Victorian Government releases more business support measures

— 8 min read

Information current as of 21/09/2020.

Third Round of Victorian Business Support Fund Grants

The Victorian Government has announced a third round of the Victorian Business Support Fund to provide direct financial support to businesses impacted by restrictions in Victoria.

What support is available?

The amount of grants available from this program range from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on the business’ annual payroll. To be eligible for a grant from this program, applicants must:

  • operate a business located within Victoria;
  • participate in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme;
  • employ people and be registered with WorkSafe;
  • have had an annual payroll of less than $10 million in 2019-20;
  • be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST); and
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN).

An eligible business will receive:

  • $10,000 if its annual payroll is less than $650,000,
  • $15,000 if its annual payroll is between $650,000 and $3 million, or
  • $20,000 if its payroll is between $3 million and $10 million.

Grant applications open are now and close on 23 November 2020.

Access more information here.

Sole Trader Support Fund ($100 million)

The Sole Trader Support Fund provides grants of up to $3,000 to eligible sole traders in sectors such as retail, accommodation and food services, creative and media, hairdressing, gyms, events, education and training who operate from a commercial premises or location as a tenant.

To be eligible for a grant from this program, applicants must:

  • be a non-employing business operating in Victoria;
  • operate from a premises that is not their residence (either a tenant of commercial premises or licensee in commercial location as a mobile food business);
  • hold a valid ABN;
  • be a current participant in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper payment scheme;
  • operate in an industry sector that has been heavily restricted or closed as a result of continued restrictions; and
  • have not received a Business Support Fund Extension grant.

A full list of the eligibility criteria for a grant will be published when applications open.

Access more information here.

Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme: responding to coronavirus

The Victorian Government introduced a Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme (the Scheme) to alleviate financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).

On 20 August 2020, the Victorian Government announced plans for an extension and changes to the Scheme until 31 December 2020. This means negotiations for rent relief between a commercial tenant and their landlord must consider this timeframe.

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) expects that tenants and landlords will continue to negotiate rent relief and, if requested, attend mediation with the VSBC in anticipation that the announced changes will come into effect in the coming weeks.

The VSBC encourages tenants and landlords to negotiate on the basis of this announcement, which states commercial landlords will be required to provide rent relief in proportion with the fall in turnover being experienced by eligible tenants going forward.

Access more information here.

Vacant Land Tax Relief

The Victorian Government recently announced further tax relief measures for Victorians as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The measures include:

  • A 25% waiver of 2020 congestion levy liabilities, with the due date for paying the balance of 2020 congestion levy liabilities extended until 31 March 2021.
  • A full waiver of 2021 Vacant Residential Land Tax (VRLT) liabilities that would ordinarily apply to residential properties in Melbourne’s inner and middle suburbs that are vacant for more than six months in 2020. With travel restrictions in place and property inspections currently restricted, many properties that would otherwise be occupied are vacant.

Residential property is land that is able to be used solely or primarily for residential purposes, such as a home or an apartment.

It also includes land on which a residence is being renovated or where a former residence has been demolished and a new residence is being constructed.

It does not include vacant land, commercial residential premises, residential care facilities, supported residential services or retirement villages.

A property is considered vacant if, for more than six months in the preceding calendar year, it has not been lived in by:

  • The owner, or the owner’s permitted occupier, as their principal place of residence (PPR), or
  • A person under a lease or short-term letting arrangement made in good faith.
    The occupation does not need to be by the same occupant or for a single continuous period

It is not enough that the property is available for occupation, such as by listing on a short term rental website. It must actually have been used and occupied for more than six months.

It is not enough for the property to be used intermittently or on a casual basis by friends or family of the owner. The use and occupation must be either as a principal place of residence or subject to a bona fide lease or letting arrangement.

If you think you are impacted you should contact the SRO.

If you have been receiving government business support and/or have queries regarding the recent changes, please reach out to your dedicated DPM Tax Consultant, who will be happy to help you through the recent changes.

Please reach out to the DPM Tax team if you have questions:

Authors

Amelia Jones

B. Comm, CA

Consultant
Melbourne

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Amelia is a Chartered Accountant and joined DPM in 2017. With more than 15 years’ experience in the accounting industry, she specialises in providing personalised tax, structuring and compliance advice to medical professionals. Amelia thrives on developing long-term relationships with her clients to ensure they are in the best tax position to achieve their personal and professional goals.