COVID-19 Business Update – 3 March 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Government Committed to Vaccinating All Australians by October

Although the vaccinations are currently behind the target set for the end of February, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says the government stays committed to getting all Australians inoculated by the end of October.

The Australian Defence Force will also assist with the vaccine rollout. Military doctors and nurses will help administer the vaccine in aged care homes starting next week.

Second Phase of Public Information Campaign on COVID-19 Vaccination Has Launched

With the vaccination program underway, the next phase of the $31 million information campaign has launched.

The initial round of advertising campaign rolled out in January focused on informing the public regarding the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s world-leading independent approval process. Meanwhile, this second phase informs the community about Phase 1a of the vaccination program where high risk individuals were prioritised.

The campaign will run across multiple channels including television, radio, press, digital, social, mobile, search, as well as in medical and shopping centres.

Property Prices Rose at Fastest Pace in 17 Years

Australia’s property prices increased by 2.1% in February, marking the strongest national growth in 17 years according to CoreLogic. This comes after every market rebounds simultaneously amid the record-low interest rates and a ‘fear of missing out’.

JobKeeper ends soon: here’s what to do if you’re worried about your business

If your business is struggling with cashflow or other issues at the moment, it’s time to have a chat. It’s a good time to take stock and think about your business more broadly. It’s likely that any underlying issues have been compounded by the COVID-19 crisis, magnifying and accelerating the impact of these issues.

If you are worried about how your business will make ends meet without JobKeeper, you should speak with your advisor to find out your options. It’s crucial to be proactive and act early if you feel you will be in financial distress. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you weather this storm. We’ll make sure you have a solid understanding of your business’ current financial position so you can make informed decisions.

JobSeeker Rate Increases by $50 a Fortnight

The JobSeeker rate will increase by $50 a fortnight from April 1 after the government scraps its coronavirus supplement.

Currently, those eligible with no children are paid $715.70 a fortnight– of this, $565.70 consists of the JobSeeker payment and $150 accounts for the coronavirus supplement.

When the coronavirus supplement ends on 31 March 2021, the new JobSeeker rate will be brought to $620.80 a fortnight, equating to $310.40 a week, or just over $44 a day.

$143 Million Cash Boost For Victorian Businesses

The Circuit Breaker Support Package worth a total of $143 million will be given to businesses in events, tourism, hospitality, and accommodation to help return revenue lost over the five-day lockdown.

The travel voucher scheme has also been expanded to offer 40,000 $200 vouchers for travel in greater Melbourne, along with an additional 10,000 for travel in regional Victoria.

Beware of Scammers Impersonating the ATO

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is warning about a new batch of scammers impersonating the ATO who are claiming they’ve suspended their target’s tax file number (TFN) following suspected fraudulent activity.

While the number of people falling victim to this scam is low, the large amounts being lost per person is alarming, according to Assistant Commissioner Trent Jakubowski.

So remember, the ATO does call taxpayers but will never:

  • send unsolicited pre-recorded phone messages
  • use aggressive or rude behaviour, or threaten you with immediate arrest, jail or deportation
  • suspend your TFN
  • request direct transfers of money to a personal bank account
  • project their number onto your caller ID

If you receive a suspicious call, email, or SMS, report it to ato.gov.au/reportascam or call the ATO’s dedicated scam line 1800 008 540 to check if it was legitimate.

Upcoming Key Dates

Upcoming key lodgement and payment dates for businesses:

21 March

  • February monthly activity statements – final date for lodgement and payment.

31 March

  • Lodge tax return for companies and super funds with total income of more than $2 million in the latest year lodged (excluding large/medium taxpayers), unless the return was due earlier. Payment is also due by this date.
  • Lodge tax return for the head company of a consolidated group (excluding large/medium), with a member who had a total income in excess of $2 million in their latest year lodged, unless the return was due earlier. Payment is also due by this date.
  • Lodge tax return for individuals and trusts whose latest return resulted in a tax liability of $20,000 or more, excluding large/medium trusts. Payment is due as advised on their notice of assessment.

Contact us if you have any questions.

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.

Digital Payment Options Worth Considering

Digital payment methods are increasingly becoming relevant amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from the safety of contactless transactions, digital payments are undoubtedly more convenient.

Below are some payment methods that you can adopt for your small business:

  • PayPal– One of the most popular platforms for online payment, PayPal supports sending and receiving invoices and recurring transactions. It also offers PayPal Here credit card reader that you can install in your physical store.
  • Payoneer– A digital wallet that supports over 150 currencies, Payoneer is ideal for global transactions because of its low transaction fees and competitive conversion rates.
  • Google Pay– Google Pay is a platform that supports peer-to-peer transactions through mobile and offers an easy checkout process for online shopping. It is available in both iOS and Android, and can also be used via Gmail.
  • Shopify– It covers everything from ecommerce to secure mobile payments and POS systems. Shopify supports Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Apple Pay, Android Pay, and other popular payment methods.
  • Square– Square is an affordable option perfect for small businesses and startups. You can use it to set up an online store free of charge and sell from there. You can also use it as a store window and redirect customers to your own site. Aside from allowing payments through its mobile app, Square also offers credit card readers for in-person payments.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.

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