Author: Bernadette Smyth

BeLLCORP BLOG

JobKeeper: If you are enrolled, now is the time to report.

Stage 2 of accessing the JobKeeper Payment is now live on the ATO online platforms.  If you are an employer, sole trader or an eligible business participant, we recommend  you read on to hear the latest important info. EmployersIf you have identified your eligible employees through your STP enabled software, you still need to complete information online with the ATO. Log in to the Business Portal using myGovID. View the COVID-19 screen and select  Step 2 Identify and maintain employees eligible for JobKeeper wage subsidies.  Select the month you are identifying eligible employees to claim for. You could be identifying eligible employees for payments made in April or May 2020.  Confirm your eligible business participant details if applicable:– Select No if you are not confirming an eligible business participant.– Select Yes if you want to identify an eligible business participant – your details will automatically prefill if you identified an eligible business participant when you enrolled, or: – Enter the eligible business participant’s tax file number (TFN) and date of birth. – Select Confirm then Save. – Select the JobKeeper fortnights (FN) that you’re claiming for the eligible business participant. Confirm your number of eligible employee details:– The number of eligible employees is prefilled based on your lodged STP pay report.– Check the number is correct or edit the number to reflect the correct number of eligible employees for each JobKeeper fortnight. Next , you’ll need to make your monthly business declaration. In the portal, view the COVID-19  screen and select Step 3 Business monthly declaration for JobKeeper payment. Here you’ll provide your business’ current and projected GST turnover, reconfirm your eligible employees and reconfirm your contact and financial institution details to receive payments.  Sole Traders with no employees(Or eligible business participants of trusts and companies) If you are a sole trader with no employees, log into ATO online services through myGov, or log into the Business Portal using myGovID. View the COVID-19 screen and select Step 2 Identify and maintain employees eligible for JobKeeper wage subsidies. Fill in the JobKeeper enrollment form by confirming the required fields including identifying the business participant (yourself) with your TFN and DOB, and selecting the fortnights you wish to claim the JobKeeper payment for. Click no to add eligible employees at item 2 Number of employees. Then move to Step 3 Business monthly declaration for JobKeeper payment and provide your business’ current and projected GST turnover, reconfirm your eligible employees and reconfirm your contact and financial institution details to receive payments. 
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COVID-19 Stimulus: JobKeeper Payment Update

The JobKeeper stimulus measure passed The Senate late last night, meaning businesses are one step closer to accessing the next round of Government stimulus. What is the JobKeeper? It is a payment of $1,500 per fortnight, before tax, per eligible employee paid to the employer, monthly in arrears. Who is an eligible employer? Employers, including profit for purpose entities, are eligible for the subsidy if: • their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 30 per cent or more; or • their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 50 per cent or more; or • their business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy. For charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), they will be eligible for the subsidy if they estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 15 per cent or more relative to a comparable period. JobKeeper Payments are paid in respect of each eligible employee who was employed at 1 March 2020 and is currently employed by the business (including those who are stood down or re-hired). Who is an eligible employee? An eligible employee was in your employment on March 1st, 2020 and will continue to be employed while you are claiming the JobKeeper payment. They also met the following criteria: • is currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired); • is a full-time or part-time employee, or a casual employed on a regular and systematic basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020; • was aged 16 years or older at 1 March 2020; • was an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder at 1 March 2020; • was a resident for Australian tax purposes on 1 March 2020; and • is not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer. You can only claim JobKeeper payment for eligible employees if you pay the $1,500 per fortnight (before tax) to each eligible employee. These payments should be made using your payroll system and reported to the ATO via Single Touch Payroll. This will support the online claim process when it is available. As an employer, you need to register your interest in the JobKeeper package via the ATO website https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/
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COVID-19 Stimulus: Supporting the flow of credit

