COVID-19 Business Update – 26 August 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.

Victoria’s State of Emergency extended for 18 months

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the State of Emergency will be in place for 18 months and lockdown restrictions will be extended beyond September.

Businesses in Victoria that are struggling can access the state’s Business Support Package. Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Zip Teams Up With eBay For Flexible Credit to Small Businesses

Zip Co Ltd had partnered with eBay to offer flexible credit to small- and medium-sized businesses on the e-commerce platform.

This partnership marked the launch of its ‘Zip Business’ platform, which it will fund through a $100 million debt facility with U.S. private equity firm Victory Park Capital Advisors.

As a small business owner navigating uncertain times, it helps to have access to credit to prevent cashflow troubles. If you need help with cashflow management or assistance in finding sources of funding, feel free to contact us.

JobKeeper extension bill introduced

The JobKeeper Payments Amendment Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives today. Please note: we are still processing these announcements so we appreciate your patience.

This Bill introduces the extension of the JobKeeper scheme that was announced last month.

The proposed rate changes will see the current $1500 per fortnight payment drop to $1200 for full time workers. and $750 for those working less than 20 hours per week from September 28,

From January 2021, the rate will drop again to $1000 per fortnight, and $750 for those working less than 20 hours per week.

Legacy Employers

Employers who no longer qualify for JobKeeper after 28 September will be classified as legacy employers, and will have to satisfy a 10% decline in turnover to have access to modified JobKeeper enabling directions.

Decline in Turnover Test Certificate

Employers will need to obtain a 10% decline in turnover test certificate from an eligible financial service provider, including a BAS or Tax agent.

These modified directions include reducing an employee’s ordinary hours to a minimum of 60% of the employee’s ordinary hours as they were at 1 March 2020, but cannot result in the employee working less than two consecutive hours in a day.

Further details are to come.

JobKeeper Adjustments for Eligible Employees

The ATO has released guidance on the changes to the timing of an eligible employee.

From JobKeeper fortnights commencing 3rd August, the key date for eligible employees has changed to 1 July. In the past, an employee had to be on the books as of the 1st of March in order to be eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy. This change is to allow for businesses that started opening up and taking on new employees after March.

JobKeeper Turnover Test Requirements

From the 28th of September 2020:

  • businesses looking to claim the JobKeeper payment will be required to demonstrate that they experienced a decline in turnover using actual GST turnover, rather than projected GST turnover.
  • businesses will be required to reassess their eligibility with reference to their actual GST turnover in the September 2020 quarter to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021 (the first extension period).

From 4th January 2021:

  • businesses will need to further reassess their turnover to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment. They will need to demonstrate that they suffered a decline with reference to their actual GST turnover in the December 2020 quarter to be eligible for the JobKeeper payment from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 (the second extension period).

The required decline in GST turnover percentages will remain the same:

  • 30% for an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less
  • 50% for an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion
  • 15% for ACNC-registered charities other than universities and schools.

Cashflow Boost and JobKeeper Audits

The ATO has announced that it will be actively conducting audits on the cashflow boost JobKeeper scheme.

If you receive contact from the ATO to review your JobKeeper eligibility, you will be required to provide documentation as proof that you meet the eligibility criteria. This may include:

  • Bank statements
  • Tax invoices
  • Profit & loss statements
  • Employee details and contracts
  • Payslips
  • Application of turnover test
  • Superannuation payments

Meanwhile, if the ATO would like to review your eligibility for the cashflow boost, you will be required to supply the following documentation:

  • Bank statements
  • Employee data and information
  • Payslips
  • Updated Single Touch Payroll Reporting
  • Tax invoices
  • Written communication between stakeholders to substantiate changes in payments

At this point, the ATO has not yet outlined the JobKeeper audit penalties. However, based on other audits, they are expected to be significant. If you have any concerns, please get in touch.

TPAR Reports Lodgement

TPAR (Taxable Payments Annual Report) lodgement is due on the 28th August 2020. The TPAR currently needs to be lodged businesses in the following industries: Building and construction, Cleaning services, Courier services, Road freight services, Information technology services, Security, Investigation or surveillance and/or mixed services (one or more of the services listed).

If you require some guidance, feel free to get in touch with us.

Take Online Payments Safely

The pandemic has significantly changed our lives including the way we shop and make payments. As e-commerce and online payments increasingly gain popularity, it is important for small businesses to adapt.

As a responsible business owner, you must ensure that your customers’ data are protected to gain their trust. This article from Entrepreneur shares some security tips when accepting online payments.

  • Choose a secure eCommerce platform and processor.
  • Educate yourself and your employees.
  • Verify the transaction and more.

Shop Local to Kickstart Economic Recovery

Local small businesses are a vital part of our economy and the communities they represent. While the government is trying its best to protect the economy, there are many ways people can do their part and support local small businesses. Here are ways you can help small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Purchase gift cards from your local stores.
  • Shop online, but keep it local.
  • Order takeaway food and drinks from your local restaurants.
  • Be a little more generous than usual when giving tips.
  • Leave positive reviews online and promote them on social media.
  • Postpone instead of cancelling.
  • Join online classes if local businesses offer this option to follow social restrictions.

The coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges of our times. If you own a small business and are struggling, please get in touch.

Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended

The government is extending its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. If you need help to access these loans or you want to find out if you are eligible, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.

What’s your money-making idea?

If you’re anything like us, you’re always trying to find ways to bring in more money into your business or to identify a profitable niche for a new business that you’re looking to put up. We know that this is easier said than done, so here are some tips that worked for us:

  • Know your passions and think about the pain points surrounding them.
  • Research the potentially profitable problems you’ve identified. Verify if people are willing to pay and how much they are willing to shell out for products or services that solve these.
  • Deep dive into the data and do an analysis of your potential market. By looking at the past and present trends, you’ll gain insights on how the future could look like and how your business can fit in.
  • Learn from your competitors. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but make sure to highlight your point of difference to your market.

Whether you are a new business owner or a relatively experienced one, it is exciting and challenging to come up with new money-making ideas. However, if you need fresh insights for a winning business idea or some guidance in revamping your business plan, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.

Avoiding COVID-19 Online Scams

Recently, there has been a significant increase in COVID-19-related online scams that steal your personal data, impersonate authorities, offer fraudulent medical goods and services, and make fake requests for charitable donations. Below are some tips from Google Safety Center to keep you from falling victim to these scams.

  • Know how scammers may reach you– Aside from emails, they may also use text messages, automated calls, and malicious websites.
  • Check trusted sources directly– Scammers may pose as trusted and authoritative sources. So directly visit reliable sources instead to get the latest factual information.
  • Be cautious of requests for personal or financial information, pause and evaluate before sharing– Do not provide confidential information such as logins, bank details, and addresses to suspicious or unverified sources. Donate directly through non-profits.
  • Double-check links and email addresses before clicking– Fake links imitate established websites by adding extra random letters and numbers or words, so be extra careful and check before you click.
  • Search to see if it’s been reported– Copy and paste the email address, phone number, or suspicious portion of the message on your search engine to check if it has already been reported.
  • Add an extra layer of security to your account– Add two-factor authentications to your accounts for extra protection online.

If you encounter phishing pages, you can report it here. For malicious software, you can report the site here.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.

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