COVID-19 daily updates: 7-11 September

11 September 2020

NEWS
More COVID-19 tax relief for Victorian landholders
The Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has announced that the State Government will waive the Vacant Residential Land Tax for properties that are vacant in 2020. He says that with travel restrictions in place and property inspections not currently possible, many properties are vacant that would be otherwise occupied. Car park owners can also defer any outstanding balances until next year.

Queensland Treasury has crunched the COVID numbers
The Queensland Government has released its Treasury’s COVID-19 Fiscal and Economic Review, which provides an update on Queensland’s economic and fiscal estimates over 2019-20 and 2020-21 but also incorporating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to date. Highlights include an ongoing focus on supporting small business (more than 97% of all state businesses), many thousands of which are in tourism-related and other key services sectors, which have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19.

Some Victorian trust evidence in regard to non-dutiable property can now be scans
In regard to exemptions to land transfer duty, the State Revenue Office of Victoria has made changes to the evidentiary requirements for the establishment of a trust relating to non-dutiable property. A scanned copy of the original trust instrument is now sufficient (see also here).  Before these changes, a physical original executed trust instrument was required to be sighted.

Planned consultation by the ATO for September
While the ATO’s public advice and guidance program continues to have a focus on COVID-19 related issues, is has announced that during this month it plans to consult with tax professionals and the wider industry on certain tax matter — specifically for September, expenses associated with vacant land, and the retention of funds on outstanding notifications.

10 September 2020

NEWS
ATO live webcast to deal with the new JobKeeper
Practitioners may want to mark next Thursday 17 September on their calendar, which is when the ATO will be hosting a live webcast that among other topics will look at the extensions to the JobKeeper payment scheme, and changes from 28 September 2020. An expert panel will be in attendance, comprised of representatives from the ATO, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and professional associations. You can email questions for this panel (tpconversations@ato.gov.au) by close of business Monday 14 September.

ATO to take it easy on COVID varied PAYG instalment mistakes
The regulator has just affirmed that due to the exceptional circumstances surrounding COVID-19, it won’t apply penalties and interest for excessive pay-as-you-go (PAYG) instalment variations when your clients make their best attempts to estimate end of year tax. “This is in recognition of difficulties they may face in making accurate estimates of final tax liabilities in these uncertain economic times,” the ATO says.

School formals in NSW to go ahead
The annual schoolies shindigs in Queensland are out, but the consolation prize is that the NSW Government has announced that Year 12 students will be able to celebrate finishing school with COVID-19 safe graduation ceremonies and formals being allowed to take place during Term 4.

Roy Morgan survey out today shows most Victorians think SMEs should be compensated
A snap SMS survey held this week by Roy Morgan Research and published today reveals that 76% of Victorians consider that small businesses forced to close because of the state government’s COVID-19 restrictions should be provided with financial compensation. The research also showed support for the nightly curfew, and found that 70% approve of Premier Daniel Andrews. Roy Morgan has held weekly surveys during the Stage 4 Victorian restrictions, with political leanings noted but not found to greatly sway conclusions.

9 September 2020

NEWS
ATO to issue practitioners with list of their JobKeeper clients
In order to help with tax time this year, the ATO says it will soon be providing practitioners with a list of their clients who have been enrolled in the JobKeeper scheme and have received JobKeeper payments as an employer or eligible business participant. It also briefly runs through the tax treatment of payments for the variety of entities practitioners will be dealing with.

Financially distressed businesses to get an extension of relief
Temporary insolvency and bankruptcy protections, first announced in mid-August, have been extended until 31 December 2020. To lessen the threat of actions that could unnecessarily push otherwise profitable and viable businesses into insolvency and help ensure they can resume normal operations when the crisis has passed, the following temporary measures were put in place:

  • Relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent
  • Increasing the threshold for creditors issuing a statutory demand on a company from $2,000 to $20,000 and extending the timeframe for a company to respond from 21 days to six months
  • Increasing the threshold for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings from $5,000 to $20,000 and extending the time period for debtors to respond to a bankruptcy notice from 21 days to six months and extending the period of protection a debtor receives after declaring an intention to enter voluntary bankruptcy from 21 days to six months
  • Providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide targeted relief for companies from provisions of the Act to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus health crisis.

