UPDATED: Tuesday 21 july 2020 9pm ACDT

To deal with the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic in Australia, the Federal Government has released three rounds of stimulus measures, along with further extensions.

The state and territory governments have also announced their own support measures, for businesses and affected areas. 

Here, we summarise the support measures announced to date for:
This page will continue to be updated to reflect any future announcements. Please remember to refresh you screen to see the latest updates.


Latest updates


On 21 July 2020, the Federal Government announced a six month extension to the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme, as lockdown restrictions continue to have an adverse impact on many businesses. The JobKeeper extension measures are essentially a refinement of the existing JobKeeper rules based on the Government’s review of the current rules effectiveness.

The new JobKeeper extension has four key elements:

  1. Extending JobKeeper support for a further six months until 28 March 2021.
  2. Ensuring that JobKeeper payments are more directed to employees who had an appropriate level of working hours as at 1 March 2020 under a new 20 work hours test.
  3. Requiring businesses now to test a decline in turnover based on actual (versus projected) turnover based on 2019 comparables.
  4. Gradually reducing the JobKeeper extension payments under a two tiered approach up to 28 March 2021.

Importantly, the existing JobKeeper rules will continue to apply until 27 September 2020 as originally announced with the new JobKeeper extension support applying from 28 September 2020 until 28 March 2021. This means that businesses that currently qualify for JobKeeper will not be affected by the new rules until they come into effect from 28 September 2020.

The table below highlights the main conditions under the JobKeeper extension.

JobKeeper Extension Payments

First extension period – either $1,200 or $750 per fortnight depending on whether the 20 work hour test met

Second extension period – either $1,000 or $650 per fortnight depending on whether the 20 work hour test met
First extension period starting from fortnight ending 11 October 2020 until 3 January 2021

Second extension period starting from fortnight ending 17 January 2021 until 28 March 2021
For employees - based on a 20 hour work test where the employee worked on average at least 20 hours per week in the four weeks of pay periods prior to 1 March 2020. Higher rate paid if 20 hour work test met

For eligible business participants - based on a 20 hour work test where the business participant on average worked at least 20 hours per week during the month of February 2020. Higher rate paid if 20 hour work test met
The Commissioner has some discretion to consider the 20 hour work test to have been satisfied where it may have otherwise failed based on certain circumstances such as where the employee was on leave or volunteering work during the bushfires given as examples
Decline in Turnover TestStarting from 28 September 2020 First extension period – must meet decline in turnover test for June 2020 and September 2020 quarters based on actual turnover compared to the relevant 2019 period.

Second extension period – must meet the first extension period decline test as well as turnover test for the December 2020 quarter compared to the relevant 2019 period
The relevant decline in turnover will be either 15%, 30% or 50% depending on the type and size of entity as prescribed under the existing JobKeeper rules

Further details can be found here:

On 30 March 2020, the Federal Government announced a third round of stimulus support measures to deal with the deepening economic crisis as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns. The third round of measures, costing $130 billion, now bring the Federal Government’s stimulus spending to well over $300 billion, and represents an unprecedented 16% of the Australia’s GDP. This is the highest level of Australian Government spending in the nation’s history. The centre piece of the third round support measures, entitled ‘JobKeeper Payments’ aim to provide wage subsidies for employers to retain workers during these difficult times. 

In the table immediately below, we have now consolidated and summarised the key measures announced by the Federal Government on 12 March, 22 March and 30 March 2020 with a focus on businesses affected by the COVID-19 lockdowns. The tables for the state and territory support measures will also be continually updated by Bentleys.  It will be important for all businesses and individuals to be aware of the support available during these difficult times, including formulating their own plans to deal with the key issues of revenue loss, creditors, employee retention, insolvency and other flow on effects the COVID-19 lockdowns will have both domestically and globally.

