Turn to Zobel

We’re here to help you navigate through these uncertain times with expert financial advice.

We are all living in unprecedented times, and like many people you may be wondering how to survive financially. At Zobel we understand that you may not know where to turn. Turn to us.

Our highly trained team are ready to support you and provide everything you need to navigate through the uncertainty. At times like these, you need expert financial advice from a team you can truly rely on.

  • Loan repayments
  • Hardship clauses
  • Government funds
  • Super Rules

Need help understanding COVID-19 implications?

Our Helpful Resources

We understand that it can be difficult to stay on top of all of the information relating to COVID-19 and how it may impact you. With that in mind, we have collated some handy resources that may be helpful in assisting you during this time.

Latest Government Assistant Packages

Zobel in conjunction with Bluestone Accountants, are here to help you get access to government incentives where possible, to keep your life stable and business operating.

For Businesses

The ‘Boosting Cash flow for Employers’ initiative

The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not- for profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. These payments will help businesses’ and not-for-profits’ cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and importantly, retain staff.

Part 1 March to June 2020

Employers will receive a credit equal to the PAYG Tax withheld, with the maximum payment being $50,000. There will be a minimum payment of $10,000 and you will still receive the minimum payment if you are employing staff but not required to withhold tax.

For instance, for a Monthly or a Quarterly BAS preparer, if you have paid staff $15,000 of PAYG withholding each month from January (so $45,000 for the quarter ending March 2020), you will receive a credit for the full $45,000 against your March BAS.

You will then receive the balance of the $50k available to you (ie the remaining $5k) as a credit against the June 2020 BAS or the April 2020 BAS if you lodge monthly.

Part 2 June to September 2020

An additional credit will be received for the July – September 2020 period. This will be offset against the June and September BAS or monthly IAS/BAS if you lodge monthly. Eligible entities will receive an additional payment equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments they have received in part 1 above. This will be regardless of what your PAYG Withholding is for this period.

In the example above and for a Monthly BAS, they would receive $12,500 credit against the June BAS, $12,500 credit against the July BAS, $12,500 credit against the August BAS and $12,500 credit against the September BAS.

In the example above and for a Quarterly BAS, the business would receive $25,000 credit against the June BAS and $25,000 credit against the September BAS.

If you have not absorbed the full $50K before the June BAS, then there will be a credit for the balance of the first Cashflow boost amount together with the first credit under the second cashflow boost amount in the June quarter. This means that eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 up to a total of $100,000 under both payments.

The credit is not a deferral – you will not be required to catch this payment up in the future. You will only receive a refund if the credit for the PAYG Withholding exceeds your total IAS/BAS payable for that period. If the amount does not exceed the total IAS/BAS then you will need to pay the balance of the IAS/BAS or put it on a payment plan.

The credit will be calculated by the ATO automatically from 28th April 2020.

Eligibility for the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payments:

Small and medium sized business entities and NFPs with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers will be eligible. Eligibility will generally be based on prior year turnover.

Other notes:

The payments will only be available to active eligible employers established prior to 12 March 2020. However, charities which are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission will be eligible regardless of when they were registered, subject to meeting other eligibility requirements. This recognises that new charities may be established in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The business must also continue to lodge all IAS/BAS during this period to remain eligible for the payments.

JobKeeper Payment

JobKeeper payment

It is important to note that once you become eligible for JobKeeper and enrol then you will continue to receive payments right up until October regardless of your income between now and then. The below information is also subject to change regularly so we encourage to use the links below to keep up to date with any ongoing changes.

Eligible Businesses

  • Turnover of less than $1Billion and a 30% reduction in turnover (of at least a month) – with exceptions (If > $1Billion must be a 50% drop).
    • 30% drop compared to the same period in 2019
    • Where the business did not trade a year earlier or the turnover from 12 months ago is not representative of the current position there are 7 alternate tests that you can consider
  • Must be in an employment relationship with eligible employees as at 1 March 2020 and confirm that each eligible employee is currently engaged in order to receive Jobkeeper Payments. This means that you can re-hire staff that you may have terminated after 1 March 2020 to keep them engaged with the business.

Eligible employees

  • Currently employed by the employer (including those stood down or re-hired)
  • Be employed by the employer on 1 March 2020
  • Are full time, part time or casuals (casuals need to have been employed more than 12 months)
  • Are at least 18 years old or if they are 16 or 17 that must be financially independent
  • Are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder
  • Are not in receipt of a JobKeeper payment from another employer.
  • Have received a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight (or equivalent if weekly or monthly pay cycle)

One in All in Approach

You must provide all eligible employees as per above with an employee nomination form within 7 days of your enrolment into the JobKeeper schceme.

