Eligibility criteria for SME grants in NSW revealed

Applications for the COVID lockdown grants for small to medium businesses in NSW are now open, with a one off, tax free grant depending on three tiers of turnover decline over a two-week period from 26 June 2021 to 26 July 2021, compared to the same period in 2019, the first stage of the roll-out.

All businesses, including not-for-profits, in NSW may be eligible if they have a total annual wage of $10 million or less on 1 July 2020 and aggregated annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million for the year ended 30 June 2020.

Michael Croker, Tax Leader at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ.) is urging accountants to digest the information quickly and work fast with their eligible clients to gather the information required to submit their applications.

“While the NSW Government has embraced some of the technical jargon used when JobKeeper was rolled out in 2020, the main difference is that NSW agencies, and not the ATO, will regulate the support program,” Croker said.

“This is also state-based, not national so cross-border businesses may need to demonstrate they are physically located and operating in NSW.

“The NSW grant is act of grace payment under the State law, meaning there is no proscriptive legislation like there was with JobKeeper,” Croker added. “Accountants are also able to attest that their clients satisfy eligibility criteria, and a template has now been published for this purpose.”

Of most interest to accountants is the NSW ‘JobSaver’ initiative.

“JobSaver involves tax free payments between $1000 and $10,000 a week that are paid fortnightly for the period from 18 July 2021 until the lockdown ends,” Croker explained. “Like the one-off grant, there is an employee retention condition and applications are expected to open on 26 July.”

Croker highlighted the fact that that the NSW COVID assistance coincides with a particularly busy time for accountants, as they help their clients prepare year end accounts and 2021 tax returns.

“JobSaver ends when the NSW lockdown ends but many NSW business will need on-going help,” Croker said. “Business recovery takes time and accountants will be helping clients negotiate with banks, landlords, suppliers and ATO debt collectors for months to come.”