Federal tax support measures

Effective fromConditionsBentleys comment
Employer wage subsidy of $1,500 per employee per fortnightThe subsidy will start on 30 March 2020 with the first payments to be received by employers in the first week of May 202030% decline in turnover (50% for larger businesses)

Employees as at 1 March 2020 or self-employed

Passed on to employees earning less than $1,500 per fortnight

Register with the ATO and employees notified

Ongoing reporting requirements to ensure continued eligibility
For employees earning less than $1,500 per fortnight the package will increase pay to $1,500 per fortnight over a 6 month period.

For businesses that have shut down, the package is intended to incentivise both the employer and employee to remain in contact so that the employer can continue to pay employees $1,500 per fortnight and resume operations post lockdown
Employer cash support payment up to $100k (increased from previously announced $25k support on 12 March 2020)

Payment calculation method also accelerated from 50% to 100% of PAYG withholdings

Payments are tax free
Covers amounts withheld from 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2020 (for monthly PAYG withholding lodgers it applies to amounts withheld from 1 March. However, to provide a similar treatment to quarterly lodgers the payment will be calculated based on 3 times the March PAYG withholding) Aggregated turnover less than $50m (generally based on prior year turnover)

Now also includes Not-For-Profits and Charities that are employers

Must have been an employer established before 12 March 2020 with an exception for Charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)
The $100k cash support cap is effectively made of two components. The first component is a doubling of the boosting cash-flow support from $25k to $50k for March to June PAYG withholdings. The second component is a cash support payment equal to the first component received and applied to activity statements from June to September

Employers with nil PAYG withholding will have the minimum support payment increased from $2k to $20k
100% write off for assets less than $150kFrom 12 March 2020 until 31 December 2020Aggregated turnover less than $500mAsset must be first used or installed ready for use by 31 December 2020 to qualify (this has been extended from 30 June 2020).
Upfront 50% deduction for “eligible assets” and existing depreciation rules applying to balanceImmediate effect for “eligible asset” purchases until
30 June 2021
Aggregated turnover less than $500m“Eligible assets” are new assets that can be depreciated for tax purposes, except second-hand assets. Therefore, this does not apply to capital works
To enhance the ability for SMEs to obtain loans from lending institutions, a 50 per cent SME Government Guarantee will be provided to SMEs for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital. A 6 month loan repayment holiday to be providedNew loans from early April to 30 September 2020Turnover up to $50m

Limit of $250k loan per borrower.

Loans up to 3 years

Loans will be based on lender’s loan conditions but the Government will be expecting lenders to look past current conditions when making loan assessments
It is expected that many cash strapped SMEs may consider this option. Of note, no loan security will be required but still subject to lender’s lending requirements
50% of an apprentice or trainee’s wage over a 9 month periodEffective from
1 January 2020 to
30 September 2020
For businesses with less than 20 full time staff who retain an apprentice or trainee. The apprentice/trainee must have been in training as at 1 March 2020Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will still be available to a new employer of that apprentice
The current minimum threshold for creditors issuing a statutory demand under Corporations law will be temporarily increased from $2,000 to $20,000.

