Tax & AccountingMarch 26, 2020

COVID-19: ATO releases dedicated webpage

The ATO has set up a dedicated site as a “one stop shop” with essential information on tax and superannuation changes that have now become law following the passage of the Government’s Economic Support Package through the Parliament.

The Commissioner said that the ATO is ready to help all those who are being heavily affected by the challenging economic conditions created by the COVID-19 outbreak. The ATO’s coronavirus webpage provides information on what people need to know or do to access the COVID-19 tax or superannuation measures. 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, and
  • backing business investment by accelerating depreciation deductions.

Each measure has different timing, eligibility and processes.

Other options are also available to assist impacted businesses. They include:

  • deferring by up to six months the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, FBT assessments and excise
  • allowing businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting in to get quicker access to GST refunds
  • allowing businesses to vary 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 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.

Businesses wanting to utilise any of these options can contact the ATO over the coming weeks; it is not necessary for businesses to contact us immediately. Employers will still need to meet their ongoing super guarantee obligations for their employees.

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. Those impacted by COVID-19 requiring immediate assistance can contact the ATO on its Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218.

Source: ATO media release, 24 March 2020.

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