Government Support for Small Business Owners Affected By Bushfires
The support package for bushfire-affected small businesses includes grant funding, concessional loans, tax relief, a dedicated and single contact point to help access available support and financial counselling services that are targeted to help small and family business owners deal with the emotional and financial challenges they face.
Here’s a quick summary of the relief measures included in the bushfire-support package:
Under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, eligible small businesses and non-profit organisations that have suffered direct damage to their premises or equipment, and intend to re-establish in the community can access up to $50,000 in grant funding for clean-up and reinstatement of assets. This program is uncapped and grants are tax-free. However, the grants are not available for expenses that are covered by insurance and are not available to recompense lost business income.
Concessional loans of $500,000 are available for eligible small businesses and not-for-profit organisations. The loan would be for up to 10 years and will cover costs of restoring or replacing damaged assets, salaries, creditors, rent and rates, while the business returns to its normal level of trading. The loans will be available with a repayment holiday of up to two years, with no interest accruing during this period. The subsequent interest rate would be set at 50 per cent of the ten-year Commonwealth government bond rate (currently around 0.6%). Detailed info is available here.
The Commissioner of Taxation has agreed to provide a range of assistance measures to businesses in identified bushfire-impacted postcodes to help to alleviate cash flow pressures and assist these businesses with their recovery efforts. In particular, taxpayers in impacted postcodes will now have until 28 May 2020 to lodge and pay business activity statements and income tax returns. Impacted businesses that pay their Pay-As-You-Go Instalments quarterly are also allowed to vary these instalments to zero for the December 2019 quarter and claim a refund for any instalments made in the September 2019 quarter.
Dedicated, Single Contact Point
The Government will deliver $3.5 million to establish the Small Business Bushfire Financial Support Line as well as to fund 10 additional financial counsellors with the ability to provide advice to around 100 small businesses a day. While the specialist Support Line is being established, businesses can visit www.business.gov.au or call 13 28 46.
Other Useful links: NSW Bushfire Assistance