Weekly Digest – 20 August 2021

Weekly Digest – 20 August 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Tougher COVID-19 Restrictions in Melbourne

New stricter COVID-19 restrictions came into effect in Melbourne at 11:59pm on Monday and will be in place until 2 September.

As part of the new restrictions, playgrounds, basketball courts, skate parks and outdoor exercise equipment will be closed and people will no longer be allowed to remove their masks to consume alcohol outdoors. Meanwhile, large construction projects will be restricted to 25%.

Curfew will also be in force from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. each day.

Sydney Lockdown Fines Increased to $5,000

State police will fine people up to $5,000 if they are found breaching stay-at-home orders or lying to contract-tracing officials. It is also looks increasingly unlikely that Sydney will end its nine-week lockdown on 28 August as planned.

SA Blocks Travellers From Parts of NT, Greater Darwin Enters Snap 3-day Lockdown

South Australia closed its border to travellers from several local government areas north of the Central Desert and Barkly LGAs — excluding the East Arnhem LGA — in the Northern Territory as of 6:00 p.m. Monday night.

Only returning South Australian residents, essential travellers, those who are relocating, and people escaping domestic violence will be allowed to enter SA from the affected LGAs. Meanwhile, Greater Darwin and Katherine entered a three-day lockdown at noon on Monday after one positive case of COVID-19 was recorded.

Victorian Business Costs Assistance Program Round 2 July Extension

The Victorian Government’s Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two July Extension (BCAP2e) gives eligible businesses that had not previously applied for the Program in June, or have since become eligible, with the opportunity to apply for the equivalent of the July Top-Up Payments.

The program offers grants of $4800 to eligible businesses, including employing and non-employing businesses, depending on their industry sector.

Read the eligibility criteria here.

All hotspots: COVID-19 Disaster Payment for recognised lockdowns

This Federal Government support is lump sum payment for workers who cannot earn income because of a state public health order. You can check your eligibility here.

NSW Grants

The NSW Government will be offering financial support to businesses or not-for-profit organisations impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders.

NSW: Micro-business grant

The micro-business grant is a $1500 fortnightly payment for businesses with a turnover between $30,000 and $75,000.

To check your eligibility and apply, visit the Service NSW website.

COVID-19 Business Grant

A one-off payment to help businesses, sole traders or not-for-profit organisations impacted by the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 restrictions.

Grants between $7,500 and $15,000 are available to eligible businesses depending on the decline in turnover experienced during the restrictions. For eligibility criteria and to apply, visit the Service NSW website.

JobSaver payment

JobSaver is a fortnightly payment to help maintain employee headcount (as at 13 July) and provide cashflow support to businesses. To check your eligibility and apply, visit the Service NSW website.

Small business fees and charges rebate

If you are a sole trader, the owner of a small business or a not-for-profit organisation in NSW, you may be eligible for a small business fees and charges rebate of $1500 aimed at helping businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Applications are open and you can check your eligibility here.

You can view more NSW Government COVID-19 Support Packages here, including Jobs Plus, Sydney CBD Friday vouchers, Payroll tax support and support for the tourism industry. Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

QLD COVID-19 Business Support Grant

Your business may be eligible for financial support through the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants. $5,000 grants will be made available to small and medium businesses across Queensland affected by COVID-19 lockdowns and lockdowns in other states. You must have experienced a 30% reduction in turnover as a result of the lockdown.

The Business Queensland website has an overview of the range of assistance available.

Fuel Tax Credit Rate Hike

Fuel tax credit rates increased on 2 August 2021 in line with fuel excise indexation. If you claim less than $10,000 in fuel tax credits per year, you can use simplified methods including:

  • the rate that applies at the end of your BAS period
  • the Basic method for heavy vehicles to calculate your claims if you use a heavy vehicle.

You can find the updated rates here and use this fuel tax credit calculator to work out your claims. If you need more help with your tax, contact our tax agents today!

Government Support for Best Emerging Innovators in Western Australia

A total of 21 start-ups and SMEs have been awarded up to $20,000 each by the Government of Western Australia. A total of $385,000 has been given through the Innovation Vouchers Program, which aims to assist Western Australian innovators in commercialising their ideas and creating new jobs.

Since its launch in 2011, the Innovation Vouchers Program has awarded 199 vouchers worth approximately $3.7 million.

ATO support for those affected by COVID-19 restrictions or disasters

The ATO has a range of support options to help those affected by disasters or those experiencing challenges due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions.

The ATO may be able to:

  • prioritise any refunds owed to you
  • set up a payment plan tailored to your individual situation
  • remit penalties or interest charged during the time you have been affected.

If you need help to manage your tax or superannuation obligations, please get in touch with us.

JobMaker Hiring Credit’s Second Claim Period

The second claim period of the JobMaker Hiring Credit is now open. So if you’ve taken on additional young employees between 7 January and 6 April 2021, you may claim the following payments:

  • up to $10,400 over a year for each additional eligible employee aged 16 to 29 years
  • up to $5,200 over a year for each additional eligible employee aged 30 to 35 years

Register any time until the scheme ends.

4 Ways Your Business Can Increase Its ROI in 2022

Finding ways to boost your business’ profit margins can be challenging, especially if you’ve already tried many of the traditional ways of improving the stability of your cash flow during the pandemic. This Forbes article shared some unusual methods to grow your ROI.

  1. Invest in high-performing marketing platforms. Look into platforms that are not as saturated as Facebook, including Youtube and Instagram. You could also switch gears by starting a company podcast.
  2. Automate more tasks. Automate more tasks with the assistance of AI-driven tech and integrations to free up your team’s time and allow them to focus on getting higher level work done.
  3. Unclog your sales pipeline. Sit down with your sales team and outline your customer journeys. Remove stumbling blocks and friction points to improve your sales pipeline and speed up your sales cycle.
  4. Reorganise your team. Switching responsibilities between team members could improve your efficiency and may allow you to keep the same amount of core staff while scaling your business.

Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF)

Self Managed Superannuation Funds continue to be an attractive superannuation vehicle for those who are looking to take more control over their retirement plans and enjoy the flexibility and transparency the structure provides. According to the ATO, since 1999, the sector has grown from around 200,000 SMSFs with $55 billion in assets to 586000 SMSFs totaling $676 billion in assets. Today, SMSFs comprise nearly one third of Australia’s total $2.76 trillion retirement system. (Source: ATO website, ato.gove.au/smsf).

One of the main reason people consider setting up SMSF is to diversify their superannuation investment and invest their super in property market by buying residential or commercial properties inside their SMSF. Once invested and if they hold on with the property and sell it in their retirement phase, it would be tax free. This would be a great way to create more wealth for your retirement.

If you have been thinking about setting up your SMSF or perhaps you want to know if it is something that would be worthwhile for you, please get in touch with us by sending a quick email to info@countax.com.au.

Quote of the week

Get in touch

We’re thinking of everyone affected by these ongoing lockdowns around the country and encourage you to get in touch with us if you need any assistance with the Government Support Grants. Please contact Assad SHAHI in our office by sending him an email at assad@countax.com.au. He will get back to you within 48 hours. Please be aware this is an extremely busy time of the year for us.  We appreciate your understanding that it may take us longer to return your calls or reply to your emails. We thank you for your patience. Rest assured that we’re here to help.  

Have a fantastic weekend.

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