COVID-19 Business Update – 14 October 2020
Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.
Proposed Superannuation Reform Measures
The Government has announced that it will spend $159.6 million over the next four years to implement a number of reforms to the superannuation system that will save fund members $18 billion in fees and other costs between now and 2030. The key elements of these reforms include:
- From 1 July 2021, when a person changes jobs, their super account will be ‘stapled’ automatically to them. At the time of starting a new job, and unless a member decides otherwise, their employer will pay superannuation contributions into their existing ‘stapled’ fund.
- By 1 July 2021, the Government will develop a new interactive online ‘YourSuper’ comparison tool, which will be administered by the ATO, to allow people to research and select a MySuper fund to manage their super savings.
- MySuper products and other trustee-directed superannuation products will be subject to an annual objective performance test, based on net investment returns. A fund determined to be underperforming will be required to notify its members and provide them with information and tools to switch to a better performing fund
The government has not yet announced any change to the already legislated SG increases, which are due to see the SG rate increase from the current 9.5% to 10% from 1 July 2021, with further gradual increases to 12% by 2025.
Financials, Tech Stocks Drive Australian Market Higher
The Australian market settled higher on Tuesday for seven consecutive sessions, as financials rose on economic optimism and technology stocks traded higher. In the previous week, the Australian Government pledged billions in tax cuts and measures to boost jobs, which was accommodative for the economy.
Australians to Receive Tax Cuts
The Australian Government approved $17.8 billion in personal tax cuts, quickly pushing through measures announced last week to support the country’s economy.
More than 11 million Australians and 1 million businesses will begin receiving tax relief within weeks after the measures have been approved.
Under the new tax package, people earning $48,000 to $90,000 will gain an extra $1,080 in 2020-21 from a one-off extension of the low and middle-income tax offset. Meanwhile, those earning more than $120,000 will have a permanent cut of $2,430 in 2020-21 and beyond.
The Government will bring forward its planned tax cuts meaning millions of Australians will have more money in their pockets, potentially from the end of October. These tax cuts were scheduled to start in July 2022 but will be brought forward and backdated to July this year.
- Under the plan, the upper limit of the 19% personal income tax bracket will rise from $37,000 to $45,000 and the 32.5% marginal tax rate upper threshold will lift from $90,000 to $120,000.
- The tax plan means people who earn between $45,000 and $90,000 will take home an additional $1,080 this financial year.
- Workers who earn more than $90,000 will take home up to $2,565 extra, with people earning more than $120,000 receiving the maximum benefit.
- The low and middle-income tax offset, currently worth $255 for a worker on $37,000 and $1,080 for those earning between $48,001 and $90,000, will also remain.
The Government hopes Australians will spend the additional cash, to help offset the economic activity lost this year.
JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme
While there are no changes to the JobKeeper scheme set to send in March 2021, a fresh wage subsidy program called the JobMaker Hiring Credit has been announced.
The JobMaker Hiring Credit will partially subsidise the wages of young employees who are hired from 7th October 2020. As always, there are some conditions for both employers and employees to meet.
Employers will be able to claim $200 each week for every employee hired after 7th October 2020 aged between 16 and 29, and $100 each week for every employee aged between 30 and 35.
NSW to Ease Restrictions
New South Wales announced that from 16 October, venues that offer outdoor dining will be allowed to have double the number of patrons outside. Australia’s federal government hopes easing state restrictions will help revive the country’s ailing economy.
$800m Digital Business Plan to Drive Economic Recovery
The Australian Government has announced a Digital Business plan to enable businesses to take advantage of digital technologies to grow their businesses and create jobs in the wake of COVID-19. PM Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the almost $800 million scheme on Tuesday that will facilitate doing more business online in a post-pandemic world.
Under the plan, the rollout of Australia’s 5G network will be accelerated, the digital capacity of the agriculture, manufacturing, mining, logistics and financial services will be boosted, and Australians will be able to start a new business in 15 minutes using online government services.
If you need our expert advice on how you can start a business or pivot to adapt to the crisis, don’t hesitate to message us.
Supporting Apprentices and Trainees Wage Subsidy Extended
The Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy has been expanded and extended to include medium-sized businesses who had an eligible apprentice in place from 1 July 2020.
Eligible employers will receive a wage subsidy of up to 50% of the wages paid until 31 March 2021 worth up to $7,000 per quarter, per eligible apprentice or trainee, to manage their cash flow challenges. Subsidies will also be available to any new employer who re-engages an eligible apprentice that was displaced by an eligible small- or medium-sized business.
This may be of particular interest to employers who are not eligible for the JobKeeper extension. For professional assistance in applying for this wage subsidy or any other funding assistance, feel free to contact us.
COVID-19’s Potential Impact on GDP
Prior to COVID-19, models of what could happen during a pandemic overstated the possible global death toll, but understated the potential hit to GDP. But as a series in The Economist explains, our current pandemic may have lasting impact.
The impacts of shutting down schools may persist for decades. Governments around the world are issuing debt at levels never before seen to finance support for workers and businesses. The virus continues to spread, but the extent of impact in poorer countries remains largely invisible. Rapid development of vaccines mean that they may be available in 2021, but their safety and efficacy are so far largely unknown. The shift to an online world for retail, work, entertainment, and education will likely influence us for years to come. The question we all have to answer is whether those impacts will result in meaningful changes that help to elevate all or that exacerbate divisions and inequalities.
We sincerely hope for positive changes that help to make this a better world!
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