Coronavirus Jobkeeper Payment

Federal Government offers $130b in coronavirus wage subsidies for businesses to pay workers

The Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus.

Around 6 million workers will receive a fortnightly payment of $1,500 (before tax) through their employer. The payment ensures eligible employers remain connected to their workforce and will help businesses restart quickly when the crisis is over.

Information for employers

If your business has been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus you will be able to access a wages subsidy to continue paying your employees. Under the JobKeeper program, you will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of six months. This assistance will help you keep staff and will help you restart when the crisis is over.

To register your interest, please visit the Australian Taxation Office: https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/?=redirected_JobKeeper

What employers will need to do is reach out to their banks knowing that they will have this confirmed money flow coming from tax office, namely from the Government, and then that will give them the ability to pay their employees. 

Information for employees

The JobKeeper payment helps businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus cover the costs of their employees’ wages, so more Australians can retain their jobs and continue to earn an income. Your employer will notify you if they intend to claim the fortnightly payment of $1,500 on your behalf.

Got any questions? Just contact us for further clarification on the new subsidy on 1300 015 130.

Back to more coronavirus updates
Source: JobKeeper payment | Treasury.gov.au (2020). Available at: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/jobkeeper (Accessed: 30 March 2020).
planning for tax time deadline

2019 Small Business Tax Time Toolkit

Helping small businesses get their expenses right

At Notch Above Bookkeeping, we help our small business clients to understand their entitlements and avoid mistakes in their 2019 tax returns by using resources such as the ATO’s 2019 Small Business Tax Time Toolkit.

To learn about keeping accurate and complete records, see the small business guides on:

  • home-based businesses expenses
  • motor vehicle expenses
  • travel expenses

These guides will help you to understand:

  • how claiming expenses varies depending on business structure
  • how to apportion between business and private use
  • the importance of accurate record keeping.

Learning to use and understand the powerful reports inside Xero are critical to the overall success of your small business. The management team at Notch Above are able to work with you to customise advanced Xero financial reports, while identifying deductible expenses. Call our Xero Platinum Certified team on 1300 015 130 this tax time (throughout QLD and NSW).

Source: ATO
entrepreneur solopreneur

Going Freelance

Getting in control of your life and your numbers

Becoming a freelancer is a big step in anyone’s life.

It means setting up your own microbusiness, finding the ideal customers and learning to make money from your own skills and services.

But if you get it right, going freelance really can change your life for the better.

In this guest blog, Steve Ash freelancer and content consultant gives the lowdown on his freelance life and how cloud tech has created a new way to make a career.

Getting in control of your life and career

I’ve been a freelancer for nearly six years now – and it’s a change in career that I’ve never regretted. For me, being a self-employed ‘solopreneur’ has certainly been life-changing. It’s a way of working, using your skills and making a living that’s becoming increasingly popular. 

More and more highly skilled professionals are opting to explore a freelance career – and it’s no accident that this is happening right now.

It’s never been easier to set up your own business. All I needed to become a freelance content writer in 2014 was a laptop and a few specific cloud apps. If you’re a skilled professional, the allure of turning your back on the rat race and getting in control of your own work destiny can be strong – and the benefits really do look attractive. 

As a freelancer, you can:

  • Work more flexible hours – I love the flexibility of being able to work when I want, and where I want. The traditional 9-5 has definitely gone out of the window. I can now create a work/life balance where I spend plenty of time with my family.
  • Reduce your commute and travel – the ability to work from any location with WiFi means I don’t need to commute to an office. I’m a regular at my local coffee shop and they’re very supportive of the many freelancers who work from this ‘coffice’.
  • Work with a varied selection of customers – my network of customers just keeps growing. I really love the challenge of working with a new business and getting to understand where I can help them. That’s a big part of the freelance allure.

Why you need to take your finances seriously

One BIG concern for people considering the freelance lifestyle is money. In a corporate role, you know your monthly salary will always be there. This gives you the stability of a regular income – something you can’t rely on when you’re self-employed.

If I take on more customers and do more work, I’ll get paid more as a result (not something I can say about many of my previous corporate roles). So, with the right understanding of your finances, freelancers can generate a very healthy income from their skills.

But to make your microbusiness profitable, you definitely need some sound financial management. 

