Bushfire Relief

Announcement – Small Biz Support for Bushfire Affected Communities

Announced today, small businesses impacted by the bushfires will be afforded up to $50,000 in tax-free grants and loans of up to $500,000 for businesses that have “suffered significant asset loss or a significant loss of revenue”.

Extracts from todays federal government Announcement

Grant funding: To build on the disaster recovery grants put in place by state governments, the Federal Government will provide top-up grants to eligible small businesses and non-profit organisations under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

This program is uncapped and means that businesses and organisations that have sustained damage as a result of the fires can access up to $50,000 in grant funding (tax free).

Concessional loans: As well as extra support announced already for families and communities to help keep spending in local stores, the Federal Government wants to ensure small businesses have cashflow to run their operations.

The Federal Government will boost the value and concessions for small business loans, also on offer to farmers, primary producers and non-profit organisations, under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

To provide maximum flexibility for eligible businesses, loans of up to $500,000 will be offered for businesses that have suffered significant asset loss or a significant loss of revenue. The loan would be for up to 10 years and used for the purposes of restoring or replacing damaged assets and for working capital.

The loans will be available with a repayment holiday of up to two years, with no interest accruing during this period. The subsequent interest rate would be set at 50 per cent of the ten-year Commonwealth government bond rate (currently around 0.6%).

The Government will be seeking the agreement of the states to provide these loans under harmonised, consistent terms and eligibility criteria.

Tax relief: The Commissioner of Taxation has agreed to provide a range of assistance measures to businesses in identified bushfire-impacted postcodes to help to alleviate cash flow pressures and assist these businesses with their recovery efforts.

In particular, taxpayers in impacted postcodes will now have until 28 May 2020 to lodge and pay business activity statements and income tax returns. Impacted businesses that pay their Pay-As-You-Go Instalments quarterly are also allowed to vary these instalments to zero for the December 2019 quarter and claim a refund for any instalments made in the September 2019 quarter.

These measures are intended to  assist small businesses with cashflow support during this difficult time.

State government Announcements

Disaster Recovery Grants: Grants of up to $15,000 are available if your business has been directly affected by bushfire. Applications can be made to the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit the website.

Natural Disaster Relief Loans: The Natural Disaster Relief Scheme assists Small Business Operators directly affected by a declared natural disaster. Small businesses who have been directly affected by a declared natural disaster including floods, fires or storm damage, may be eligible for low interest loans of up to $130,000. Visit the website for more information and loan guidelines.

Revenue NSW

Information below explains the range of options that are available from Revenue NSW.

Fines and fees

  • place a hold on all fines and debt for people in a bushfire affected area
  • extend your payment deadlines
  • contact us and we can lift driving sanctions
  • contact Work and Development Order sponsors to place WDOs on hold if necessary.

Taxes, duties, grants and royalties

  • give you more time to lodge any documents or returns
  • extend your payment deadlines
  • agree not to charge you interest
  • arrange for you to pay any debts to us in instalments
  • if your vehicle was written off in a declared natural disaster, you may be able to apply for a refund of motor vehicle duty you pay on a replacement vehicle.

Payroll tax

  • wages paid or payable to an employee for bushfire-fighting activities or emergency operations are exempt from payroll tax
  • a letter outlining their period of involvement with Rural Fire Services NSW or SES will suffice to substantiate this exemption
  • to easily identify the exempt amount, record the payments as ’emergency services leave’.

We will keep you posted on who is eligible and how to apply as more details are available

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