Weekly Digest – 26 August 2020

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

Daniel Andrew’s plan to extend State of Emergency to 18 months

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has asked Parliament to give his government the power to extend the State of Emergency powers for a further 12 months making it a total of 18 months.  The state of emergency is due to expire September 13 unless it is extended.

Some crossbenchers have indicated they will support a shorter extension if Parliament sits more frequently and the opposition is also considering extensions every four weeks.

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

JobKeeper extension bill introduced in Parliament today.

Jk Update Image

The JobKeeper Payments Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced in the House of Representatives today.

The bill introduces the extension of the JobKeeper scheme pushing the date of the wage subsidy to 28 March 2021.

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 4, 2021, the rate will drop again to $1000 per fortnight, and $650 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

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

The modified directions include the reduction of 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.

Furthermore, employers will retain access to the full range of flexibility measures under Part 6-4C of the act which will allow employers to give enabling direction to duties and location of work and may reach agreements with their employee with regards to the days and times they can work.

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 have been employed as of the 1st of March in order to be eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy. This change is to allow for new businesses that started operations as well as take on new employees after March.

JobKeeper Turnover Test Requirements

From the 28th of September 2020:

  • businesses and not-for-profits will have to meet a further decline in turnover test for each of the two periods of extension.  The first period being 28 September to 3 January 2021 meeting the other existing eligibility requirements for the JobKeeper Payment.
  • businesses and not-for-profits 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:

  • for the second period businesses and not-for-profits will need to further reassess their turnover to be eligible for the second extension period of the JobKeeper Payment. Again, 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 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

Cashflow

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

If you are contacted by the ATO to review your JobKeeper eligibility, you will be required to provide documentation as proof that you met 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 wishes 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 reach out to us.

TPAR Reports Lodgements due 28th August 2020

TPAR (Taxable Payments Annual Report) lodgement is due on the 28th August 2020. The industries that are required to lodge TPAR include:

  • 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 impacted 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 is protected to gain their trust. vThis article from Entrepreneur shares some security tips when accepting online payments.

  • Choose a secure e-Commerce platform and processor.
  • Educate both 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 to 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 as well as some of our clients:

  • 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 invest in products or services that solve these.
  • Deep dive into the data and do an analysis of your potential market. Look at the past and present trends, you’ll gain insights on how the future could look and how your business can fit in.
  • Learn from your competitors. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, 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

Scam Alert

There is a rise in COVID-19 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 Centre 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.

Victorians Hang In there

A special shout out of support to our fellow Victorians, it has certainly been a testing time navigating stage 4 lockdown and restrictions.  Just remember we are all in it together and it is important to stay connected with as many people as possible.  Take some time in your day to reach out to others in your network to check in if they are ok.  We are all thinking of you and send positive vibes.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.  We are here to support businesses big or small.