STIMULUS UPDATE TAKE 3

Further to our previous two posts, government has announced further measures to help businesses and employees in need. Additional $130 Billion stimulus package will mean businesses will be paid up to $1,500 a fortnight for each employee, as part of a “Job Keeper payment”. Major Banks have also announced further measures to assist with deferral of loan repayments for loans up to $10 mil. Temporary moratorium on evictions was also announced.

JOB KEEPER PAYMENT

Under the Job Keeper Payment, businesses impacted by the Coronavirus will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months. The idea behind this is that employers continue their relationship with their employees throughout the next 6-month period so they can restart the economy easier once we bridge the current situation impacting all of us.

Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if:

  • their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); or
  • their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover will be reduced by more than 50 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); and
  • the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

The employer must have been in an employment relationship with eligible employees as at 1 March 2020, and confirm that each eligible employee is currently engaged in order to receive Job Keeper Payments.
Not-for-profit entities (including charities) and self-employed individuals (businesses without employees) that meet the turnover tests that apply for businesses are eligible to apply for Job Keeper Payments.

Eligible employees are employees who:

  • are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired);
  • were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020;
  • are full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals (a casual employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020);
  • are at least 16 years of age;
  • are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder; and
  • are not in receipt of a Job Keeper Payment from another employer.

If your employees receive the Job Keeper Payment, this may affect their eligibility for payments from Services Australia as they must report their Job Keeper Payment as income.

Businesses without employees

Businesses without employees, such as the self-employed will also be eligible for the Job Keeper Payment if their income has been reduced by 30% or more

Accessing the Job Keeper Payment

  • Register an intention to apply on the ATO website https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/ and assess that you have or will experience the required turnover decline
  • Provide information to the ATO on eligible employees, if using STP some of this will be done automatically, in case of self employed nominate an individual to receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number
  • Ensure that each eligible employee receives at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax). If the employee presently receives less, their income must be topped up to the full amount. Super is still payable on the original wage amount, the employer has the option if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of the Job Keeper Payment
  • Notify all eligible employees that they are receiving the Job Keeper Payment.
  • Continue to provide eligibility information to the ATO on a monthly basis, including the number of eligible employees employed by the business.

MAJOR BANK FURTHER MEASURES ANNOUNCED

  • 6-month deferral of payments extended to business with lending up to $10mil
  • Lenders will be seeking commitment from commercial landlords to not evict tenants in the next 6 months as part of the deferral
  • Existing deferral for individuals impacted on home loans and investment loans is still available. Please exercise caution as the interest component on deferrals will be capitalised resulting in loan balance increase at the end of the deferral period
  • Many lenders are also offering reduced rates so we suggest to renegotiate the rates first

MORATORIUM ON TENANT EVICTIONS

  • 6-month temporary moratorium on all tenant evictions was enacted by the PM on Sunday
  • While this may be good news for those struggling to make rent payments it’s also a worrying period for property investors relying on rent as income
  • No further detail was provided what happens at the end of the period with unpaid rent payments and if insurers will cover the loss
  • Advice for tenants in case of financial hardship is to talk to your landlords and come up with a solution that helps both of you
  • Advice for investors in case of tenant default is to understand the extent of tenant impact, explore deferring the loan repayments for 6 months, also speak to your insurer to see if they will cover the loss of rent
  • Commercial tenants and landlords are encouraged to negotiate best outcomes for all parties involved. Rent free periods or temporary reduction on rent are options that should be explored.
  • Further government announcements on this very issue are likely. We will update you on those as they happen

Our previous two announcements detailing the other components of stimulus for those who may have missed them are available for you to read on our website and Facebook page.

OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU
 
Many of you will need our help to navigate these announcements. We are here to help you whether it is assistance in

  • Interpreting the government stimulus packages,
  • Applying for payment relief from the ATO or lenders,
  • Working through strategies during this time of distress
  • Accessing the SME Guarantee Scheme, or
  • General cashflow assistance with the day to day operation of your businesses

Cash flow will be important to all our businesses over the coming months and therefore we are prepared to offer assistance via payment terms for our services if required. Please do not hesitate to discuss this with us.

Some of our staff will be working from home while others will be in the office. We are keeping our availability as flexible as possible and will remain contactable throughout this period.

Please rest assured that during this time, no phone call or email will go unanswered and we will continue to update you as more comes to hand.

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