Timeframe for responses to a statutory demand will be extended temporarily from 21 days to 6 months
Government has announced this will apply for a 6 month periodNo specific conditions notedAffected businesses should start liaising with their creditors. Bentleys can provide assistance where required
Temporary relief from personal liability for insolvent trading will apply with respect to debts incurred in the ordinary course of the company’s businessGovernment has announced this will apply for a 6 month periodCompanies will still be liable for their debtsGovernment has indicated dishonesty and fraud will still be subject to criminal penalties
Threshhold to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor will temporarily increase from $5,000 to $20,000Government has announced this will apply for a 6 month periodNo specific conditions notedDistressed businesses should consult an advisor. Bentleys can provide assistance where required
Relief from specific Corporations Law obligations to be introduced including modifying certain obligations to enable compliance with legal requirements during the crisisSix months from the date an instrument made by the Treasurer is madeFurther details to be providedThe Government has announced that this could cover for example the requirement to hold certain AGMs as a result of social distancing measures
Minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products will be halved over the next two yearsApplies for the June 2020 and June 2021 income yearsReduction in draw-down requirements applies to account based pensions and similar productsFor example, a retiree under 65 years of age, the minimum draw down pension rate will be reduced from 4% to 2% for June 2020 and June 2021
Individuals affected by the Coronavirus have the ability to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21Applies for the June 2020 and June 2021 income yearsIndividual must either be unemployed, eligible for certain welfare payments (e.g. job seeker payment). Others include individuals who were made redundant where working hours or turnover reduced by 20% or more after 1 January 2020This may be particularly critical for sole traders and workers who have sufficient superannuation support. Application must be made to the ATO
Social security deeming rates to be reduced by a further 0.25% in addition to the 0.5% reduction announced on 12 March 2020From 1 May 2020N/AApplies to Government income support recipients including those on age pensions
The Government is providing two separate payments of $750 each to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.First payment to be made between 12 March 2020 and 13 April 2020

Second payment to be made available to those eligible as at 10 July 2020
Covers a broad range of welfare recipients including eligible concession card holders, age pension, disability support pension, Job seeker allowance, widow allowance, carer payment, AUSTUDY and othersA total of $1,500 will be provided to eligible recipients under this measure.

The Government expects the majority of the beneficiaries for this support will be pensioners
The Government is providing a Coronavirus Supplement payment of $550 per fortnight for those individuals financially impacted by the CoronavirusFrom 27 April 2020 for a 6 month period, but this can be extendedMust be an existing or new Jobseeker, Youth allowance, Parenting payment, Austudy, ABSTUDY, Farm allowance and Special benefit recipient. Asset testing will be waived. Waiting period waivedThose receiving this payment will not be eligible for the second $750 payment in the above measure
$1b Support Package most affected by Coronavirus such as tourism, agriculture and educationGovernment has announced as soon as practicableDetails yet to be releasedThis will include assistance to help businesses identify alternative export markets and supply chains

Further details can be found here:


New South Wales

On 13 April 2020, the New South Wales (NSW) Treasurer announced a $440 million land tax break to support tenants and landlords. This announcement builds on the NSW Government’s commitment to legislate the National Cabinet’s Code of Conduct for commercial and residential leasing.

The main requirements are set out in the summary table below. We note that the NSW Government has yet to release legislation giving effect to land tax changes, so the summary table below is subject to further details becoming known.

25% waiver of 2020 land tax liability

Three month deferral on remaining land tax liability
Immediate effect – i.e. applies for the 2020 land tax yearLandlord leases land for business or residential purposes subject to land tax

Commercial tenants max turnover $50m
Tenant must be able to demonstrate:
• For commercial tenants – 30% drop in revenue
• For residential tenants – 25% drop in household income
as a result of COVID-19 pandemic

Tenant rent reduced by land tax reduction

Applied on a property by property basis
Landlords will need to make an application to waive/defer land tax liabilities for 2020.

Revenue NSW will announce application process and required supporting information shortly.

Expected information may include:
• BAS statements from tenant
• Letter from accountant
• Old and revised tenancy agreements to show rent reduction

Further details can be found here:

On 3 April 2020, the NSW Government announced a third set of support measures in the form of a $10,000 grant for eligible small businesses with employees who have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown measures. The package now provides further payroll tax relief in the form of payroll tax deferrals for businesses with payrolls above $10m, as well as providing an additional three month deferral for smaller payrolls, building upon the Stage 1 and 2 announcements.

Further details on measures announced in NSW stimulus packages – for stages 1, 2 and 3 – are summarised below.