The Federal Government, the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority have united to support the flow of credit in the Australian economy, in particular for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, the Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to lenders to SMEs for new, unsecured loans to be used for working capital. The scheme is estimated to support up to $40 billion of lending to SMEs. The Scheme will commence early April 2020 and be available for new loans made by participating lenders until 30 September 2020. Key points to note: SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible for these loans; the maximum total size of loans will be limited to $250,000 per borrower; the loans will be up to 3 years, with an initial six-month repayment holiday; the loans will be in the form of unsecured finance. The Treasury has advised interested SMEs to approach their financial institution for more information, and that despite the scheme officially commencing in April, some lenders may be able to provide credit sooner.
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COVID-19 Stimulus: Support for Retirees

The superannuation minimum drawdown requirements will be temporarily reduced in order to assist retirees to manage the impact of volatility in financial markets on their retirement savings. The Government is temporarily reducing the superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for the 2019–20 and 2020–21 income years. This will benefit retirees with account-based pensions and similar products as it reduces the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements. The reduction applies for 2019–20 and 2020–21 as follows:
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COVID-19 Stimulus: Wages Subsidies for Apprentices & Trainees

Employers with less than 20 full-time employees, who retain an apprentice or trainee who was in training with the employer as at 1 March 2020, may be entitled to Government funded wage subsidies equal to 50% of the apprentice/trainee’s wage paid during the nine months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. The maximum wage subsidy over the nine-month period will be $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter). Employers can register for the subsidy from early April 2020. Final claims for payment must be lodged by 31 December 2020. Employers will be able to access the subsidy after an eligibility assessment is undertaken by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (‘AASN’) provider. Further information can be accessed at: www.dese.gov.au www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au
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COVID-19 Stimulus: Increased Instant Write-off Threshold for Business Assets

The depreciating asset instant asset write-off threshold is being increased from $30,000 (for businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $50 million) to $150,000 (for businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million) until 30 June 2020. The measure applies to both new and second-hand assets first used or installed ready for use in the period beginning 12 March 2020 (the date on which this measure was announced) and ending 30 June 2020. These measures will apply to apply to Small Business Entities and Medium Business Entities, as follows: (a) Small Business Entities (SBEs) (turnover of less than $10 million). SBEs will be able to claim an immediate deduction for depreciating assets that cost less than $150,000, provided the relevant asset is installed ready for use on or after 12 March 2020, but before 1 July 2020. Additionally, SBEs will also be able to claim an immediate deduction for the following: • An amount included in the second element of the cost of (an improvement to) a depreciating asset that was first used or installed ready for use in a previous income year. The amount of the second element cost must be less than $150,000 and the cost incurred on or after 12 March 2020, but before 1 July 2020. • If the balance of an entity’s general small business pool (before current year depreciation) is less than $150,000 at the end of the 2020 income year, the SBE can claim a deduction for the entire balance of the pool. (b) Medium Business Entities (MBEs) (turnover of at least $10 million and less than $500 million). MBEs can immediately deduct the cost of an asset in an income year if the asset has a cost of less than $150,000 and it was first used or installed ready for use for a taxable purpose in the period beginning 12 March 2020 and ending 30 June 2020. Additionally, MBEs can also claim a deduction for certain amounts included in the second element of the cost of a depreciating asset, where the amount of the second element cost is less than $150,000, and is incurred on or after 12 March 2020 but before 1 July 2020. As with the current instant asset write-off concession, the threshold will generally be applied to the GST-exclusive cost of an eligible asset. Importantly, this increased threshold also continues to operate on a ‘per asset’ basis, which means that eligible businesses can immediately write-off multiple assets (as long as each of the assets individually satisfy the relevant eligibility criteria). Currently, the instant asset write-off threshold is due to revert to $1,000 for small businesses (i.e., those with an aggregated turnover of less than $10 million) from 1 July 2020.
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COVID-19 Stimulus: Boosting Cash Flow for Employers

