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Relief for VIC Businesses | COVID-19 Support Package

Support for Victorian businesses. Find out what assistance is available to you and your business if you've been affected by the lockdowns and restrictions due to COVID-19.

by The AFC

29 July 2021

The AFC are relieved to hear that Victoria have lifted their restrictions. Victorians have endured their fifth lockdown since the pandemic began, and while the lockdowns have been lifted, there are businesses that will be suffering and continue to suffer its impacts.

To compensate those affected businesses hit by the extension of the state’s lockdowns, the government announced further funding. We called upon AFC Affiliate Partner Olvera Advisors. to help you find out how the latest government initiatives and grants can help your business in Victoria get through this tough time and start to recover.
 
 

1. 21 July 2021 – Top-up Payment

Overview:

This top-up payment provides additional support to eligible SMEs affected by the current restrictions in metropolitan and regional Victoria. This payment is in addition to the 16 July 2021 Top-Up Payments.

Successful recipients of the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two (BCAP – Round Two) will receive an additional $2800, and successful recipients of the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 will receive an additional $4200. These payments will be processed automatically in July 2021.
 

Eligibility:

To receive the top-up payment, businesses must have received the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two grant.

Those businesses that did not receive the BCAP – Round Two are not eligible to receive the 21 June 2021 Top-Up. However, applications for the BCAP – Round Two funding will re-open by the end of July. The program extensions will enable businesses to apply for the July Top-Up payments and will be considered outside of the automatic top-up process.

If your business is eligible for the 21 July 2021 Top-Up Payment, you do not need to apply, it is an automatic payment to successful recipients of the BCAP – Round Two and Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021.
 
 

2. Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two (BCAP – Round Two)

Overview:

The information on BCAP – Round Two is from when applications were previously opened and is subject to change, when applications re-open in late July.

This program offers grants of $2,500 to $5,000 for businesses with an annual payroll of up to $10 million. It also provides the option to increase the amount received to $7,000 with the ‘Tourism Supplement’ or the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two Top-up Payment (BCAP Top-up Payment).
 

Eligibility:

- Be located within Victoria

- Be registered as operating in an eligible industry sector identified in the List of Eligible ANZSIC classes (as defined by the ANZSIC class linked to the business’ ABN)

- Have incurred direct costs as a result of the circuit breaker action and the business cannot predominantly operate remotely.

- For example, but not limited to: booking cancellations, utilities, wages, paid leave for staff unable to attend work, rent or the loss of perishable goods or any other direct costs affecting the operation of the business related to the May-June 2021 COVID-19 restrictions. These costs may have been incurred prior to, on or after 27 May 2021. The costs must be incurred by the applying business, as defined by its ABN.

- Have an annual Victorian payroll of up to $10 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis.

- Be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) on 27 May 20215

- Hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at27 May 2021.

- Be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator.
 

For employing businesses only:

- Be registered with WorkSafe Victoria; and

- Attest that the business is supporting its workers to access any paid leave entitlements, or that if a person can work from home, to work from home during the COVID-19 restrictions, and supporting their casual workers, where possible.
 

The total value of a grant under the Program is up to $7000. For businesses that meet the standard eligibility criteria:

- Businesses subject to restrictions between Friday 28 May 2021 and Thursday 3 June 2021 may be eligible for $2500

- Businesses subject to restrictions between Friday 28 May 2021 and Thursday 10 June 2021 may be eligible for $5000

- Businesses subject to restrictions between Friday 28 May 2021 and Thursday 17 June 2021 may be eligible for $7000
 

Please note these amounts are subject to change when applications re-open end of July. Grant funds must be used to assist the business, for example on:

- Meeting business costs, including utilities, wages or rent; or

- Seeking financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning; or

- Developing the business through marketing and communications activities; or

- Any other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.

Further information relating to the re-opening of applications will be available soon here.
 
 

3. Jobs Victoria Fund

Overview:

This grant offers up to $20,000 in wage subsidies and is available for eligible employers and jobseekers, to help with costs of hiring new employees. Eligible businesses can apply for the wage subsidy for up to 20 full time equivalent employees, depending on the size of the business.
 

Eligibility:

This subsidy is aimed to support priority groups where their employment has been particularly impacted. To be eligible, the business must employ someone from at least one of the priority groups. If you are considering applying for this grant, you must hire the employees from the priority groups prior to applying for the fund.

The Jobs Victoria Fund financially supports these priority jobseekers into work:

- Women aged over 45 years

- Jobseekers who are long-term unemployed (unemployed for six months or more)

- Jobseekers registered with a Jobs Victoria Partner.

- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people

- People with disability

- People seeking asylum/refugees

- Newly arrived migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds

- Young people aged under 25

- People over 45 years

- Veterans

- People previously employed under the Working for Victoria initiative

A questionnaire for eligibility, instructions on how to apply and FAQs can be found here.
 
 

4. Late Payment Interest Waiver

The Commissioner of State Revenue announced that late payment interest would not be applied on outstanding tax debts, until 30 September 2021. From 1 October 2021, any outstanding tax debts that have not been paid will once again be subject to late payment interest calculated from the date of the tax default.
 