NSW support measures, stages 1-3

$10k grant to certain small businesses that have been adversely affected by COVID-19Applications open 17 April 2020 and close 1 June 2020. Funds expected to be paid shortly after processing of applicationEmploys between 1-19 employees as at 1 March 2020

Payroll under NSW threshold of $900k

In an affected industry being retail, accommodation and food service, rental, hiring and real estate services, administrative and support services, arts and recreation services

Supporting documentation to be submitted with online application
Will be important for affected business to make the online application between 17 April 2020 and 1 June 2020 in order to be considered
6 month deferral of payroll tax where payroll over $10mDeferral starting from March 2020.Payroll over $10mPayroll relief now extended to employers with larger payrolls
3 month waiver and 3 month deferral of payroll tax where payroll $10m or less.Effective from March 2020.For grouped Australia wide payrolls up to $10mMonthly payers not required to make March, April and May payments and deferral option for remainder of liability.
For annual payers, 25% discount will be applied on filing
Working for NSW Fund totalling $1b to sustain business, create new jobs and retain employeesImmediate from March 2020Further details to be providedThe funding comprises $750m in new funding and $250m previously announced for additional cleaning services
Deferral of rents for six months for commercial tenants with less than 20 employees in Government-owned propertiesFurther details to be providedMust be leasing from a Government-owned property
6 month deferral of gaming tax for clubs, pubs and hotels and lotteries taxClubs and hotels will having gaming machine tax payments deferred until 1 September 2020. Lotteries and Keno payments deferred from 1 April to 30 September 2020Conditional on funds being used to retain staff
6 month deferral of parking space levyLevy deferred until 30 September 2020N/A
Waiver of various state fees and chargesFurther details to be providedFurther details to be provided but to be targeted at small businessIntended to cover bars, cafes, restaurants and trade persons
$250m to employ additional cleaners of public infrastructureFurther details to be providedFurther details to be providedThis will cover additional cleaning support for transport infrastructure, schools and public buildings
Over $250m to bring forward maintenance of public assetsFurther details to be providedFurther details to be provided This is to cover social housing and crown land fencing
$500m to bring forward capital works and maintenanceFurther details to be providedFurther details to be provided

The NSW Government has also set up a Business Concierge service where businesses can register and receive support from the NSW Government on regulation issues, including dealing with councils and agencies during the COVID-19 crisis.

Further details can be found here:



Effective fromConditionsBentleys comment
Support to assist large businesses
through this period to ensure they will be able to scale up and service the community when economic activity improves.
Further details to be providedWill be focussed to support
• which make a significant contribution to Queensland
• that employ people in Queensland at scale
• which are significant in a regional context
• that can make a key contribution to a rapid response by the economy as conditions improve
• which are significantly impacted as a result of COVID-19
• to leverage current support measures and those available from other jurisdictions
$27.25m package for tourism and seafood businessesFurther details to be providedMust be in specific industries or regionsWaiver of a range of fees, charges and levies to support tourism operators to continue to operate. Includes
application and liquor licencing fees, registration renewal
fees for Inbound Tour Operators, rebates on marina charges and passenger levies, and deferral of tourism lease rent payments.
Low interest loan facilityApplications are now open until 25 September 2020 or until funding fully committedLoans up to $250k
No repayments or interest for first year
Two years interest free
2.5% fixed interest rate
10 year loan term
Intended to assist businesses to retain staff
Up to $500m package to assist workers who lose their job or income with retraining, job-matching and other help to transition into jobs.
Businesses that need access to skilled labour to meet demand will also receive assistance under this initiative.
Further details to be providedFurther details to be providedIntended to support workers to move to other vital industries such as health care, agriculture, food production, transport, cleaning and mining.
Payroll tax refund for 2 months and payroll taxtax holiday for 3 months for SMEsImmediateApplies to SMEs with up to $6.5m in Australian taxable wages and impacted by COVID-19Eligible SME businesses in Queensland will receive a payroll tax holiday
Payroll tax refund for 2 months and payroll tax deferral extended from SMEs to all businessesImmediate to 31 December 2020Applies to all businesses impacted by COVID-19Eligible businesses in Queensland will receive a payroll tax refund and will not need to pay payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year until 14 January 2021
Sole traders, small and medium businesses will get a $500 rebate on their power bill. ImmediateAny business consuming less than 100,000 kilowatt hours will
receive the rebate
Rebate will be automatically applied on business electricity bills

