Extending and adjusting the Coronavirus supplement

The Government is extending the payment period of its temporary Coronavirus Supplement from 25 September 2020 to 31 December 2020. The amount of the Coronavirus Supplement will be adjusted for this period to reflect the gradually improving economic conditions.

JobSeeker payment

The Government will continue to pay the Coronavirus Supplement to eligible income support recipients until 31 December 2020.

  • The Coronavirus Supplement will continue to be $550 per fortnight for payments up to and including the reporting period ending 24 September 2020.
  • From 25 September 2020 to 31 December 2020, the Supplement amount will be $250 per fortnight.

This supplement is paid in addition to the actual JobSeeker Payment.

Existing JobSeeker Payment recipients and new JobSeeker Payment recipients will be eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement up until 31 December 2020. The Government has not indicated whether it can extend this supplement beyond this date.

Eligibility criteria for the Coronavirus Supplement remains the same.

Changes to the JobKeeper Payment may make recipients of that payment eligible for the JobSeeker Payment.

Adjustments to the JobSeeker Payment income test – 25 September to 31 December

Personal Income test

The income free area for JobSeeker Payment recipients will increase from $106 per fortnight to $300 per fortnight. This means recipients may receive income up to $300 per fortnight without any reduction in JobSeeker Payment.

Under the income test, every dollar received over $300 per fortnight will reduce JobSeeker Payment by 60 cents. Currently the JobSeeker Payment is reduced by 50 cents for every dollar received between $106 and $250 per fortnight and by 60 cents thereafter.

This income test is applied to the JobSeeker Payment only. If you are eligible for any JobSeeker Payment, you will get the full Coronavirus Supplement.

Partner Income Test

The reduction rate under the Partner Income Test will increase from 25 cents to 27 cents. Partners of JobSeeker Payment recipients may receive up to $3,086.11 per fortnight or $80,238.89 per annum before the JobSeeker Payment cuts out. Note, this assumes the JobSeeker Payment recipient has personal income below the income free area.

Asset Test and Liquid Asset Waiting Period to apply from 25 September 2020

The Asset Test will apply from 25 September 2020. For example, single homeowners with assessable assets of $268,000 or more will not be eligible for JobSeeker Payment. Partnered homeowners may have up to $401,500 in combined assessable assets.

The Liquid Asset Waiting Period (LAWP) of up to 13 weeks will be reinstated and the Income Maintenance Period (IMP) will continue.

The Ordinary Waiting Period, Newly Arrived Resident's Waiting Period (NARWP) and the Seasonal Work Preclusion Period will continue to be waived until 31 December 2020.

Instant asset write-off thresholds for small businesses extended until 31 December 2020

Small businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million may be eligible for an increased instant asset write-off on assets of up to the value of $150,000 from 12 March 2020 until 31 December 2020. The measure was set to finish on 30 June 2020, but the Government passed legislation to extend the measure until 31 December 2020.

The measure applies to new or second-hand assets first used, or installed ready for use, between 12 March 2020 until 31 December 2020 (inclusive). The threshold applies on a per asset basis, so eligible businesses can immediately write-off multiple assets.

The Government has also introduced a time limited 15-month acceleration of depreciation deductions for businesses with aggregated turnover below $500 million. Legislation to support this measure has already passed.

The deduction of 50% of the cost of an eligible assets on installation will be allowed, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset's cost. Eligible assets are new assets acquired from 12 March 2020 and first used or installed by 30 June 2021. Second-hand assets, or buildings and other capital works are not eligible assets.

How can we help?

If you have any questions or would like further clarification in regards to any of the above initiatives, please feel free to contact us on 1300 885 761.

Extension of the JobKeeper Payment

The JobKeeper payment has now extended to be available to eligible business and not-for-profits until 28 March 2021, but the payment rate will be reduced from 28 September 2020, including additional turn over tests.

Changes to payment rate:

From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, the JobKeeper Payment rates will be:

  • The payment rate of $1,500 per fortnight will be reduced to $1,200 per fortnight from 28 September 2020 for all eligible employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working for 20 hours or more a week on average, and for business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average in the month of February 2020; and
  • $750 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants who, were working less than 20 hours a week.

From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, the JobKeeper Payment rates will be:

  • The payment rate of $1,200 per fortnight will be reduced to $1,000 per fortnight from 4 January 2021 for all eligible employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working for 20 hours or more a week on average, and for business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average in the month of February 2020; and
  • $650 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants who, were working less than 20 hours a week.

Additional turnover tests

In order to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment after 27 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits will have to meet a further decline in turnover test for each of the two periods extension, as well as meeting the other existing eligibility requirements for the JobKeeper Payment.

In order to be eligible for the first JobKeeper Payment extension period of 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has significantly fallen in the both the June quarter 2020 (April, May and June) and the September quarter 2020 (July, August, September) relative to comparable periods (generally the corresponding quarters in 2019).

In order to be eligible for the second JobKeeper Payment extension period of 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will again need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has significantly fallen in each of the June, September and December 2020 quarters relative to comparable periods (generally the corresponding quarters in 2019).

