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Australia: Federal and state governments provide further relief (COVID-19)

Australia: Federal and state governments provide relief

The federal and state governments announced various measures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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  • JobKeeper alternative decline in turnover tests – The Commissioner of Taxation registered a legislative instrument that would give certain entities or classes of entities an alternative basis on which they may satisfy the actual decline in turnover test to be eligible for JobKeeper payments. The rules would allow entities in certain classes to be eligible to receive assistance through JobKeeper payments when their particular circumstances are not specifically accounted for in the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020.

  • Insolvency reforms for small business – Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stated that the federal government would undertake reforms to Australia’s insolvency framework as part of its COVID-19 economic recovery plan. The proposed reforms reportedly would draw on key features from Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code of the United States to assist more small businesses to restructure.

  • NSW government extends support for commercial tenants, landlords – The New South Wales (NSW) government announced it will be extending its support measures for commercial tenants and landlords until 31 December 2020. Under the extension, landlords will receive up to a 25% land tax concession when they provide rent relief to commercial and residential tenants in financial distress from October to December 2020.

  • WA government extends payroll tax exemption for JobKeeper payments – The Western Australian (WA) government stated that it will extend the payroll tax exemption for the JobKeeper payment until 28 March 2021. This means that WA businesses will be exempt from payroll tax on JobKeeper wage subsidies paid from 28 September 2020 to 28 March 2021. More information can be found on the WA Government website.

  • ATO update, JobKeeper extension step-by-step factsheet – The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) published a JobKeeper extension ‘step-by-step’ factsheet for businesses and not-for-profits. The federal government has extended the JobKeeper payment until 28 March 2021, with two extension periods, each with two payment rates.

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