Further details can be found here:


Western Australia

WA support measures, as at 1 April 2020

Effective fromConditionsBentleys comment
One-off grant up to $17,500 to businesses who pay wages between $1m and $4mGrants to be paid from
1 July 2020
Based on annual Australian taxable wages between $1m and $4mFor employers grouped for payroll tax only a single grant will be paid to the designated group employer
Payroll tax waiver offered to businesses who pay wages under $7.5mCovers the monthly payroll tax payments for the March-June 2020 returns
Australian taxable wages do not exceed $7.5m and business has been affected by the coronavirus This has replaced the previous deferral offer.

A formal application is required for businesses whose taxable wages were more than $5m as at 29 February 2020
Increase in payroll tax threshold to $1m brought forward by 6 monthsEffective from 1 July 2020Current payroll tax threshold is $950k
Planned increases to electricity, water, motor vehicle charges, Emergency Services Levy, public transport fares will not go aheadEffective from 1 July 2020, with no increase until at least July 2021Intended to keep household costs at a manageable level
Energy Assistance Payment to be doubled, and access expanded to new applicants Effective now for those eligible as at 16 March 2020, and from 1 July 2020 for new applicantsMust be a concession card holderAimed to ease the financial burden on vulnerable citizens.
Access has been widened and brought forward
Deferral and no interest on electricity and water bills for householdsEffective until 30 September 2020Must be required due to financial hardshipAimed to ease the financial burden businesses and households
Interest-free payment arrangements on transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty and land tax, and waiver of late payment penalties for households and small and medium sized businessesEffective until 30 September 2020Must be directly or indirectly impacted by the CoronavirusAimed to ease the financial burden businesses and households
Waiver of various state licence charges and registrations for 12 months for small and medium sized businessesThe start time is unclear at this stageApplicable for small and medium sized businessesTo provide relief for businesses impacted by trading restrictions
$2,500 credit for electricity for small business and not-for-profitsAllocated from 1 May 2020Small business means it consumes less than 50 megawatt hours per annumTo provide relief for businesses impacted by trading restrictions
Rental waiver for small business and not-for-profits for 6 monthsFurther details to be provided1) Must be leasing from a WA Government owned building
2) Cannot be a subsidiary of a larger business
Aiming to ease the burden on small business

Further details can be found here:


South Australia

The South Australian Government released further detail as to their $650m Stage 2 stimulus package on 27 March 2020. The measures include:

Effective fromConditionsBentleys comment
LAND TAX DEFERRALApril 2020Land tax bills for quarters 3 and 4 of the 2019-20 income year (current year) will be deferred by 6 monthsThe deferral will be automatic with administration information on land tax notices
LAND TAX TRANSITION FUNDCommencing 1 July 2020• 2020-21 year – 50% of increase in liability over $2,500 (up to $102,500);
• 2021-22 year – 30% of increase in liability over $2,500 (up to $102,500);
• 2022-23 year – 15% of increase in liability over $2,500 (up to $102,500);
The relief for the 2020-21 year has now been increased from 50% to 100%
Does not apply to land held in trusts
PAYROLL TAX RELIEF - ANNUAL PAYROLL UP TO $4MThis will be for the returns for March to August 2020 and will be applied automaticallySix month waiver of payroll tax obligationsRelief will be applied automatically. Returns still need to be completed
PAYROLL TAX RELIEF - GROUPED ANNUAL PAYROLL ABOVE $4MPayments will be deferred until October 2020Six month deferral of payroll tax may be available on applicationOnline application form is still being developed
WAIVER OF LIQUOR LICENCE FEESApplied automaticallyBusinesses will not be required to pay liquor licence fees for 2020-21 for the following liquor licence categories:
• On premises
• Residential
• Restaurant and Catering
• Club
• Liquor Production and Sales
• Small Venue
Holders of a General and Hotel licence who have a bottleshop will receive reduced fees, or a full waiver if they do not have a bottleshop
CENTRELINK JOBSEEKER PAYMENTImmediate . Expect payment early April.• Once-off payment of $500
• Will receive the 2020-21 Cost of Living Concession early
ACCESS TO ACCRUED LEAVE FOR PUBLIC SECTOR WORKFORCEIf a public servant has a family member who has lost their job and moved onto Commonwealth benefits, they will be able to receive their accrued leave down to a limit of 2 retained weeks
JOB ACCELERATOR GRANTSN/AThe government is relaxing requirements under the Job Accelerator Grant program
$10,000 EMERGENCY CASH GRANTSApply by 1 June 2020Employing small business or NFP highly impacted by COVID-19 By application $10,000 cash grant
COMMERCIAL LEASE PRINCIPLES IN COVID-19 EMERGENCY RESPONSE ACTFrom 30 March 2020. Applied automatically, if it applies to youApplies generally to commercial leases