Businesses will generally be able to assess eligibility based on details reported in the Business Activity Statement (BAS). Alternative arrangements will be put in place for businesses that are not required to lodge a BAS (for example, if the entity is a member of a GST group). As the deadline to lodge a BAS for the September quarter or month is in late October, and the December quarter (or month) BAS deadline is in late January for monthly lodgers or late February for quarterly lodgers, businesses will need to assess their eligibility for JobKeeper in advance of the BAS deadline in order to meet the wage condition (which requires them to pay their eligible employees in advance of receiving the JobKeeper payment in arrears from the ATO). The Commissioner of Taxation will have discretion to extend the time an entity has to pay employees in order to meet the wage condition, so that entities have time to first confirm their eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment.

If a business or not-for-profit does not meet the additional turnover tests for the extension period, this does not affect their eligibility prior to 28 September 2020.

The JobKeeper Payment will continue to remain open to new recipients, provided they meet the existing eligibility requirements and the additional turnover tests during the extension period.

Other eligibility rules for businesses and not-for-profits and their employees remain unchanged.

Further information for the above changes is at https://www.ato.gov.au/general/jobkeeper-payment/

How can we help?

If you have any questions or would like further clarification in regards to the extension of JobKeeper payment, please feel free to contact us on 1300 885 761.

All employers are now required to pay and report super guarantee payments electronically to ensure they meet SuperStream requirements. With the introduction of SuperStream it is now easier for the ATO to monitor your payments to ensure they have all been paid on time.

Super guarantee payments must be made by employers to their employees' complying funds by quarterly due dates, which are 28 days after the end of each quarter.

The due dates for each quarter are as follows:  

Quarter

Period

Payment due date

1

1 July – 30 September

28 October

2

1 October – 31 December

28 January

3

1 January – 31 March

28 April

4

1 April – 30 June

28 July

 

When a due date falls on a weekend or public holiday, you can make the payment on the next working day.

If you miss the due date your payment will NOT be tax deductible.

Please note the above due dates in your calendar and ensure all superannuation guarantee payments are made on or before these dates. 

Next date for payment:

Period: 1 April 2020 – 30 June 2020

Payment due date: 28 July 2020

 

If you would like any further information or assistance with complying with your super guarantee obligations please contact us on 1300 885 761.

Home office expenses 2020

As part of its COVID-19 economic response, the ATO has recently released a new simplified (optional) short cut method to claim deductions for additional running expenses incurred by employees and business owners who are genuinely carrying out employment duties or running their business from home, during the period from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 due to Covid-19.

Under the ATO's new temporary shortcut method, the ATO will allow individuals in these situations to claim a deduction for all running expenses incurred during the period 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, based on a rate of 80 cents for each hour. The hourly rate covers all additional running expenses, namely:

  • electricity (lighting, cooling/heating and electronic items used for work, for example a computer) and gas (heating) expenses;
  • the decline in value and repair of capital items such as home office furniture and furnishings;
  • cleaning expenses;
  • phone expenses including the decline in value of a phone handset;
  • internet expenses;
  • computer consumables;
  • stationery; and
  • the decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device.

Importantly, there is no requirement to have a separate or dedicated area at home set aside for working (e.g., a private study), for the purposes of using the 80 cents per hour method.

The 80 cents per hour method is an optional and alternative method to claiming additional running expenses under the existing claim methods (refer below) and will only require minimal records to be kept (i.e., a record of the number of hours worked from home during this period).

Note that individuals still have the option of claiming their additional running expenses using the following existing claim methods, even during the period 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020:

  • the '52 cents per hour method' (which only covers heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning an depreciation of office furniture); and/or
  • the 'actual method' – which involves analysing separate running costs associated with working from home and claiming the work-related portion of such costs.

Generally, expenses associated with a taxpayer's home are private in nature and do not qualify for a deduction. However, where part of a taxpayer's home is used for genuine work related activities or for business purposes, the deductions may be available for the following two categories of expenses:

  • A portion of occupancy expenses (e.g., mortgage interest, rent, council rates and building insurance), but only where a taxpayer's home has the character of a 'place of business'.
  • Additional running expenses (e.g., electricity, gas, cleaning and depreciation of office furniture and equipment), whether or not a taxpayer's home qualifies as a 'place of business'.

A deduction can only be claimed by a taxpayer in these circumstances for expenses associated with their home, where the relevant expense:

  • has been incurred by the taxpayer (and not paid for by a third party – e.g., an employer);
  • has a sufficient connection with the taxpayer's income-earning activities; and
  • can be substantiated or verified (e.g., by providing written evidence of the expense and a record of the hours worked at home to verify the deduction portion of the expense).

If you would like any further information or assistance in regards to Home Office Expenses, please feel free to contact us on 1300 885 761.

 

New Financial Year Resolutions

Like New Years, the end of the financial year is time to reflect on the past year and take stock.

Here are some tips and areas to focus on to help your business grow and achieve your financial goals:

1. GET YOUR ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE UP TO DATE

If you're using traditional desktop accounting software or Excel spreadsheets, think about the benefits of moving to cloud accounting. Cloud accounting makes it easy to access your business accounts from anywhere, at any time. Cloud or online accounting is secure, with powerful encryption and remote backups so there's less chance of your vital business information being lost or stolen.