The ATO have made it very clear that all eligible employees must be included. Therefore, if an employee on your books meets all the eligibility criteria they will need to be included unless they choose not to be nominated. They can only make this choice by marking “No” on the employee nomination form.

If the employee is eligible and elects to be nominated then you must pay them a minimum of $1,500 a fortnight.

The employee does not need to actually be working to receive the payment – they just need to be a registered employee. If the employee does work, then super is required to be paid on the amount related to the work performed and super on the excess payment to $1,500 is optional. For instance, if the employee earns $1,000 a fortnight normally, they will receive this amount with super paid on it and then they will also receive an additional amount of $500 where super is optional.

Please note that the Fair Work Act has been amended to make it illegal not to pass on the payment to all eligible employees – so if you exclude an employee who is on your books and eligible there are now substantial penalties involved anywhere from $12,600 to $126,000 per employee.

If you do not think that you can fund the payment of all employees upfront then you may need to consider whether the scheme is suitable for you or whether your employees should seek the JobSeeker payment themselves (depending on eligibility).

There have also been changes to the Fair Work Act in line with the JobKeeper scheme. If you intend to change an employee’s hours or job roles, amongst other things, you may need to consider contacting an employment lawyer as this area is quite complex. We have provided a link to some information below.

April Eligibility

To be eligible for Jobkeeper payments in April you can compare any of the following to determine if you have had a 30% drop in income under the basic test:

  1. March 2020 v March 2019
  2. April 2020 v April 2019
  3. Projected June 2020 Quarter v June 2019 Quarter

However to be eligible for April’s payments there are some very important dates:

  1. All employees must have been paid the minimum of $1,500 per fortnight for April ($3,000 for the month) before the 8th of May.
  2. You must enrol in the JobKeeper scheme before 31st May
  3. Once enrolled you can lodge your first monthly report – payments will not start until the report is lodged – must be lodged by 31st May for April
  4. If you have processed a pay cycle already and did not pay an employee the minimum you are entitled to process a further pay for that same period as a backpay amount to take them up to the minimum of $1,500. This will need to be done before the 8th of May.

May Eligibility and ongoing

You can enrol in the JobKeeper scheme in any future month once you meet the criteria. From May onwards you will need to consider the following for your eligibility tests:

  1. The month in 2020 compared to the same month in 2019 – ie if the test month is May 2020 then you look at May 2020 and May 2019
  2. The projected 2020 quarter that the month falls in compared to the same quarter in 2019 – i.e if the test month is May then you compare projected June 2020 quarter against June 2019 quarter
  3. Each eligible employee must be paid a minimum of $1,500 gross wages per fortnight on a date that falls within the ATO’s JobKeeper fortnights – ie the JobKeeper fortnights in May run from 27th April to 10th May and 11th of May to 24th May. There is no extension of time to pay the employees from May onwards – it must fall within these date ranges.

Alternate Tests

There are 6 scenarios where the ATO will allow an alternate test – as these tests can be complicated we encourage you to contact us to discuss them further if you believe that you are eligible:

  1. Entity is new to business and does not have a comparative month in the prior year as they were not trading
  2. The business has acquired or disposed of a part of their business in the last 12 months that has changed their turnover so the comparative month in the previous year does not give a fair comparison
  3. The business has undertaken an internal restructure in the last 12 months that has changed their turnover so the comparative month in the previous year does not give a fair comparison
  4. The business has experienced a substantial increase in turnover over the last 12 months so the comparative month in the previous year does not give a fair comparison
    1. 50% or more than 12 months ago
    2. 25% or more than 6 months ago
    3. 12.5% or more than 3 months ago
  5. Business was affected by drought or other natural disaster during the comparative period in 2019 so the comparative month in the previous year does not give a fair comparison
  6. Business has irregular turnover that is not cyclical or seasonal

Payroll Set Up – Critical to receiving the payment

The various software providers have now released the payroll set up requirements within their software packages in order to ensure that STP reports the payments correctly. Their advice has been that if the payroll is not set up as per their instructions then there is a high risk of the payments being delayed or worse case scenario not being eligible to receive them at all.

As most of you would have processed the pay runs in April already, there is a requirement to amend these pay runs to reflect the payments correctly – this must be done before the 8th of May. We have provided the links below for Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks that outline their instructions on how to set it up correctly and how to amend the April pay runs that have already been posted.

Xero

https://central.xero.com/s/article/Set-up-or-update-JobKeeper-pay-items

https://central.xero.com/s/article/Process-JobKeeper-payments#ProcesspayrunsforpaymentsmissedinApril

MYOB

https://help.myob.com/wiki/display/ar/COVID-19+wage+subsidy+%28JobKeeper%29+payments?_ga=2.248689733.395739549.1587942209-965078060.1565156107

Quickbooks

https://support.yourpayroll.com.au/hc/en-au/articles/360001461816-Managing-the-JobKeeper-Payment

 

Self Employed – Sole Trader, Partnership, Trust or Company

This is only relevant for those individuals who do not get paid salary and wages from their business.