To get in control of your numbers.

  • Keep good records and be organised – it’s not the most glamorous part of running a business, but it’s vital to keep records and to be on top of your bookkeeping. It keeps your finances organised and makes life a lot easier when your tax return is due.
  • Use a cloud accounting app – using a spreadsheet to log your income doesn’t cut it in 2020. Online accounting apps make the whole process of managing your freelance money quicker and easier to do. This means you have more time to work with clients.
  • Stay in control of late payments – unpaid invoices are like Kryptonite to freelancers. So make your payment terms clear and chase up late payers ASAP. Xero automatically chases late invoices, which is incredibly handy.
  • Work with an expert – if you can afford it, I’d definitely suggest engaging a financial expert. Time spent worrying over late payments and tax returns is time lost for the business. A bookkeeper helps you to sort all that out, reducing your financial worries and your stress levels when a letter from the tax office arrives.

How Xero helps me stay in control

It was a no-brainer for me to choose Xero to manage my freelance bookkeeping. I knew the basics of working with an accounting system already, but using the Xero Dashboard to raise my online invoices, chase up late-paying customers (yes, I still get those!) and manage my cash flow has made life so much easier.

If you’re thinking of taking that first step towards self-employment, having the right software and apps to help out makes a big difference. My advice would be to:

  1. Decide on your specialism and start promoting your freelance business
  2. Embrace the latest cloud tech and the benefits of using business apps
  3. Keep in control of your finances and aim to make a profit

Notch Above Bookkeeping has your business up and running with Xero quickly and accurately. We can help you install the software, configure your security settings, import your business data (chart of accounts / suppliers / debtors / employees) as well as set up your invoicing, payroll and taxation requirements.

We also provide advice on the best Xero package for your needs. Contact us today to get Xero, the world’s easiest accounting system setup and working for your business.

Source: Xero
payroll

Coronavirus cash flow assistance for business

Boosting cash flow for Employers

Up to a $25,000 tax-free payment to small and medium-sized businesses that employ workers, between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020. These eligible businesses will receive a payment equal to 50% of their PAYG withheld,delivered as a credit in their BAS from March to June 2020, with a minimum $2,000 payment and up to a cap of $25,000

We will ensure these cash incentives are included in your business BAS returns when lodged with the tax office.

Administrative concessions

Other concessions announced to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19 include:

  • Deferring by up to 4 months the payment of tax amounts due through the BAS (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, FBT assessments and excise by affected businesses;
  • Allowing affected businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting to get quicker access to any GST refunds;
  • Allowing affected businesses to vary PAYG instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters;
  • Remitting any interest and penalties, incurred by affected businesses on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities; and
  • Allowing affected businesses to enter into low-interest payment plans for their existing and ongoing tax liabilities

We will consider all these concessions in the relevant BAS periods when preparing your returns and discuss with you, as needed, how they can assist your individual situation.

Please note these are being introduced to parliament next week and expected to be passed as legislation.

Got any questions? Just contact us for further clarification on the new measures on 1300 015 130.

Related reading

https://notchabove.com.au/economic-stimulus-package/

Economic Stimulus Package

Coronavirus Economic Stimulus Package

The Government has announced a $17.6 billion economic plan to keep Australians in jobs, keep businesses in business and support households and the economy as the world deals with the significant challenges posed by the spread of the coronavirus.

The targeted stimulus package is focused on keeping Australians in jobs and helping small and medium-sized businesses to stay in business.

The package has four parts:

  1. Supporting business investment
  2. Providing cash flow assistance to help small and medium-sized business to stay in business and keep their employees in jobs
  3. Targeted support for the most severely affected sectors, regions and communities
  4. Household stimulus payments that will benefit the wider economy

Delivering support for business investment

  • $700 million to increase the instant asset write off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expand access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. For example, assets that may be able to be immediately written off are a concrete tank for a builder, a tractor for a farming business, and a truck for a delivery business.
  • $3.2 billion to back business investment by providing a time-limited 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct an additional 50 per cent of the asset cost in the year of purchase.

These measures start today and will support over 3.5 million businesses (over 99 per cent of businesses) employing more than 9.7 million employees or 3 in every 4 workers. The measures are designed to support business sticking with investment they had planned, and encouraging them to bring investment forward to support economic growth over the short term.

