COVID19 Period: ATO Boost cash flow for employers

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COVID19 Period: ATO Boost cash flow for employers

Legislation has been enacted to provide temporary cash flow support to small and medium businesses and not-for-profit organisations that employ staff during the economic downturn associated with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This will be done by government through two sets of cash flow boosts delivered from 28 April 2020 to support employers to retain employees.

Australian Govenment will provide tax-free cash flow boosts of between $20,000 and $100,000 to eligible businesses, delivered through credits in the activity statement system, when eligible businesses lodge their activity statements.

You must lodge your activity statement to receive the cash flow boost.

On this page:

Overview

For the most up to date information, regularly check back to ATO website COVID-19 page. ATO continue to work through the best way to administer this cash flow boost and ATO website is the best place to get information relevant to you.

ATO is working on getting the cash flow boost to you as soon as ATO can and understand your business may be under significant pressure at this time.

If you are eligible, you do not need to separately apply and upon lodgment of your activity statement, your first amount will automatically be credited to your account but no earlier than 28 April 2020.

The cash flow boosts will be made from the Government’s announced date of 28 April 2020. If you lodge early, you will not receive the cash flow boost before this date.

Eligible businesses, including not-for-profit organisations, must have held an ABN on 12 March 2020 and lodge your activity statement to receive the credit. Charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission are eligible, regardless of when they were registered, if they meet the other eligibility requirements.

Eligibility

You will be eligible to receive the cash flow boost if you are a small or medium business entity, including not-for-profit organisations, sole traders, partnership, company or trust that:

  • held an ABN on 12 March 2020 and continues to be active
  • has an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million (generally based on prior year turnover)
  • made eligible payments you are required to withhold from (even if the amount you need to withhold is zero).

Eligible payments include:

  • salary and wages
  • director fees
  • eligible retirement or termination payments
  • compensation payments
  • voluntary withholding from payments to contractors.

In addition, you must also have either:

  • derived business income in the 2018–19 income year and lodged your 2019 tax return on or before 12 March 2020
  • made GST taxable, GST-free or input-taxed sales in a previous tax period (since 1 July 2018) and lodged the relevant activity statement on or before 12 March 2020.

We will generally determine whether you are a small or medium business entity based on your most recent income tax assessment for a prior year. However, where you do not have any income tax assessments for prior years, you may still be eligible if we are satisfied, based on other information we hold, that you are in business and would have an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million.

We may also give you further time to provide us notice that business income or supplies were made. This will generally be the case where you have a lodgment deferral in place. If you did not have a lodgment deferral in place, you will not become eligible if you lodge or amend returns for those periods now.

Eligibility for additional cash flow boosts

All eligible entities that received initial cash flow boosts may be entitled to additional cash flow boosts.

Not for profit organisations including charities

To be eligible, not-for-profit organisations (excluding charities) must have all of the following:

  • held an active ABN on 12 March 2020
  • have an aggregate annual turnover of less than $50 million
  • made payments to employees.

Charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission are eligible, regardless of when they were registered, if they meet the other eligibility requirements.

We will use the aggregated annual turnover in the most recent previous year’s tax return to determine eligibility.

If a not-for-profit organisation or charity is not required to lodge a tax return, they may still be eligible if we are satisfied, based on information available, that their aggregated annual turnover is under $50 million.

Timing

Initial cash flow boost

The initial cash flow boosts will be delivered as credits in the activity statement system from the Government’s announced date of 28 April 2020. If you lodge early, you will not receive the cash flow boost before this date.

If you lodge:

  • quarterly, you will be eligible to receive the credit for
    • quarter 3, March 2020 (lodgment due date 28 April 2020)
    • quarter 4, June 2020 (lodgment due date 28 July 2020).

     

  • monthly, you will be eligible to receive the credit for the lodgment periods of
    • March 2020 (lodgment due date 21 April 2020)
    • April 2020 (lodgment due date 21 May 2020)
    • May 2020 (lodgment due date 21 June 2020)
    • June 2020 (lodgment due date 21 July 2020).

     

Lodgment deferrals

As the cash flow boost is generated on lodgment of an eligible activity statement, if a lodgment deferral has been granted by us, the cash flow boost will generally be made at the time of the deferred lodgment. This ensures that eligible entities that have received deferrals, for example, due to recent natural disasters, do not miss out on the payment or have to forgo their extended time to lodge to qualify.

However, you may choose to lodge before the deferred due date (but only on or after 28 April 2020) in order to access the cash flow boost earlier, for example, if you are expecting GST refunds.

To be entitled to the cash flow boost, eligible entities need to lodge the relevant activity statements within two years of when the activity statements were due to be lodged. This ensures that the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure is targeted at helping employers during the period affected by COVID-19.

Additional cash flow boost

Eligible entities who received initial cash flow boosts will receive additional cash flow boosts, for the periods June to September 2020, equal to the total amount of initial cash flow boosts received. This will be delivered in either two or four instalments depending on your reporting period.

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