Only one person can be nominated to receive the payment if you are self-employed as a sole trader, partnership, trust or company. In order to be eligible there must be an individual as the director, shareholder or beneficiary.

The individual must also be actively working in the business and cannot be an employee (other than a casual) of any other businesses – i.e. you can’t hold a job (other than as a casual) and claim the JobKeeper payment for a business you run as a side project.

There is no need for the business to pay that nominated person the $1,500 prior to receiving the reimbursement. The payment will also be made to the business and can be used however the business chooses – ie you do not need to forward it onto the nominated individual.

Further Information – please note these links are updated daily

https://www.ato.gov.au/general/JobKeeper-Payment/

https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/ – for Fair Work amendments

ATO Debt Management

The ATO has also released guidance on how it will be assisting small to medium size businesses, mainly with the deferral of payments and low interest payment plans.

We have detailed these below – please contact us to discuss your options in more detail:

  • Deferring by up to six months the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise.
  • Allow businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get quicker access to GST refunds they may be entitled to.
  • Allowing businesses to vary Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.
  • Remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities.
  • Working with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low interest payment plans.

Small Business Loans

A small business with less than $50M turnover will be eligible to receive a loan under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme. The government will guarantee 50% of the loan amount under these schemes.

The loan details are:

  • Maximum $250,000 loan per borrower
  • Up to 3-year loan term with an initial 6-month repayment holiday period
  • The loans will be unsecured so no asset will be required for security

The scheme is scheduled to run from April 2020 to September 2020.

Further information is available here.

State Government Grants

The South Australian state government has announced $10K grants for businesses that have been directly affected by the Coronavirus either by closure of significant loss of income. To be eligible for the grant in South Australia you must:

  • Employ staff
  • Turnover more than $75,000
  • Have a payroll less than $1.5M and are not eligible for payroll tax relief
  • Be carrying on business on 1 March 2020 under an ABN
  • Use the funds to support the ongoing operation of the business
  • Apply by 1 June 2020

Other states have announced similar grants or loans – we have included information below for the NSW $10,000 grant and the QLD business loan schemes.

Further information is available here:
South Australia

NSW

QLD

Instant assets write off now for assets costing less than $150,000

  • The government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million.
  • This proposal applies from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, for new or second-hand assets first used, or installed ready for use in this timeframe.

New Apprentices Subsidy

  • The Government is supporting small business to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer.
  • Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).
  • The subsidy will be available to small businesses employing fewer than 20 full-time employees who retain an apprentice or trainee. The apprentice or trainee must have been in training with a small business as at 1 March 2020.
  • Employers of any size and Group Training Organisations that re-engage an eligible out-of- trade apprentice or trainee will be eligible for the subsidy.
  • Employers can register for the subsidy from early-April 2020. Final claims for payment must be lodged by 31 December 2020

Further information is available at:

For Individuals

JobSeeker Payment

The normal restrictions for access to the JobSeeker payment (formerly Newstart Allowance) have been lifted. There will be no asset test for this payment and your spouse can now earn $79,762 and you will still be eligible. Income tests will still apply to be eligible for the payment.

You will also be able to access an additional “coronavirus supplement” of $550 a fortnight for the next six months if you are eligible for the JobSeeker payment or various other Centrelink payments.

The application for JobSeeker is done through your MyGov app – there will be a button when you log in to apply for the payment.

An economic support payment for those on eligible Centrelink payments including the JobSeeke payment has already been paid at $750 per person. You will only get the second $750 payment in July if you are not receiving the “coronavirus supplement” but are in receipt of other eligible Centrelink payments.

Further information is available at:
https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Income_Support_for_Individuals.pdf

Banking Assistance

Australian Banking Association announced a relief package targeting both business and individual customers.

  • Small businesses impacted by the coronavirus crisis will be able to defer their loan repayments for six months.
  • Home loan customers can also pause their repayments for up to three to six months.

Before calling your bank to put loan payments on hold, it is recommended that you give your nearest Zobel office a call so that they can explain the implications and what your options are.

If you need to put repayments on hold you will need to contact your bank to discuss your debt arrangements to see if a reduction or deferral can be arranged. However, it is also an important time to review your loans to ensure that you have the most suitable structure so again, please call Zobel first.

If you are unsure about delaying your loan repayments, it’s definitely advisable to give us a call so we can explain the full implications and assess if there is a better option for you.