Cash flow assistance for businesses

  • $6.7 billion to Boost Cash Flow for Employers by up to $25,000 with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible small and medium-sized businesses. The payment will provide cash flow support to businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff, between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020. The payment will be tax-free. This measure will benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people. Businesses will receive payments of 50 per cent of their Business Activity Statements or Instalment Activity Statement from 28 April with refunds to then be paid within 14 days.
  • $1.3 billion to support small businesses to support the jobs of around 120,000 apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice.

Stimulus payments to households to support growth

  • $4.8 billion to provide a one-off $750 stimulus payment to pensioners, social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession cardholders. Around half of those that will benefit are pensioners. The payment will be tax-free and will not count as income for Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments. There will be one payment per eligible recipient. If a person qualifies for the one off payment in multiple ways, they will only receive one payment.

Payments will be from 31 March 2020 on a progressive basis, with over 90 per cent of payments expected to be made by mid-April.

Assistance for severely-affected regions

  • $1 billion to support those sectors, regions and communities that have been disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the Coronavirus, including those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education. This will include the waiver of fees and charges for tourism businesses that operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Commonwealth National Parks. It will also include additional assistance to help businesses identify alternative export markets or supply chains. Targeted measures will also be developed to further promote domestic tourism. Further plans and measures to support recovery will be designed and delivered in partnership with the affected industries and communities.

The Government is also offering administrative relief for certain tax obligations, including deferring tax payments up to four months. This is similar to relief provided following the bushfires for taxpayers affected by the coronavirus, on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the ATO will consider ways to enhance its presence in other significantly affected regions to make it easier for people to apply for relief, including considering further temporary shop fronts and face-to-face options.

The Government’s economic support package is proportionate, timely and scalable to respond to the economic challenges presented by the spread of the coronavirus.

Source: Economic Stimulus Package | Treasury Ministers (2020). Available at: https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/josh-frydenberg-2018/media-releases/economic-stimulus-package (Accessed: 13 March 2020).

Support measures to assist those affected by COVID-19

Options available to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will implement a series of administrative measures to assist Australians experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan is encouraging businesses impacted by the coronavirus to get in touch with the ATO to discuss relief options.

“We know that many businesses and communities are being heavily affected by the challenging economic conditions created by the outbreak of COVID-19,” he said.

“The ATO will work shoulder-to-shoulder with businesses to assist them through this difficult period and do what we can to ease the pressure.

“Once you contact us, we’ll tailor a support plan for your needs and circumstances.”

“Support measures could include deferral of some payments, quicker access to GST refunds, and options to enter low-interest payment plans for existing or future tax debts.”

We understand this is a time of significant uncertainty and that we will need to be flexible in how we help businesses.

Options available to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19 include:

  • Deferring by up to four months the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise
  • Allow businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get quicker access to GST refunds they may be entitled to
  • Allowing businesses to vary Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters
  • Remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities
  • Working with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low-interest payment plans.

Employers will still need to meet their ongoing super guarantee obligations for their employees.

To make it easier for people to apply for relief we will be increasing our presence in the areas of highest impact. A temporary shopfront with staff specialising in assisting small business will be established in Cairns within the next few weeks. In addition, we will consider ways to enhance our presence in other significantly affected regions, making it easier for people to apply for relief. Additional temporary shopfronts and face-to-face options are currently under consideration.

We will also continue to work with the tax profession, other government agencies and local organisations to make sure other impacted communities are also supported during this time. We will ensure our services are tailored to the needs of the community and will work with taxpayers and their tax agents to tailor support to their individual circumstances.

Outside of business, the ATO will also work with individuals experiencing financial hardship, and their tax agents, and will apply appropriate tax relief measures for serious and exceptional circumstances, such as where people cannot pay for food or accommodation.

Unlike the bushfire relief measures, which applied automatically to particular geographic areas, assistance measures for those impacted by COVID-19 will not be automatically implemented.

Anyone impacted by COVID-19 is advised to contact the ATO to request assistance on our Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218, when they are ready, to discuss their situation.

Source ATO

ReceiptBank Awards 2020

Notch Above named 2020 RBX Award Finalists

ReceiptBank is hosting their inaugural Awards to celebrate Accountants and Bookkeepers paving the way for our industry.

