Important NSW business support payments update

Categories: ATO, COVID-19, GeneralPublished On: August 10th, 2021434 words

Service NSW has provided some additional guidance on key aspects of the NSW business support payments and it seems like some of the eligibility conditions have been updated as well.

Decline in turnover flexibility
Firstly, some additional flexibility is being provided when it comes to passing the decline in turnover test to access the NSW COVID-19 business grant, JobSaver and the micro-business grant. Updated guidance on the Service NSW website indicates that businesses and non-profit entities can pass this test if they can show a decline in turnover of at least 30% due to the Public Health Order over a minimum 2-week period within the relevant test period compared to:
•    The same period in 2019;
•    The same period in 2020; or
•    The 2-week period immediately before the start of the relevant test period.
The test period depends on which payment you are looking at:
•    COVID-19 business grant: 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 (this is changed to 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 for entities on the NSW border with Victoria);
•    JobSaver and the micro-business grant: 26 June 2021 until the Greater Sydney lockdown ends.
This additional flexibility will be particularly helpful for entities that have commenced business activities since the comparison period in 2019 and for entities that have undertaken an acquisition, disposal or restructure.

Current GST turnover concept 
The concept of ‘current GST turnover’ should be used when applying the decline in turnover test. This means that proceeds from the sale of capital assets should be included in the calculation. Also, Service NSW states that modifications made to the concept of ‘current GST turnover’ for the purposes of JobKeeper apply for the purpose of these payments too (as far as they are relevant).

See the ATO modifications here.

Guidance from the NSW Government also indicates that when applying the decline in turnover test, if the entity accounts for GST on an accrual basis, you should use this method. If the entity accounts for GST on a cash basis, you should use this method.

Applications on behalf of clients
Service NSW has now confirmed that accountants can apply for these payments on behalf of clients. Accountants need to ensure that they have a letter of authority to act on behalf of the business if they are not listed as an associate on the ABR.

Given the way this area is developing (ie, multiple times a day…), it is important for businesses to ensure that they are referring to the most recent guidance on the Service NSW website. Also, it might be a good idea to keep a copy of guidance that is being relied upon when lodging applications just in case the guidance changes again.

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