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ATO Offers COVID-19 Tax Advice

Filed under Breaking News, Business, COVID-19, Latest News

Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan (Photo: ATO)

March 24, 2020

The Australian Taxation Office has updated its website with essential information about tax and superannuation changes that have become law following the passage of the Federal Government’s Economic Support Package.

The website is ato.gov.au/coronavirus

Taxation Commissioner Chris Jordan said many people were being heavily affected by the challenging economic conditions created by the outbreak of COVID-19 and the ATO was standing by ready to help where it could.

He said the ATO’s coronavirus page provided information about what people need to know, or do, to get access to the tax or superannuation measures announced by the Federal Government.

These measures include:

  • Giving individuals early access to their superannuation
  • Providing cash flow assistance for employers
  • Increasing the instant asset write-off, making more businesses eligible
  • Backing business investment by accelerating depreciation deductions.

“Each of the measures have different timings, eligibility, and processes. Some will be applied automatically and others will require an application, so I recommend heading to ato.gov.au/coronavirus to understand what is possible,” Mr Jordan said.

Mr Jordan also reminded the community of other options available to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19.

“In these difficult and uncertain times, the ATO is doing everything it can to reduce stress from tax and super related obligations,” Mr Jordan said.

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

  • Deferring by up to six months the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax 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
  • Working with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low-interest payment plans.

“Businesses wanting to utilise any of these options can contact us over the coming weeks. It is not necessary for businesses to contact us immediately,” Mr Jordan said.

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

“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.

“If you’re impacted by COVID-19, and require immediate assistance contact us to request support on our Emergency Support Infoline 1800-806-218.

“If you do not require immediate assistance you can contact us when you’re ready, to discuss your situation.”


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