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Spry Roughley Articles


As part of the package, the Government will provide full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with payroll of less than $3 million – giving $550 million back to businesses who need it.

Payments will start flowing next week and will save eligible business up to $113,975 a year, with businesses saving an average of $23,000. These businesses employ around 400,000 workers. This assistance is a refund, not a loan.

The same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021, freeing up a further $83 million in cashflow.


The ACT Government has announced an economic survival package, including a plan for payroll tax relief for small and medium businesses.

There will be a 6-months waiver on payroll tax for the hospitality, creative arts and entertainment industries. There will also be access to interest-free deferrals of payroll tax commencing 1 July 2020 for all businesses up to a payroll threshold of $10m in Australian taxable wages. The current threshold for the exemption from payroll tax will remain at $2m. In order to facilitate the program, a business liaison team will assist local business with these measures.

The government will announce further packages as ACT progresses to different phases of the crisis.


The TAS Government has announced a $420m support package to support the public sector, businesses and the workforce. This package includes a payroll tax relief component.  Read more…

New South Wales

The NSW Government has announced the waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10m, for the remainder of the 2019/20 year. Such businesses will have their annual tax liability reduced by 25% when they lodge their annual reconciliation, which is due on 28 July.

Also, the payroll tax threshold will be raised to $1m in 2020/21, thereby bringing forward another round of payroll tax cuts for eligible businesses.

As part of its support package, additional measures include waiving of fees and charges for small businesses, employment of additional cleaners of public infrastructure, and bringing forward maintenance of public assets and capital works.


The QLD Government will offer $500m in loans, and extend payroll tax deferral to all affected businesses.

The $500m concessional loan facility will comprise of loans up to $250,000 with an initial 12-month interest free period.

Judging from the popularity of its initial payroll tax deferral available to small and medium businesses, the QLD Government will extend the offer of a six-month payroll tax deferral to all affected QLD businesses.

Western Australia

The WA Government has released a business and household economic response package to provide relief from the impact of COVID-19, including relief around payroll tax.

Businesses paying payroll tax, with a payroll between $1m and $4m will receive a one-off grant of $17,500.

In addition, the increase of the payroll tax threshold to $1m will be fast-tracked to 1 July 2020, six months before the originally planned date. This means smaller businesses will potentially be able to fall out of the payroll tax regime sooner than before.

Small and medium-sized businesses, who pay $7.5m or less in Australian taxable wages and have been affected by COVID-19, can apply for a deferral of their 2019/20 payroll tax payment until 21 July 2020.

Bankruptcy safety net

A temporary 6 month increase to the threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor will increase from $5,000 to $20,000. In addition, the time a debtor has to respond to a bankruptcy notice will be temporarily increased from 21 days to six months.  Read more…

Temporary reduction in minimum superannuation draw down rates

Superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products will be reduced by 50% in 2019-20 and 2020-21.  Read more…

Early release of superannuation

From mid-April, individuals in financial distress will be able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20, and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. The withdrawals will be tax free and will not affect Centrelink or Veterans' Affairs payments.  Read more…

Temporary relief from Corporations Act requirements

The Treasurer has been given a temporary instrument-making power to amend the Corporations Act to provide relief or modifications to specific compliance obligations.

ASIC has announced measures for those companies with a 31 December financial year that need to hold their AGMs by 31 May 2020, providing a two month no action period and enabling hybrid virtual AGMs.

Sole traders and self-employed eligible for Jobseeker payment

The eligibility criteria to access income support payments will be relaxed to enable the self-employed and sole traders whose income has been reduced, to access support.


Access to working capital for SMEs – supporting lenders

The Government has announced a Coronavirus SME guarantee scheme

that will guarantee 50% of new loans to SMEs up to $20 billion. These loans are new short-term unsecured loans to SMEs.  Read more…

Solvency safety net

A safety net has been put in place to protect businesses in temporary financial distress as a result of the pandemic by lessening the threat of actions that could unnecessarily push them into insolvency and force the winding up of the business. These include:
  • A temporary 6 month increase to the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company from $2,000 to $20,000.
  • The time a company has to respond to statutory demands will increase from 21 days to 6 months. 
  • For 6 months, directors will be provided with temporary relief from personal liability for trading while insolvent.  Read more…

Tax-free payments up to $100,000 for employers

  • From: 28 April 2020
  • Eligibility: Small and medium business entity employers and not-for-profit entities, with an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million.  Read more…

Targeted Support for Severely Affected Sectors Regions and Communities

$1 billion has been committed to support sectors, regions and communities disproportionately affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus. Tourism, agriculture and education are specifically mentioned.  Read more…

Stimulus Package - Household Stimulus Payments to Drive Cash into the Economy

Tax-free $750 payment to social welfare recipients 

A one-off, $750 cash payment will be made to pensioners, social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. Payments will be from 31 March 2020 on a progressive basis, 90% are expected to be made by mid-April.  Read more…

Stimulus Package - Cash Flow Assistance for Small and Medium Sized Business

Tax-free payments up to $25,000 for employers

Tax-free cash flow support between $2,000 and $25,000 will be available to eligible businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020.   Read more…

Stimulus Package - Business Investment

Increase and extension of the instant asset write-off 

From 12 March 2020, the instant asset write-off threshold will increase from $30,000 to $150,000, and access to the write-off will be expanded to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million until 30 June 2020.  Read more…

Super guarantee loophole closed

A superannuation guarantee loophole that allowed employers to use salary sacrificed contributions to make up part of their required super guarantee contributions has been closed. From 1 January 2020, employers must make the full amount of mandatory super guarantee contributions and cannot use salary-sacrificed amounts to reduce those mandatory contributions. Depending on the types of employment agreements between employees and employers, this could mean more money for employees' retirement.  Read more…

ATO tackling international tax evasion

Australian tax residents are taxed in Australia on their worldwide income. While most do the right thing and declare all their income, some try to avoid paying tax by exploiting secrecy provisions and the lack of information-sharing between countries. As the world becomes more interconnected and barriers are broken down, it is inevitable that there are fewer places for the unscrupulous to hide from tax.  Read more…

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