Shortlisted as a Bookkeeping firm who has actively paved the way in the industry, leading by example, working with cloud-based solutions such as general ledgers and Receipt Bank, Notch Above Bookkeeping has been selected as a ReceiptBank Awards Finalist in the Bookkeeping Firm of the Year category!

“The Awards provide a great opportunity to celebrate the success of accountants and bookkeepers in Australia, Singapore and New Zealand over the past year. Congratulations to our finalists,” said ReceiptBank’s committee comprised of industry professionals who review all nominations and meet to discuss each submission.

Director Ben Gay said he was extremely proud of what Notch Above Bookkeeping had achieved, with the support of a great team and wonderful clients who work solely in the cloud to achieve amazing results.

“We’re thrilled to be shortlisted and to attain national recognition amongst some of the best bookkeepers in the industry,” Ben said.

“It’s the calibre of the businesses involved that sets the benchmark high. We commend all Finalists and look forward to joining them in Sydney next month.”

Winners will be announced at an exclusive event on 2 April at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth celebrating forward-thinking accountants and bookkeepers to learn best new practices, cutting-edge tools and technologies to ensure future-proof businesses.

Notch Above Bookkeeping is a team of certified Xero bookkeepers and BAS Agents. Based in Brisbane, they help small business clients right across Australia prepare their BAS returns and streamline their bookkeeping processes, payroll and accounting records. Read more here or call 1300 015 130.
planning for tax time deadline

2019 Small Business Tax Time Toolkit

Helping small businesses get their expenses right

At Notch Above Bookkeeping, we help our small business clients to understand their entitlements and avoid mistakes in their 2019 tax returns by using resources such as the ATO’s 2019 Small Business Tax Time Toolkit.

To learn about keeping accurate and complete records, see the small business guides on:

  • home-based businesses expenses
  • motor vehicle expenses
  • travel expenses

These guides will help you to understand:

  • how claiming expenses varies depending on business structure
  • how to apportion between business and private use
  • the importance of accurate record keeping.

Learning to use and understand the powerful reports inside Xero are critical to the overall success of your small business. The management team at Notch Above are able to work with you to customise advanced Xero financial reports, while identifying deductible expenses. Call our Xero Platinum Certified team on 1300 015 130 this tax time (throughout QLD and NSW).

Source: ATO
Notch Above Brisbane Bookkeeping

Australian modern awards changes

Get ready: Changes to Australian modern awards coming in March

If you’re an Australian employer, you may be aware that changes are coming to modern awards that will require added compliance.

The Fair Work Commission announced its final decision last year amid media stories of employers underpaying workers. The new award requirements took effect 1 March 2020.

Many businesses will need to review employment contracts and update their HR and payroll practices in the coming weeks. If you’re an employer who uses Xero Payroll, you’ll want to ensure you’re compliant. These are just a few of the tasks that will apply to an enlarged group of 22 modern awards:

  • Annual calculations of what the employee would have been paid under the award compared with the annualised wage actually paid (with reconciliations and back pay of any shortfalls)
  • Recording start and finish times, as well as any unpaid breaks taken by each employee subject to an annualised wage arrangement (in order to perform the calculations and reconciliations as listed above)
  • Records must be signed by employees or acknowledged as correct in writing (including electronic methods) with each pay period/roster cycle. 

Some employers will also need to advise employees of the formula that was used to determine their annual salary and any excess hours of work not covered by their annual salary.

Tools to help

Third-party apps

Many Xero subscribers already use third-party apps that integrate with Xero Payroll. These apps can handle rostering and timesheets. You’ll want to investigate which ones might be a good fit for your situation come 1 March.

Fair Work resources

There’s an app and timesheet template available from Fair Work. While the Fair Work app is a standalone resource, you can export information and enter it manually into Xero. And the timesheet template may be useful for those disinclined to record details via electronic methods.

Expert advice

If you have questions about how to interpret the awards and stay compliant, consult an expert who can steer you through the rules as they apply to you. 

Specialising in Xero bookkeeping, Notch Above are Brisbane bookkeepers offering Xero setup, as well as training and ongoing support. Call us on 1300 015 130.
Source Xero