COVID-19 Business Update – 10 March 2021
Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.
COVID-19 Vaccination Drive On Track, Says PM
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the vaccination drive against COVID-19 is on track to meet the target of having everyone inoculated by October, despite delays.
As of 7 March 2021, the total number of people who have been vaccinated stands at 86,369.
Business Confidence Hit Decade Highs
The National Australia Bank’s index of business confidence reached decade highs, as it rose by four points to +16 in February. This comes after sales, profits, and employment all picked up sharply– a positive sign that the country’s economy is recovering from last year’s recession caused by the pandemic.
Australian-Focused Online Marketplace Launched
‘Buy Aussie Now‘, an Australian-focused online marketplace was launched, featuring a ‘Tick of Approval’ to identify products that are Australian-made and owned.
The online store, which is the first of its kind in the country, features about 15,000 Aussie products across nine categories from 6,500 registered businesses.
Wage Subsidy Scheme for Apprentices to Be Expanded
The government will spend $1.2 billion to expand its wage subsidy scheme for apprentices, as JobKeeper is set to end this month.
Under the apprentice scheme, the government will pay half the wages of apprentices up to a maximum of $7,000 each quarter for 12 months. It will run until September 2022. Ask us if you have any questions.
Second Round of ‘Boosting Female Founders Initiative’
The federal government has launched a second round of funding for the Boosting Female Founders Initiative worth $11.6 million. This will support female entrepreneurs to build their businesses and create local jobs.
Through this government support, grants between $25,000 and $400,000 will be provided to Australian start-up businesses that are female-founded or majority owned and led by women.
Applications have opened on 8 March 2021, the International Women’s Day.
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 lodgment and payment dates for businesses:
- February monthly activity statements – final date for lodgment and payment.
- 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.
Xero Launches Xero Verify
Xero has launched its own authentication app, Xero Verify, to give small businesses world-class data protection. The new app makes it easy for users to set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) on their Xero accounts.
It eliminates the need for codes and sends push notifications to your device for a fast and easy way to authenticate your login.
How it works
When you log in, Xero Verify will send a pop-up message to your phone. All you have to do is to open the notification and tap once to authenticate.
If you lose your device where the authenticator app is installed, you just need to turn off MFA, change your password, and then set up MFA on your new device.
How to Set Up MFA With Xero Verify
Follow these steps to set up MFA with Xero Verify on your device.
Get in touch
Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.