Further details can be found here:



Effective fromConditionsBentleys comment
Payroll tax to be waived for the entire 2019-2020 year. This will include refunds for previous payments, as well as waivers1 July 2019Applies to businesses with a payroll of less then $5 millionOther businesses may apply for this concession, but only if they have less than $5m payroll and have been impacted by the virus
Primary health grantTo assist general practices and community pharmacies to support continued delivery of primary health services during the COVID-19 pandemic, grants of up to $10 000 are available as one off support paymentsSubmissions close 30 June 2020
Electricity and water bill will be waived for small businessesImmediateThis applies for small businesses and their first quarterly bill received after 1 April 2020. This applies to Tariffs 22, 94, 82 or 75. Further, from 1 July 2020 electricity bills will be capped and water bills will be frozen
Land tax waived1 July 2020The Government will also waive land tax for 2020- 21 for commercial property owners financially impacted by COVID-19, where the land tax is paid by the business owner

Further details can be found here:


Northern Territory

Effective fromConditionsBentleys comment
Eligible businesses will receive a one-off payment of $10,000. If a business puts in $10,000 of their own money, then the government will grant another $10,000. $20m has been allocated for this package.ImmediateMust use money to improve a business in the Territory. The purchases must be made from another Territory business.
$5m has been allocated to help businesses with adjusting to the conditions caused by the virus.ImmediateAll businesses can apply, but the hospitality sector will have first priority. Further details to come.
$5m has been allocated to grant money for repairs, renovations and upgrades. The grant is up to $50,000.ImmediateMust be an incorporated not-for-profit or a community organisation. If the organisation puts in their own money, it will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000. The grant and dollar-matched grant can be added together for a total grant of up to $100,000.
All government fees and charges will be frozen.Until 1 July 2021N/AThis includes electricity, water and car registration.
$30m of grants will be provided to Territory homeowners and landlords for home improvement.ImmediateIf the owner contributes $1,000 they will receive a $4,000 grant, if the owner contributes $2,000 they will receive a $6,000 grant.

Further details can be found here:


Australian Capital Territory

Effective fromConditionsBentleys comment
Businesses in the hospitality, creative arts and entertainment industries.Covers waiver of payroll tax from April to September 2020

For monthly lodgers, first credit will be applied to the April 2020 liability.

For annual lodgers, the credit will be applied at the end of the 2019-2020 financial year
Business must be in the hospitality (cafes, pubs, hotels, clubs and restaurants), creative arts or entertainment industries.

Businesses will need to apply online at the ACT Revenue Office website at www.revenue.act.gov.au
This should be a priority for all ACT businesses that qualify. The online application page is yet to be created at the time of writing
SME businesses can defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, interest free until 1 July 2022For monthly lodgers, deferral can be applied to the April 2020 liability.