Below we have compiled a list of Hardship Contacts for the major lenders in Australia for you to access:

Adelaide Bank – 1300 650 259

AFM now Lendi – 1300 323 181

AMP – 13 30 30

ANZ – 1800 252 845

Auswide Bank – 1300 138 831

Bank SA – 13 13 76

Bankwest – 1300 769 173

Beyond Bank – 13 25 85

CBA – 13 3095

CUSA – (08) 8202 7777

Citi Bank – 1800 722 879

Firstmac – 1800 651 898

Heritage – 13 14 22

Homeloans – Resimac –  1300 793 741

Homloans – Pepper – 1300 668 959

HomeStart – 1300 636 878

ING Direct – 1300 349 166

Liberty – 13 11 33

Macquarie – 1300 363 330

ME Bank – 13 15 63

My State – 138 001

NAB – 1800 701 599

PlanLend – 1300 155 426

Pepper Money – 1800 356 383

Resimac – 1300 793 741

Suncorp – 1800 225 223

Virgin Money – 1800 701 997

Westpac – 1800 067 497

Variation of PAYG Instalments – March quarter

If you are paying personal PAYG Instalments quarterly then we recommend that you consider varying these instalments in the March quarter. The instalments are based on expected profit/income earned for the 2020 year – as this is likely to be substantially affected the instalments can be varied accordingly.

You may also be eligible to claim a credit back for the instalments paid in the September and December quarters.

Please contact Bluestone Accountants and Business Advisers for further information or assistance in varying these amounts.

Early Access to Super – including sole traders

Individuals who meet certain criteria will be able to access $10,000 of their super prior to 1 July 2020 and $10,000 from 1 July 2020. This will be a tax-free payment and can be accessed via the mygov website. You must meet one or more of the following to be eligible:

  • Unemployed
  • Eligible to receive Jobseeker, Youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment, Special benefit or Farm Household allowance
  • On or after 1 January 2020
    • You were made redundant
    • Your working hours were reduced by 20%
    • If you area sole trader the business has been suspended or there has been a reduction in turnover of 20% or more

Click here for further information.

Child Care

The government has announced additional funding to the child care sector to provide free child care to families.

The funding is being handled directly between the government and the child care sector. We urge you to contact your child care centre and discuss your options with them. You can also re-enrol your child in child care but not attend in order to maintain your place at the centre when we return to normal.

JobKeeper Payment

The JobKeeper payment is paid through your employer and is in lieu of you obtaining the JobSeeker payment through Centrelink.

Your employer will need to register for the payment and we encourage you to discuss this directly with them.

More information about the JobKeeper payment can be found here, in the business information sheet.

Mental Health Support (LifeBoat SE)

LifeBoat SE are a local South East not for profit organisation that aim to manage mental health in the community and break down the stigma by sharing symptoms, resources and tools. They are a crew of mental health lived experience people to have a yarn or “chew the fat” with.

‘Local Mates Supporting Local Mates’

LifeBoat SE are a local South East not for profit organisation that aim to manage mental health in the community and break down the stigma by sharing symptoms, resources and tools. They are a crew of mental health lived experience people to have a yarn or “chew the fat” with.

Zobel understand that you may need more than just financial support to get you through these uncertain times and through our partnership with LifeBoat SE we strongly encourage you to access their resources provided below and get in touch with a mental health expert if you are doing it tough!

If you or someone you know needs mental health counselling please contact Lifeline (13 11 14). If a life is in danger contact 000.

Click here to view the website.
Click here to view their Facebook page.

LifeBoat SE Support Guide

Bluestone Accounting Support

How can Bluestone help…

For Businesses:

  • March BAS Preparation in order to access the boosting cashflow payments – credits will issue from 28th April onwards. Please do not pay your March BAS before checking with us as the credit will reduce the amount.
  • Assistance with variation of the March PAYG Instalments either as an individual or a business
  • Preparation of projected cashflows for your business in order to determine fixed costs moving forward and formulation of strategies to continue trading including assistance in accessing the small business loan amounts
  • Completion of your 2019 returns if applicable as soon as possible in order to access any refunds due
  • Communicate with the ATO in relation to any ATO debts and payment plans required – if you are struggling, we can put the March BAS on a payment plan and the ATO is offering very favourable plans at the moment.

For Individuals:

  • Assistance with variation of the March PAYG Instalments
  • Completion of your 2019 returns if applicable as soon as possible in order to access any refunds due
  • Communicate with the ATO in relation to any ATO debts and payment plans required – if you are struggling, we can put the March BAS on a payment plan and the ATO is offering very favourable plans at the moment.
  • Navigating your way through the stimulus options

Navigating your way through the stimulus options Bluestone Accountants are here to assist you to understand which of the measures are relevant to your circumstances and how they can be applied to help you navigate through these unprecedented times. We understand that you need a trusted adviser now more than ever and we can ensure you that we are here to help so please pick up the phone and give us a call.

Get in contact…
Bluestone Accounts & Business Advisers
(08) 7231 0622
www.bluestoneaccountants.com.au

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