Sky Update – July 2021

In this Sky Update, we bring you all the latest tax news along with some other items that may pique your interest.

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COVID-19 FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

With multiple states in lockdown in recent times, households and businesses are anxious to know what government support they may be able to access.

With much of the support being administered by state governments, it is a complex landscape.  As such, we have sought to provide a summary so that you can more easily identify what assistance you or your business may be eligible for.

Federal Assistance

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a lump sum payment administered by Services Australia for workers who are unable to earn income due to a COVID-19 state public health order.

Applications are currently open for residents of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.

New South Wales Assistance

Service NSW is currently administering a number of programs to assist businesses affected by the extended lockdowns.  The most notable programs are:

Victorian Assistance

Recipients of the last round of the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two and the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 will automatically qualify and receive the July 2021 Top-Up Payment.

Additionally, it was noted in the Premier’s Press Release that businesses who did not previously apply, or who did not previously qualify will have an opportunity to apply for the latest grants.  At present, we are awaiting detail on how these businesses can apply.

South Australia

A COVID-19 Business Support Grant – July 2021 has been announced with applications closing on the 30th of September.

Western Australia

The Western Australian government has announced another round of Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grants for those businesses affected by the June lockdown.

If you have been affected by COVID-19 restrictions and need assistance to identify what financial support you may be entitled to, please get in touch.

EXPORT MARKET DEVELOPMENT GRANTS (EMDG)

The EMDG is a long running program aimed at helping Australian business to expand their export markets.

Under the scheme, businesses can be reimbursed 50% of their eligible expenditure up to $150,000.

Applications for the 2020/21 financial year are now open and must be submitted by the 30th of November 2021.

Businesses that have incurred costs to develop export markets are encouraged to investigate whether they can participate in the EMDG scheme. 

Similarly, businesses looking to expand their export markets are encouraged to look at how the EMDG scheme may be able to assist them in future.

STANDING DOWN EMPLOYEES

Businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions may have, or be contemplating standing down staff who are unable to work.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has published guidance for employers to identify if they can lawfully stand down employees.  This includes a useful checklist and a template letter.

Businesses that have stood down staff or who are considering doing so, should take care to ensure that the legal requirements are met, that the correct process is followed and that the correct documentation is in place.

If you need assistance to understand your rights and obligations as an employer, please get in touch.

SUPERANNUATION CHANGES

A reminder that from the 1st of July the minimum superannuation contributions for employees has increased from 9.5% to 10.0%.  Employers should ensure that their payroll systems have been updated to reflect this.

Additionally, those who are salary sacrificing superannuation to the maximum cap should ensure that their arrangements have been updated for the increase in that cap from $25,000 to $27,500 from the 1st of July.

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

With the havoc caused by the Delta variant, the urgency to rollout vaccinations throughout the Australian population has increased.

This has lead to employers increasingly asking the question about whether they can compel employees to get vaccinated.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has recently published updated guidance on this question.

This guidance reflects the National Cabinet mandate that residential aged care workers must receive at least the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by mid-September.

This is one of a very limited number of circumstances where employees can be compelled to be vaccinated.

In the vast majority of cases, employers will not have the right to require employees to be vaccinated and seeking to impose such a requirement could be a serious breach of workplace laws and/or anti-discrimination laws.

Employers who are concerned about the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in their workplaces should seek legal advice before mandating vaccination.

Whilst vaccination will continue to be optional for most, we note that employers do have the right to institute COVID-19 safe procedures in their businesses to minimise the risk of COVID-19 entering a workplace.

Information on how to maintain a COVID-19 safe workplace can be obtained from Safe Work Australia.

TAX TIME 2021

We are now full-swing into tax time and have processed a significant volume of 2021 income tax returns.

With lockdowns impacting on our ability to work from our offices and to have face to face appointments, we are working very hard to maintain our usual service standards.

However, given the circumstances some returns are taking a little longer than usual to process. 

We thank all of our clients for their patience during these challenging times and hope to be able to see some more of you in person very soon.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

The ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is weighing heavily upon us all at present.

And with the more virulent Delta strain on the loose, we are having to re-adjust our expectations for the “path out”.

Nelson Mandela once said that “the greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”. 

There is no question that we have suffered a significant set-back.  But let’s take stock of Mr Mandela’s words and show our collective determination to get through this.

 

Sky Accountants Ballarat

Phone: 1300 328 855
Office Address: 902 Howitt Street, Wendouree, Victoria 3355, Australia
Postal Address: PO Box 2234, Bakery Hill, Victoria 3354

Sky Accountants Gisborne & Macedon Ranges

Phone: 03 97444522
Office Address: 45 Hamilton Street, Gisborne, Victoria 3437, Australia
Postal Address: PO Box 270 Gisborne Victoria 3437

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