Parliament House Canberra

Coronavirus Stimulus Package (Pending Legislation)

News

Source: Institute of Public Accountants

Delivering support for business investment & Supporting apprentices and trainees

The Government is backing businesses to invest to help the economy withstand and recover from the economic impact of Coronavirus. The two business investment measures in this package are designed to assist Australian businesses and economic growth in the short term, and encourage a stronger economic recovery following the Coronavirus outbreak.

These measures will support over 3.5 million businesses (over 99 per cent of businesses) with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million employing more than 9.7 million employees.

INCREASING THE INSTANT ASSET WRITE-OFF

The Government is increasing the instant asset write-off (IAWO) threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include all businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. In 2017-18 there were more than 360,000 businesses that benefited from the current IAWO, claiming deductions to the value of over $4 billion.

The IAWO threshold

The higher IAWO threshold provides cash flow benefits for businesses that will be able to immediately deduct purchases of eligible assets each costing less than $150,000. The threshold applies on a per asset basis, so eligible businesses can immediately write-off multiple assets.

The IAWO is due to revert to $1,000 for small businesses (turnover less than $10 million) from 1 July 2020.

Eligibility

The Government is expanding access so that more businesses can take advantage of the IAWO. The annual turnover threshold for businesses is increasing from $50 million to $500 million. Expanding the threshold will mean an additional 5,300 businesses who employ around 1.9 million Australians will be able to access the IAWO for the first time.

Timing

This proposal applies from announcement until 30 June 2020, for new or second-hand assets first used or installed ready for use in this timeframe.

BACKING BUSINESS INVESTMENT (BBI)

The Government is introducing a time limited 15-month investment incentive to support business investment and economic growth over the short-term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. The key features of the incentive are:

  • benefit — deduction of 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost;
  • eligible businesses — businesses with aggregated turnover below $500 million; and
  • eligible assets — new assets that can be depreciated under Division 40 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (i.e. plant, equipment and specified intangible assets, such as patents) acquired after announcement and first used or installed by 30 June 2021. Does not apply to second-hand Division 40 assets, or buildings and other capital works depreciable under Division 43.

Eligibility

Businesses with aggregated turnover below $500 million, purchasing certain new depreciable assets.

Timing

Applies to eligible assets acquired after announcement and first used or installed by 30 June 2021.

BOOSTING CASH FLOW FOR EMPLOYERS

The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure will provide up to $25,000 back to business, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses. The payment will provide temporary cash flow support to small and medium businesses that employ staff. The payment will be tax free.

Eligibility

Small and medium business entities with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers will be eligible. Eligibility will generally be based on prior year turnover.

  • The payment will be delivered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as a credit in the activity statement system from 28 April 2020 upon businesses lodging eligible upcoming activity statements.
  • Eligible businesses that withhold tax to the ATO on their employees’ salary and wages will receive a payment equal to 50 per cent of the amount withheld, up to a maximum payment of $25,000.
  • Eligible businesses that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $2,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax.

This measure will benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people.

Timing

The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure will be applied for a limited number of activity statement lodgements. The ATO will deliver the payment as a credit to the business upon lodgement of their activity statements. Where this places the business in a refund position, the ATO will deliver the refund within 14 days.

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Quarterly lodgers will be eligible to receive the payment for the quarters ending March 2020 and June 2020. Monthly lodgers will be eligible to receive the payment for the March 2020, April 2020, May 2020 and June 2020 lodgements. To provide a similar treatment to quarterly lodgers, the payment for monthly lodgers will be calculated at three times the rate (150 per cent) in the March 2020 activity statement. The minimum payment will be applied to the business’ first lodgement.

The ATO offers a range of support services to small and medium businesses experiencing hardship — visit ato.gov.au to find out more.

SUPPORTING APPRENTICES AND TRAINEES

The Government is supporting small business to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer.

Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter). Support will also be provided to the National Apprentice Employment Network, the peak national body representing Group Training Organisations, to co-ordinate the re-employment of displaced apprentices and trainees throughout their network of host employers across Australia.

Eligibility

The subsidy will be available to small businesses employing fewer than 20 full-time employees who retain an apprentice or trainee. The apprentice or trainee must have been in training with a small business as at 1 March 2020. Employers of any size and Group Training Organisations that re-engage an eligible out-of-trade apprentice or trainee will be eligible for the subsidy. Employers will be able to access the subsidy after an eligibility assessment is undertaken by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.

Timing

Employers can register for the subsidy from early-April 2020. Final claims for payment must be lodged by 31 December 2020. Further information is available at:

  • The Department of Education, Skills and Employment website at: dese.gov.au.
  • Australian Apprenticeships website at: www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au For further information on how to apply for the subsidy, including information on eligibility, contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.
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