For more information, read the Federal Government fact sheet.

SG amnesty is now closed
The ATO says that as per previous announcements in regard to the super guarantee amnesty, the opportunity to use the amnesty is now closed, as at 11.59pm 7 September. If your business clients didn’t apply for the super guarantee amnesty and have any unpaid or late paid super to disclose, they will need to lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement and pay the super guarantee charge (SGC). Here’s how to make sure they don’t trip up when they do this.

Revenue NSW releases practice note on payroll tax and shares
Practice note CPN013 deals with NSW payroll tax as applied to wages which are provided in the form of shares and options, or are based on shares and options, under an employee share scheme.

8 September 2020

NEWS
Queensland establishes more COVID-19 support
The Queensland Government has announced more COVID-19 support measures. They include:

  • a two-month waiver of payroll tax for July and August 2020 for businesses with annual Australian taxable wages up to $6.5 million
  • continuing to exempt JobKeeper subsidy payments from payroll tax – despite the Federal Government making these payments liable for income tax
  • allowing businesses to pay off existing payroll tax deferred liabilities over the course of 2021
  • for businesses renting state government premises and incurring a demonstrable COVID impact, extending existing rent relief to the end of calendar 2020.

SA announces extension to land tax relief
The South Australian Treasurer has announced that a land tax relief scheme that supports landlords in providing significant rent reductions for their residential and commercial SME tenants impacted by COVID-19 restrictions will be significantly expanded and extended by 6 months, to the end of April next year. Under the scheme, eligible landlords now can receive up to a 50% reduction on their 2019-20 land tax liability on affected properties (up from 25%) – provided they pass on the full benefit in land tax relief to their impacted tenants. Applications for the land tax relief scheme will be available via the RevenueSA website.

Annual declaration extension from TPB
The TPB says that any tax practitioner that has an annual declaration due on or before 30 June 2021 will not be required to submit it. These practitioners will next need to complete their annual declaration in 2022 or 2023 (if their registration renewal is due in 2022). However the TPB says practitioners must continue to meet their other ongoing obligations, including around professional indemnity insurance, fit and proper requirements and personal tax obligations.

TPB extends other COVID-19 concessions
Tax practitioners now have access to extended TPB COVID-19 concessions to assist them to meet their registration and renewal requirements during the pandemic. addition to the existing extension of the annual declaration concession to 31 December 2020, other initiatives have been extended as follows:

  • continued professional education (CPE) (private reading and activities) concessions to be extended to 31 December 2020
  • renewal concession to continue to 30 June 2021
  • relevant experience concession to continue to 30 June 2021.

7 September 2020

NEWS
Re-opening: Victorian Government releases “roadmaps”
From 11:59pm 13 September, some restrictions will be eased across Victoria. Melbourne metro and regional Victoria each have their own roadmaps, relating to how many active cases are currently in the community.

Commercial tenancies legislation in Victoria extended
The COVID-19 Commercial and Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment legislation would have automatically expired on 29 September, so the part of the omnibus act that introduced it has therefore been extended to 26 April 2021. Note that this version of the bill changes the definition of “eligible lease”.

COVID-19 resources for industry and the public
The Department of Health is offering a range of resources for free, including information and fact sheets, posters, videos, apps and more to help the general public and industry stay informed and share important messages.

TPB policy response to the pandemic
In response to the challenging circumstances tax practitioners have encountered this year, the Tax Practitioners Board has offered support to tax practitioners through a range of initiatives (PDF 158 KB). The TPB says these concessional arrangements are consistent with a whole of government approach to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Website Comments

  1. Isaac Gnieslaw
    Reply

    It is obvious that the roadmap for Tax and BAS Agents is a road to nowhere as there was no mention when professional services can open up to see clients for tax and BAS returns as we are not seen as an essential service. Meanwhile, only 50% of agent returns will be lodge by 30 June 2021 and the whole administration of the tax system will be in chaos as practitioners retire, have heart attacks from stress and even suicide. This will be a major contributor to the economic collapse in this country.

  2. LynB
    Reply

    “Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses” FACT SHEET is undated!
    Incredibly incompetent.
    Even if legislation is not yet passed, you would think that the government’s own document would specify time periods that this relief is “proposed” to start from/run until.

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