The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) issued a special edition Business Bulletin yesterday, 16 March 2020, which contains information about how the ATO can support your business during the COVID-19 crisis.
How the ATO can assist
The ATO will implement a series of administrative measures to assist Australians experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The options available to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19 include:
- deferring by up to four months the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise;
- allowing 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 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; and
- working with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low interest payment plans.
Outside of business, the ATO will also work with individuals experiencing financial hardship, and their tax agents, and will apply appropriate tax relief measures for serious and exceptional circumstances, such as where people cannot pay for food or accommodation.
The ATO acknowledges that this is a time of significant uncertainty and has undertaken to be flexible in its approach to assisting taxpayers.
Employers’ ongoing obligations
Employers will still need to meet their ongoing super guarantee obligations for their employees.
Applying for relief
Unlike the bushfire relief measures, which applied automatically to particular geographic areas, assistance measures for those impacted by COVID-19 will not be automatically implemented. Businesses impacted by the corona virus are encouraged to get in touch with the ATO to discuss relief options on its Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218.
How LT can assist
We encourage you to review your situation and, if you think you are eligible, please contact our office so that we can apply for relief on your behalf and work with the ATO to tailor a support plan for your needs and circumstances.
The ATO’s ongoing support
The ATO has said that it will continue to work with the tax profession, other government agencies and local organisations to make sure other impacted communities are also supported during this time. It will ensure its services are tailored to the needs of the community and will work with taxpayers and their tax agents to tailor support to their individual circumstances.
Contact the LT team to discuss your tax and business planning throughout this challenging period.