For annual lodgers, deferral can be made to the full 2020-21 liability usually payable in July 2021
For grouped Australia wide payrolls up to $10m

Businesses will need to apply online at the ACT Revenue Office website at www.revenue.act.gov.au
This should be a priority for all ACT businesses that qualify. The online application page is yet to be created at the time of writing
For commercial owners of property a rebate for fixed rates of $2,622The credit will be applied to the 2019-20 general rates, in fourth quarterCommercial properties with an average unimproved land value (AUV) of less than $2 millionThe rebate will be automatically applied
Small business owners with electricity usage may qualify for rebates of $750From June or July 2020 depending on the issue of the next electricity billApplies only to business they use less than 100 megawatts per yearThe rebate will be automatically applied
Licence fees will be waived for 12 months for rideshare operators.

Waiver of government leased taxi plate fees
From 1 April 2020N/AFees will be waived automatically.

Cases where licences have already been prepaid 12 months in advance, an additional 12 months credit will be added to the licence at the next due date
12 month waiver of food business registration and on-licence liquor fees for licensed venuesFrom 1 April 2020Waiver only applies to licensed venuesCases where food business registration has been prepaid for more than one year in advance, an additional 12 months will be added to the licence
Outdoor licence fees to be waivedFor 2020-21Waiver only applies to licensed venuesCases where food business registration has been prepaid for more than one year in advance, an additional 12 months will be added to the licence
Additional payment of $1.5 million and freeing up the existing $1.8 million in the Clubs Diversification FundDetails to be providedDetails to be providedThis is targeted at assisting clubs to retain their employees at existing award rates
$20 million to be immediately spent on infrastructure projectsWill have a focus on works that can start immediatelySpending for maintenance on local schools, roads, and public transportThis is targeted at keeping locals employed in public works
Funding for artists of up to $10,000 to support arts development and the sustainability of arts practice over the next six to nine months through a $500,000 grants programGrant applications will open on 30 March 2020 and close at 5pm 17 April at 5pm. Announcements on successful recipients will be made around 1 May 2020Application must be madeThose in the arts sector should start their applications immediately
Various other support to be provided to households, targeted welfare groups and other areas. See link below for further details
Further details can be found here:



Effective fromConditionsBentleys comment
Full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year.
Immediate to 30 June 2020Immediate to 30 June 2020 For small and medium businesses with payroll of less than $3 million.This assistance is a refund, not a loan.
Payroll tax deferral for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year.1 July 2020Payments can be deferred until 1 January 2021.
Commercial tenants rent relief -
Commercial tenants in Government buildings can apply for rent relief.
More details to comeMore details to come.Private landlords are also being encouraged to undertake this measure.
25% discount and deferral of balance for eligible small businesses.Deferral of balance until March 2021Landlords provide rent relief to tenants in “financial stress”.

Extra criteria for commercial landlords: tenant eligible for JobKeeper payments, and tenant’s annual turnover $50m or less
$2,000 rental assistance directly to landlord for residential rentersMore details to comeRent relief provided by landlord but still represents more than 30% of tenant’s income.

Tenant earns less than $100,000 p.a

Tenant has less than $5,000 in savings
Six-month ban on evictions and rental increases From 29 March 2020Residential tenants.

Commercial tenancies involving small and medium-sized business
Rent waivers and deferrals for commercial tenanciesFrom 29 March 2020Businesses earning less than $50m and with a turnover reduction of at least 30%
Government supplier invoicesAll payments made within five business daysBusiness with outstanding government supplier paymentsThe private sector is urged to do the same, where possible.
All liquor license fees will be waived for 2020.2020 feesLiquor licensing fees for affected venues and small business
A $500 million Business Support Fund has been established to provide funding of $10,000 per business through a grant processApplications are being accepted now, but close on 1 June 2020Subject to closure or highly impacted by Government restrictions, turnover more than $75,000 and payroll of less than $650,000This fund will support the hardest hit sectors including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail
A $500 million Working for Victoria Fund will be established.ImmediateWorkers who have lost their jobs, been stood down, or have reduced shifts as a result of COVID-19, and who have Australian working rightsThis fund will help workers who have lost their jobs find new opportunities, including work cleaning infrastructure or delivering food


