The Australian Government has increased support for businesses to manage cash flow challenges under the ongoing COVID-19 circumstances.
The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure announced on 12 March 2020 will be increased to provide up to $100,000 for eligible small and medium-sized businesses. To be eligible employers must have been established prior to 12 March 2020 and have an aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million and employ workers.
The measure will provide employers with a payment equal to 100% of their salary and wages withheld. This is a rise from the original 50%, with maximum payments being increased from $25,000 to $50,000 and minimum payments being increased from $2,000 to $10,000.
Employers will receive payments from 28 April 2020 from the ATO as automatic credit in the activity statement system upon lodging eligible upcoming activity statements.
Eligible businesses will be provided with an additional payment during July – October 2020. The payment will be equal to the total amount received under the Boosting Cash Flow for Businesses scheme. For monthly and quarterly activity statement lodgers, these payments will be provided as automatic credit in the activity statement system for each lodgement up until October 2020.
The Government has also introduced the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme to support the flow of credit for small and medium enterprises (SME) by providing a guarantee of 50% to participating SME lenders for new unsecured loans that will be used for working capital. To be eligible, SMEs will have a turnover of up to $50 million and the loans must comply with the following terms:
- The loan is a maximum of $250,000 per borrower.
- The loans will be up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday.
- The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance.
The SME Guarantee Scheme will still require businesses to repay these loans and approval is subject to regular lending requirements. The Scheme will commence by early April 2020 and be available until 30 September 2020.