This article is up to date as at 28 April 2020.
On 16 March 2020, Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos announced a State of Emergency for Victoria to combat COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and assist with measures designed to ‘flatten the curve and give our health system the best chance of managing the virus’.
Earlier this month the Premier further announced that the State of Emergency would be extended until midnight 11 May 2020.
On 21 March 2020, the Andrews Government announced a $1.7 billion economic survival and jobs package to help Victorian businesses and workers survive the devastating impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic.
An overview of the $1.7 billion economic survival package is as follows:
The Government will provide payroll tax refunds and waivers for the 2019 – 2020 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million. The State Revenue Office will contact eligible businesses directly to reimburse them for payroll tax already paid in the current financial year. Eligible businesses can also defer payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020 – 2021 financial year.
For more information about the administration of payroll tax refunds visit: SRO – Coronavirus
Land Tax Deferral
Landowners that hold at least one non-residential property (commercial, industrial and non-residential vacant land) and a total taxable landholdings below $1 million are eligible to apply for a deferral of their 2020 land tax payment. The payment can be deferred until after 31 December 2020 but will need to be paid in full by the first quarter of the 2021 financial year.
Landowners who have already paid their 2020 land tax may request a return of the tax paid however the tax will need to be paid in full by 31 March 2020.
For more information on taxpayers eligibility for land tax deferrals visit: SRO – Coronavirus
Land Tax Relief for Landlords
Landlords with an annual turnover of up to $50 million who provide rent relief to tenants impacted by COVID-19 may be able to apply for a 25% reduction of land tax per property (residential or commercial), and choose to defer the balance of the assessment until 31 March 2021. Landowners that are unable to secure a tenant because of COVID-19 with all or part of the property currently available for lease may also apply for this relief.
The State Revenue Office has noted residential and commercial landlords need to at least pass on the equivalent amount of the 25% land tax reduction in rent relief to their tenant to get the 25% land tax reduction.
Commercial tenants must have an annual turnover of up to $50 million, and be eligible for the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment.
For more information on eligibility for landlords visit: SRO – Coronavirus
Rent Relief – Government Buildings
During the economic survival and jobs package announcement, the Andrews Government also announced support for commercial tenants in government buildings who may now apply for rent relief.
The Federal Government introduced a Mandatory Code of Conduct on 7 April 2020 which will apply to commercial leases of certain eligible small to medium enterprise however in the meantime, commercial tenants leasing government buildings are advised to call the Business Support Hotline on 13 22 15 or visit Coronavirus Business Support.
Business Support Fund
A $500 million Business Support Fund has been established to support small business employers (with a turnover of more than $75,000 and a payroll of less than $650,000) that have been highly impacted or subject to closure by the increased non-essential activity lockdown measures.
Eligible businesses must have held an Australian Business Number (ABN) at 16 March 2020 and engaged in carrying out the operation of the business in Victoria on 16 March 2020 when the State of Emergency was declared.
Impacted businesses can apply for a one-off grant of $10,000 to be used towards business operating expenses including rent, utilities and salaries, and assisting the businesses to sustain future continuity planning.
For more eligibility criteria and application guidelines visit: Business.vic.gov – Support your business
Working for Victoria Fund
An additional $500 million Working for Victoria Fund has been established as a further initiative to assist displaced Victorian workers find new work opportunities. The Andrews Government opened the initiative to workers who have recently lost their jobs and casuals who no longer have shifts.
Employers and businesses can register available job opportunities and requirements online and connect with candidates who meet their business needs.
Visit Working for Victoria for further information for jobseekers or employers.
Liquor Licence Fees
The Andrews Government will also provide support for the Victorian hospitality sector by waiving renewable liquor license fees for 2020 for affected venues and small businesses.
For more information on the administration of reimbursements visit: SRO – Coronavirus
For more information or advise in relation to any of the above, please contact us. Our team of solicitors can assist you if you are having trouble accessing any of the above resources and support you with up-to-date information that may affect your business during COVID-19.