ATO support measures for those affected by Coronavirus outbreak, 18 March 2020
The ATO will implement a series of administrative measures to assist Australians experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Businesses impacted by the coronavirus are encouraged to get in touch with the ATO to discuss relief options. Options available to assist impacted businesses include:
• deferring by up to four months the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (BAS, including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, FBT assessments and excise
• allowing 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, and
• 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, the ATO will be increasing its 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. It will also consider ways to enhance its presence in other significantly affected regions. Additional temporary shopfronts and face-to-face options are currently under consideration.
The ATO will also continue to work with the tax profession, other government agencies and local organisations to make sure other impacted communities are also supported.
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 their Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218. Alternatively ask us to contact the ATO on your behalf.