Small and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profit entities, with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million (usually based on their prior year’s turnover) that employ people, may be eligible to receive a total payment of up to $100,000 (with a minimum total payment of $20,000), based on their PAYG withholding obligations, in the following two stages: (a) Stage 1 payment – Commencing from the lodgment of activity statements from 28 April 2020, eligible employers that withhold PAYG tax on their employees’ salary and wages will receive a tax-free payment equal to 100% of the amount withheld, up to a maximum of $50,000. Eligible employers that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum (tax-free) payment of $10,000, even if they are not required to withhold PAYG tax. The tax-free payment will broadly be calculated and paid by the ATO as an automatic credit to an employer, upon the lodgment of activity statements from 28 April 2020, with any resulting refund being paid to the employer. This means that: • quarterly lodgers will be eligible to receive the payment for the quarters ending March 2020 and June 2020; and • monthly lodgers will be eligible to receive the payment for the March 2020, April 2020, May 2020 and June 2020 lodgments. However, the payment for the March 2020 activity statement will be calculated as being three times the actual amount withheld. Note that, the minimum payment of $10,000 will be applied to an entity’s first activity statement lodgment (whether for the month of March or the March quarter) from 28 April 2020. (b) Stage 2 payment – For employers that continue to be active, an additional (tax-free) payment will be available in respect of the June to October 2020 period, basically as follows: • Quarterly lodgers will be eligible to receive the additional payment for the quarters ending June 2020 and September 2020, with each payment being equal to 50% of their total initial (or Stage 1) payment (up to a maximum of $50,000). • Monthly lodgers will be eligible to receive the additional payment for the June 2020, July 2020, August 2020 and September 2020 activity statement lodgements, with each additional payment being equal to a quarter of their total initial (or Stage 1) payment (up to a maximum of $50,000). The ATO will automatically calculate and pay the additional (tax-free) payment as a credit to an employer upon the lodgment of their activity statements from July 2020, with any resulting refund being paid to the employer. TAX WARNING – Employers must be established before 12 March 2020 The above payments will only be available to active eligible employers (who held an ABN) as at 12 March 2020. However, charities that are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission will be eligible regardless of when they were registered, subject to meeting other eligibility requirements. This recognises that new charities may be established in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, eligibility for the above payments is subject to a specific integrity rule that is designed to stamp out artificial or contrived arrangements that are implemented to obtain access to this measure. In particular, if an employer or an associate enters into a scheme with the sole or dominant purpose of obtaining or increasing any of the above payments for a particular employer, for a period, the employer will not be eligible for any such payments for the relevant period. Credit to the NTAA for this fact sheet.
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COVID-19 STIMULUS PACKAGE ANNOUNCEMENT

It has been quite an incredible last few days as the world responds to a crisis like no other we have seen before. We have been blessed as a nation to see the start of an exceptional stimulus package response from the Government.  If you only have 5 minutes to read about it today, I encourage you to look on: IN A NUTSHELL: – Businesses will receive tax-free payments of up to $100k if they are deemed a ‘small business’ or ‘not for profit’ entity. This will come as a BAS (Business Activity Statement) PAYG tax credit. If your BAS is already fully subsidised to NIL or a refund, you will get a cash refund via EFT or cheque from the ATO. – The government will improve access to working capital by encouraging banks to lend to small businesses. They will guarantee up to 50% of new loans made to small business. There will be an initial 6 month repayment holiday on these loans. – Sole traders, partners in partnerships and some other self-employed who have seen significant falls in income, will be eligible for jobseeker payments. Jobseeker payments have been effectively doubled for many (not all) welfare recipients and sole traders may be eligible for up to $1,100 per fortnight. – Early release of superannuation is available to individuals in financial distress, who may be eligible to release up to $20k between this financial year and next financial year IF they can demonstrate hardship. These superannuation payments won’t affect Centrelink benefits either. – Retirees are allowed to temporarily reduce their superannuation minimum drawdown amounts by 50% in this year and next tax year. This allows them to leave additional funds in a tax free environment; and – Income support recipients will receive additional one-off and ongoing supplementary payments. The above measures are the most important measures made available to our communities, however the Government has released many additional pleasing responses to the COVID-19 crisis.  Presently, we note that none of the above benefits have been legislated in full, however there is strong consensus that each measure will pass without delay.  We do expect the above responses to become 100% official shortly. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO? Access to the above measures will be largely “automatic” for many affected tax payers, as the Government intends to utilise technology such as myGov and current taxation data to assess recipients, and then pass on the stimulus package in full. Most people do not need to do a thing to become eligible for the stimulus. The Government is looking to roll out BAS subsidies automatically, and loan guarantees will apply automatically in the coming few weeks as banks roll out additional funding.  If you are a sole trader/self-employed and looking to access the Jobseeker payments, you are encouraged to setup or log into myGov and follow the relevant steps to link both the ATO and Centrelink services to your account. The remainder of the application process can be lodged electronically in due course. (Be patient as the system will be under heavy load.) Considering drawing down on super early? Hold tight and wait until your super fund tells you it is time to contact them regarding this. Whilst we haven’t got complete clarity over when this will occur, we expect it to be very soon! – In addition to these tips above, we would personally like to encourage a couple of very important behaviours right now:Check-in with your loved ones and friends, particularly those who may be feeling the pinch or who live in isolated areas. At this point in the crisis, communication is key and anything you can do to make someone feel valued is incredibly important; and – Continue your support of small business in whatever way you can. If you have some level of discretionary income over this period, please frequent your takeaway store/coffee shop or order delivery. Support the businesses around you because they truly do keep cash flowing within our economy.
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Proud to be multi-award winners

