Tuesday 24 August

Business support package for regional Victoria activated
package of automatic cash grants jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments have been activated to provide regional Victorian businesses with the support following the extension of the Victorian lockdown to the whole of the state. Grants will be made automatically without the need for regional businesses to make an application. Business in regional Victoria that do not qualify for this support and have experienced a reduction in revenue of at least 70% are encouraged to apply for the $252 million Small Business COVID Hardship Fund, which provides grants of $14,000 to successful applicants.

WA: COVID Tourism assistance grants announced
Western Australian tourism businesses impacted by COVID will be able to apply for funding support under a new joint Commonwealth-State program. Eligible tourism businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to $10,000 to assist with some of the financial impacts resulting from much of the country being under significant COVID-19 restrictions. Applicants must demonstrate at least a 30% reduction in turnover by comparing the period 15 May to 25 June with 10 July to 20 August to be eligible for support.

Targeted assistance for childcare services during lockdown
The Federal Government will provide additional targeted support for child care providersimpacted by extended COVID-19 lockdowns, through new fortnightly payments. Childcare services in Commonwealth-declared hotspots will be eligible for payments of 25% of their pre-lockdown revenue. Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services will be eligible for payments of 40%. This will apply to services seven days after the hotspot is declared, where states have directed families to keep their kids at home. Where kids are still allowed to attend, the supports will kick in four weeks after the hotspot declaration.

NSW and Vic grants declared NANE
The Income Tax Assessment (Eligible State and Territory Covid-19 Economic Recovery Grant Programs) Declaration 2020 has been amended to declare grant programs administered by the States of NSW and Victoria as being “eligible programs” for the purposes of the grants being non-assessable, non-exempt income (NANE) under s 59-97 of the ITAA 1997.

ATO: Scam alerts – and reporting them
The ATO has set out on its website examples of recent ATO impersonation scams. It also emphasised that if “you think a phone call, SMS, voicemail or email claiming to be from us is not genuine, do not reply to it. Instead you should either phone us on 1800 008 540 or go to ‘Verify or report a scam’ – which shows how to spot and report a scam”.

Vic: Regional First Home Owner Grants
The Victorian State Revenue Office has issued a reminder that the $20,000 regional First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) ended on 30 June 2021. However, it also advised that for contracts entered into from that date, eligible persons can apply for the $10,000 FHOG instead.

ATO: Compassionate release of super approval notification update
The ATO has advised that on 23 September 2021 it will be deploying an update to the Compassionate release of super (CRS) approval notifications sent to superfunds and administrators via the ‘Online services for business’ portal. It also advised that this update will see the Unique Superannuation Identifier (USI) of the nominated superfund included in the PDF file name.

Monday 23 August

ATO: Extra time to lodge for up to 5 clients
The ATO has advised that tax agents who need extra time to lodge a small number of client obligations will, from September, be able to call the ATO to request extra time to lodge up to five clients. In addition, the ATO reminded tax agents that there are already a variety of deferral options available and that a deferral request can be submitted by lodging a completed application form through Online services for agents.

Lockdown support for Northern Territory businesses
The Federal and the Northern Territory Labor Government have announced a new $12.5m package for Territory businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. Among other thing the package will include a $9m Visitation Reliant Support Program for tourism and hospitality businesses reliant on international and interstate visitation. In addition, employing businesses will receive a $3,000 payment, while sole traders will receive a $1,000 payment. Eligible businesses must have an annual turnover of less than $10m, and will need to demonstrate a 30% decrease in turnover as a result of the lockdown.

Vic: Mental health and wellbeing “payroll” surcharge
The Victorian State Revenue Office has advised that the “mental health and wellbeing surcharge” will commence from 1 Jan 2022, which is payable on Victorian taxable wages paid or payable from 1 January 2022 by an employer or a group of employers. The surcharge will be payable if Victorian taxable wages are paid and the Australian wages exceed the first annual threshold of $10m. The surcharge is payable at the same time that payroll tax is payable. Separate returns will not be required.

Gold Coast property developer sentenced for GST fraud
A Gold Coast property developer has been sentenced at the Southport District Court for fraudulently obtaining $147,763 in GST refunds. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment to be immediately released on a recognisance release order, and a three-year good behaviour bond of $5000. In addition to  his criminal conviction, he was ordered to pay back the full amount to the ATO.

COVID business support declaration – for ATO info-sharing
The government has issued the Taxation Administration (Data Sharing-Relevant Covid-19 Business Support Program) Declaration 2021. This instrument lists the programs that have been declared relevant COVID-19 business support programs by the Treasurer to enable the Commissioner of Taxation to share protected data the ATO holds with relevant Australian government agencies that administer the programs.