There have been some key changes to the NSW 2021 COVID-19 business support packages available to business arising from the greater Sydney and statewide lockdowns.
In some instances these changes will make it simpler for local businesses to both qualify for and apply for business support packages.
A direct link to all NSW business support packages can be found by clicking here.
The eligibility period of the COVID-19 business grant has been amended to be comparative with either 2019, 2020 or the two-week period immediately before the Victorian Stay at Home Directions commenced (May 13 - May 26, 2021)
Bega Valley businesses benefit from the Southern Border Business rule.
The comparative period is a minimum two-week period from May 27, 2021 to July 17, 2021 inclusive, against any of the following three options:
- the same period in 2019, or
- the same period in 2020, or
- the 2-week period immediately before the Victorian Stay at Home Directions commenced (13 May-26 May 2021).
The periods in the second and third bullet points above are new provisions.
Some businesses have reported that 2020 was stronger than 2019, so the change will hopefully be of benefit in qualifying.
There have been two key changes to the Highly Impacted Industries List
1. The list of highly impacted industries has been significantly extended for businesses outside greater Sydney.
These industries outside greater Sydney are now included as highly impacted:
- Sports and Physical Recreation Clubs and Sports Professionals
- Sports and Physical Recreation Venues, Grounds and Facilities Operation
- Creative Artists, Musicians, Writers and Performers
- Real Estate Services
- Hairdressing and Beauty Services
- Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Services
- Other Personal Services n.e.c.
- Car Retailing
- Motor Cycle Retailing
- Trailer and Other Motor Vehicle Retailing
- Motor Vehicle Parts Retailing
- Tyre Retailing
- Other Specialised Food Retailing
- Sport and Camping Equipment Retailing
- Entertainment Media Retailing
- Toy and Game Retailing
- Newspaper and Book Retailing
- Marine Equipment Retailing
- Clothing Retailing
- Footwear Retailing
- Watch and Jewellery Retailing
- Other Personal Accessory Retailing
- Antique and Used Goods Retailing
- Flower Retailing
- Other Store-Based Retailing n.e.c.
- Non-Store Retailing
- Retail Commission-Based Buying and/or Selling
- Taxi and Other Road Transport
- Sports and Physical Recreation Instruction
- Arts Education
- Dental Services
- Optometry and Optical Dispensing
- Physiotherapy Services
- Chiropractic and Osteopathic Services
- Other Allied Health Services
- Other Social Assistance Services
- Other Health Care Services n.e.c.
Importantly, this enables businesses to claim the grant on declaration without providing supporting documentation. The minimum 30 per cent decline in turnover against the comparative period must still be met.
2. Application requirements for the $15,000 grant 70 per cent decline in turnover have been eased to enable applications to be made on declaration.
Previously, businesses in the highly impacted industries needed to provide further information with their applications, but can now apply by making declarations.
Sole Trader - Primary Source of Income
Eligibility has been extended to expressly include businesses 'if they do not have employees, declare the business is the primary income source for the owner of the business'.
This is very useful for sole traders generating income higher than the micro business grant threshold.
Although qualification under alternative rules will not necessarily be straightforward, provisions have been added to enable businesses to apply where they do not meet the more basic criteria in place.
- New businesses (not operating in 2020 or 2019 comparative periods)
Where a business started between January 1 and June 1, 2021 or is a micro-business (that does not submit a BAS), the following may be provided as evidence of annual turnover:
- letter from a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent; or
- business bank account statement for a minimum three-month period (separate from any personal accounts), or the period for which the business has been operating if less than 3 months, or
- (for micro-business grant applicants only) a profit and loss statement from an accounting software for a minimum three-month period, or the period for which the business has been operating if less than three months, and one of the following documents:
- an annotated personal bank statement for the same period, or
- a personal income tax return annotated to show when the business commenced during the financial year.
Importantly, this provides an opportunity for recent start-ups to qualify for support.
Sole trader or small partnership impacted by sickness, injury or leave
In these circumstances, new provisions enable the use of a three-month demonstrate turnover.
Businesses that have been impacted by acquisition, disposal, or restructure
This is more complex but provisions now exist that provide small businesses an opportunity to access the business support grants.
If a business is unable to demonstrate turnover for a full year, a shorter period can be accepted provided that shorter period is representative of the 'normal operating environment' of the business. The turnover for this shorter period will be annualised to get an equivalent annual turnover figure for the business.
Accommodation Providers - Lost Bookings During School Holidays
This package is very important to the numerous local accommodation providers who experienced lost bookings during the winter school holidays. These provide for the payment of $2,000 or $5,000 depending on the number of room nights cancelled.
Payments to accommodation providers will be available from late September 2021.
Accommodation providers are also able to apply for other business support packages including the business grant program.
COVID-19 Disaster Payment - New South Wales (Individual Workers)
This is even more likely to apply to some people in our region due to the statewide lockdown.
Eligible applicants can claim COVID-19 Disaster Payment from Sunday, August 22 if in an area impacted by the August 14 NSW lockdown, and have lost income or hours of work. This payment previously applied if workers lost work or income from July 18 due to restrictions in NSW.
There are eligibility rules in place that should be carefully noted.