Newcastle-based boutique accounting firm BeLLCORP Accountants added to its list of accolades at the end of 2019, picking up a total of three awards at two award ceremonies hosted in Sydney. Manager, Bernadette Smyth won two awards at the CPA Australia Annual President’s Awards. Bernadette was the winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Finance and Business for 2019, an accolade presented to a Certified Practicing Accountant who has “significantly contributed over the course of their career to the accounting profession.” The Outstanding Contribution to Finance and Business award was designed to recognise a leader who has demonstrated a significant and unique impact to the New South Wales business community. She also received a NSW President’s Award for Excellence in recognition of her service and leadership as the Chair of the CPA Newcastle & Hunter Branch for the years 2018 and 2019. Bernadette said she was humbled to have received two awards; “It is an honour to receive two awards in the one night, particularly as a regional representative. I take great pride in these awards because they indicate the greatness of the Newcastle business community – we’re really making our mark in NSW and nationally.” Across the Sydney CBD, Director Jeff Bell took out the Accountants Daily 30 Under 30 Award for Accountant – Boutique Firm. This national award recognised accountants who most effectively drove revenue growth and shaped their firm’s success in the financial year 2018-19. From 500 entrants nationally, Jeff was shortlisted as one of 125 finalists last month. Taking out the Accountant – Boutique Firm award Jeff reflected on his journey to date; “It has been an incredible year for BeLLCORP and I’m extremely proud of our collective achievements. I am greatly honoured to receive this award as a young business leader and I hope to see more regional winners in national and state awards in the future.” The awards cement BeLLCORP’s position as a leader in the business community and sets the tone for the year ahead. The business has plans to expand their service offering into unique start-up services, as well as broadening their virtual CFO offering.
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What’s a BAS and what do I do with it?

If you are a business registered for GST, you need to lodge a business activity statement (BAS) regularly. The BAS will help you report and pay your: goods and services tax (GST) pay as you go (PAYG) instalments PAYG withholding tax other taxes including wine equalisation tax (WET) Many of our clients report and pay GST quarterly. If your GST turnover is greater than $20 million you will be required to report and pay GST monthly. If your GST turnover is less than $10 million you will use the Simpler BAS reporting method in most cases. What does this mean? This means you will report amounts against the following items: G1 Total sales 1A GST on sales 1B GST on purchases BAS due dates for quarterly reporting are typically 28 days after the quarter end (with the exception of the December quarter where an extension is given). If you have a registered tax agent, you have a longer time frame to report each quarter. Just another of the many benefits of having a registered tax agent like BeLLCORP Accountants.
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