 

5. Land Tax Relief

Overview:

Whilst these applications for 2020 and 2021 have closed, the Victorian government is accepting late applications for those who could not apply due to reasons outside their control. Late applications for 2020 land tax relief must be lodged by 30 September 2021 and those for 2021 land tax relief by 31 December 2021.

Relief:

- Deferral of 2020 land tax until 31 March 2021 for eligible landowners who own at least one non-residential property and have total taxable landholdings below $1 million.

- Reduction of up to 50%, and deferral of remaining 2020 land tax, until 31 March 2021 for eligible commercial landlords and eligible owner-occupiers.

- Extension of 25% tax waiver to 2021 land tax for eligible commercial landlords, and commercial owner-occupiers, and deferral of remaining tax until 30 November 2021, including any deferred land tax from 2020
 
For detailed information, visit the:

- 2020 Coronavirus Land Tax Relief Page

- 2021 Coronavirus Land Tax Relief Page
 
 

6. Payroll Tax Relief

Overview:

- Waiving of 2019-20 payroll tax for businesses with annual Victorian taxable wages up to $3 million.

- Exempting additional payments under the JobKeeper program from payroll tax.

- Deferring 2020-21 payroll tax liabilities for employers with Victorian payrolls up to $10 million, based on their 2019-20 financial year returns, until the 2021-22 financial year.

- Waiving of 2020-21 and 2021-22 payroll tax after applying the New Jobs payroll tax credit.

Detailed Information available here.
 
 

7. Stamp Duty Relief for Regional Victoria

Overview:

A 50% stamp duty discount will apply to contracts entered into on or after 1 January 2021 to buy commercial or industrial property in regional Victoria.

For detailed information, visit the coronavirus duty concession for regional commercial or industrial properties in regional Victoria page.
 
 

8. Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme

Overview:

The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme will be available to SMEs with an annual turnover of less than $50 million that have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent due to coronavirus.
 
Businesses will get financial relief in the form of a proportionate reduction in rent. For example, a business with a turnover of 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels can only be charged 40 per cent of its rent. Of the balance, at least half must be waived, with the remainder to be deferred.
 
Tenants and landlords are encouraged to enter negotiations directly, however the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) is available to provide mediation if parties cannot reach satisfactory outcomes.
 
For eligible applications under the new scheme where there is also an agreement already in place from the first Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme, existing deferred rent repayment requirements will be frozen until 15 January 2022, when the outstanding amount will be added to the deferred rent accrued during the current Scheme
 

Eligibility:

- Must be a commercial tenant that has experienced a loss of more than 30% during the pandemic.
(This is calculated by comparing the turnover of a chosen three month period in the final quarter of the 2020/21 financial year with turnover from the same three months in the final quarter of the 2018/19 financial year.)

- If the percentage drop is more than 30%, the eligible SME will receive relief in proportion to the reduction of their turnover.

- Special arrangements will be in place to assess the turnover impacts for new businesses which were not operating in 2019.

Eligibility for the scheme will be a one-time test. Businesses which are eligible at the beginning of the scheme will remain eligible throughout, with the proportion of rent relief adjusted in line with their turnover. The scheme will run until 15 January 2022.

For more information on the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme click here.
 
 

9. Business Costs Assistance Program

Overview:
The Business Costs Assistance Program provides funding of up to $1.6 billion, supporting approximately 132,000 businesses across multiple sectors who were recipients of the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two (mentioned in point 2 of this package)

Businesses throughout Victoria will receive automatic payments to cover ongoing costs such as wages, rent, utilities and insurance:

- $2,800 a week for businesses with an annual payroll below $650,000
- $5,600 a week for businesses with an annual payroll of $650,000 to $3 million
- $8,400 for businesses with an annual payroll of $3 million to $10 million.
 

Eligibility:

Businesses will remain eligible while they are unable to operate due to public health restrictions.
 
 

10. Small Business COVID Hardship Fund

Overview:

The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund will receive a $448 million boost, increasing the total grant amount available to small and medium-sized businesses from $14,000 to $20,000 in recognition of the impact of the lockdown extension.
 

Eligibility:

The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund supports businesses that have been ineligible for Victorian Government business support programs since May but have experienced a reduction in revenue of at least 70 per cent. This includes businesses that are legally allowed to operate but are restricted in their ability to generate revenue.

Applications for the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund close on 10 September.
 
 

11. COVID-19 Disaster Payments

Overview:

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is administered through Services Australia, with the Federal Government funding the areas declared a Commonwealth hotspot and the Victorian Government assuming responsibility to fund payments in locked-down areas that are not deemed to be official hotspots.

The payment is set at $450 for people who have lost from eight to 20 hours work or a full day of work (over seven days), and $750 for 20 hours or more of work lost. People who receive certain Commonwealth income support are eligible to receive a $200 payment where they have lost eight hours or more of work due to the lockdowns.
 

Eligibility:

Eligible workers across the state who lose hours of work due to the lockdown will be able to access the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment, as will individuals who are sole-trader business owners who lose work and that do not qualify for Victorian Government support programs.
 
 

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