To help determine which accounting software program is right for you, please download our free app and complete our cloud accounting survey and we will contact you to discuss the results.

Download the app from Google Play store here.

Download the app from the apple store for iPhones here.

2. REVIEW YOUR SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES

As a business matures and evolves, owners often forget to look at their systems and processes, such as invoicing or payroll. Whilst it can be a tedious task to review or implement a new way of doing things, the long-term benefits can save you time and money.

3. STAY UP TO DATE WITH LODGEMENT DEADLINES

Make sure you are aware of your lodgement and tax payment deadlines. Set up your calendar with appropriate alerts and reminders for the coming year. Contact us if you are unsure of your deadlines.

Our free app includes a calendar function to assist with keeping up with deadlines.

4. CHANGES TO SUPER

The new financial year is a perfect time to consider your nest egg. A good place to start is to consider making concessional (tax deductible) contributions into your superannuation fund. Before you make a contributions please give us a call to ensure you are making the most of your contributions. 

5. REVIEW YOUR INSURANCE

Make sure your insurance is appropriate for your circumstances. Over time your needs change; those with young families may require higher cover compared to those who are nearing retirement.

If you would like to review your current arrangements, feel free to get in touch with our insurance specialist, Angus Stephen on 1300 885 761 or email at astephen@dawson.com.au for an initial no obligation discussion. 

6. UPDATE YOUR WILL  

Your will is like a car. It needs regular maintenance to stay in good working order. Life and circumstances change over time, and your will should reflect those changes. If it has been 2 or more years since you last reviewed your will, take the time to consider whether it is still appropriate for your wishes.

FOLLOWING THROUGH ON YOUR FINANCIAL RESOLUTIONS

We look forward to working with you in the coming year to help you achieve your new financial year resolutions.

If you would like more information or assistance with your new financial year resolutions, contact us on 1800 885 761.

Happy New Year!

 

HomeBuilder Program

The HomeBuilder program has been announced to help drive economic activity across the residential construction sector by providing grants of $25,000 to eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home. It is a time-limited grant program where the contract is signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020. Construction must commence within 3 months of the contract date.

The HomeBuilder program will be non-taxable consistent with existing support measures, such as state-based first home-owner grants and stamp duty concessions. It is also accessible in conjunction with the First Home Owner Super Saver Scheme and First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. You don't need to be a first home owner to apply for the grant, so if you're not eligible to participate in any existing schemes, this program might provide you with support.

Eligibility

To access HomeBuilder, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

 

Eligibility criteria

Age and citizenship

·You must be an Australian citizen

·You need to be aged 18 years or older

Individual income caps

Your income must be below one of the two caps below:

·$125,000 per annum for an individual applicant based on your latest tax return (either 2018/19 or 2019/20), or

·$200,000 per annum for a couple based on both individual's latest tax returns (either 2018/19 or 2019/20)

Date of
contract and construction

·The building contract must be entered into between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020

·Construction must commence within three months of the contract date

Grant to build
a new home – requirements

·The new home must be occupied as a principal place of residence

·The completed value of the new build (land and property) cannot exceed $750,000

·This criteria applies where vacant land is purchased either before or after 4 June 2020, with a contract to build entered into after this date

Grant for substantial renovations – requirements

·Substantial renovations to an existing principal place of residence must have a commercial contract price between $150,000 and $750,000

·Renovations include where a property (house and land) is already owned and a knock down rebuild is completed (where the new build cost is capped at $750,000)

·Pre-renovation value of the property must not exceed $1.5 million

·Renovations must improve accessibility, safety or liveability and cannot include additions such as swimming pools, spas, sheds or stand-alone garages

  

Eligibility criteria

Use of property

·The home must be used as your primary place of residence

·The new or renovated dwelling cannot be intended for use as an investment property

Companies, trusts and owner-builders

·Not available to companies or trusts, including SMSFs

·Not available to owner-builders

Evidence required

You'll be asked to provide:

·proof of identity

·a copy of a signed and dated contract

·a copy of your builder's registration or licence

·a copy of your latest tax return (either 2018/19 or 2019/20), and

·other documents such as Council approval, contracts, occupation certificates and valuations

Other

·All contracts and agreements must be entered into at arm's length, which means conditions such as the price and scope of works must be commercial, rather than favourable because of your relationship with another party involved

·All building and renovation work must be carried out by a registered or licenced contractor and named as a builder on the building licence or permit

·Unlike some other Commonwealth and State-based schemes, there is no
requirement that you need to be a first home buyer

 

Process and timing

Information on when and how you will be able to access HomeBuilder will become available through the relevant State or Territory revenue office below:

Location

Website

NSW

revenue.nsw.gov.au

VIC

sro.vic.gov.au

TAS

sro.tas.gov.au

WA

finance.wa.gov.au

SA

revenue.sa.gov.au

NT

treasury.nt.gov.au

 

How we can help?

If you would like any further information or assistance with HomeBuilder Grant, please feel free to contact us on 1300 885 761.