COVID-19 can access NEIS if they need help to keep their businesses running.

Also, people with part-time contracts, who are working up to 25 hours per week, can access NEIS if they are looking to start their own business.

You can learn more about this government assistance here. Alternatively, you can contact us so we can also help you evaluate other funding and business support options you may be eligible for.

Business Growth Fund Launched

The government-backed Australian Business Growth Fund has launched to ensure small- and medium-sized businesses have access to equity finance, as the country recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.

The fund allows Australian businesses to apply for long-term equity capital investments between $5 million and $15 million, where they have generated annual revenue between $2 million and $100 million and can demonstrate three years of revenue growth and profitability.

If you need help assessing your eligibility or to consider other financing options, don’t hesitate to contact us for guidance.

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.

Boost Holiday Sales Amid the Pandemic

2020 has been an unprecedented year for businesses. Retailers are among the most hardly hit by the COVID-19 crisis, and many are still struggling to bounce back despite the easing of social restrictions and lockdowns.

So here are some tips on how to boost sales this holiday season amid the pandemic:

  • Offer limited contact shopping options– Many are still hesitant about the idea of shopping in-store due to fears of being infected. With this, it is important to offer limited contact options such as drive-up, where customers can choose items online and park at designated areas outside your store to pick up their purchased items.
  • Increase your digital efforts– Online shopping has increasingly become the preferred platform during the pandemic. So ensure you have strong digital presence by updating or launching your website and creating engaging social media content to attract more customers.
  • Prioritise sanitation– Make sanitation a priority to create a safer shopping experience and encourage people to shop in your store.
  • Offer different shipping options– Be versatile enough to offer different shipping options, including free shipping promos and express shipping for last-minute shoppers.

We hope these tips can help you enjoy a profitable holiday season! Get in touch with us for more personalised business tips.

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