Australian Tax Office

The following table is a summary support measures announced by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Deferral of due dates for post 23 January 2020 tax payments by up to 6 monthsOn or after 23 January 2020Businesses affected by COVID-19Payments of tax amounts due through the BAS (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, FBT and excise are included.

This measure is only available for businesses affected by COVID-19
Allowing to vary PAYG instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter (and claim refund for any instalments made during the 30 June 2020 year – i.e. September 2019 and December 2019 quarters)March 2020 quarterPAYG Instalment payers affected by COVID-19Taxpayers subject to PAYG tax instalments can make a variation of the PAYG instalment on their activity statement if affected by COVID-19.

The ATO won’t apply penalties or charge interest to varied instalments for the 2019-20 financial year
Allowing business on a quarterly GST reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting to get quicker access to any GST RefundImmediatelyBusinesses affected by COVID-19This measure may be considered for businesses with falling revenues.

The ATO has confirmed that changing a GST reporting cycle to monthly does not mean that a business is also required to change its PAYG withholding reporting cycle.

The ATO will need to be notified of any changes to the GST cycle before the end of the first month in the quarter, otherwise the new cycle will take effect from the start of the next quarter. i.e. notify the ATO before 30 April 2020 so that the business can change to monthly GST reporting for the month of April 2020; otherwise, notifications after 1 May 2020 will mean monthly reporting from July 2020.

Must keep reporting for 12 months before reverting to quarterly reporting
Remission of interest and penalties for post-23 January 2020 tax debtsIncurred on or after 23 January 2020Businesses affected by COVID-19This measure is only available for businesses affected by COVID-19
Allowing affected businesses to enter into low-interest payment plans for their existing and ongoing tax liabilitiesImmediatelyBusinesses affected by COVID-19This measure is only available for businesses affected by COVID-19
R&D Tax Incentive applications for the 30 June 2019 income year will be accepted until 30 September 2020ImmediatelyBusinesses with R&D activitiesBusinesses have an extension to apply to register their eligible R&D with the Department of Industry, Innovation & Science until 30 September 2020 (instead of 30 April 2020)
If an entity temporarily ceases its trading activities but intends to restart, ABN & GST registrations are not required to be cancelledImmediatelyBusinesses which have paused but intend to restartEntities which have temporarily ceased trading but intend to restart when conditions allow are not required to cancel their ABN and GST registration.

If a business permanently ceases, then its tax affairs must be finalised before the ABN is cancelled: final BAS to be lodged, and ABN & GST registration will need to be cancelled within 21 days of ceasing business activities.
Tax obligations include: FBT, PAYG, ETPs for employees, super payments for employees, CGT, GST
Employee cessation date to be reported in the STP report. If the employees have received their final pay, the employer can advise the ATO by submitting an update eventImmediatelyBusinesses who have let employees goEntities do not need to wait until the end of the year to finalise STP data for employees who have ceased employment.

If employees are no longer being paid, the employer can advise the ATO there is no requirement to report through STP

Please note:

  • COVID-19 relief is not automatically granted by the ATO. The taxpayer or their agent must contact the ATO.
  • The ATO’s Emergency Support Infoline is 1800 806 218.
  • The ATO notes that employers still need to meet super guarantee (SG) obligations for their employees. By law, the ATO says it cannot vary the contribution due date or waive the super guarantee charge (SGC) where super guarantee payments are late or unpaid.

Further details can be found here:

Please contact your local Bentleys advisor for further information. We can help you identify opportunities for you and your business.

Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and should not be relied on as advice. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs and seek professional advice before making any decisions based on this information.

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