Weekly Digest – 20 October 2021

Weekly Digest – 20 October 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

We’re thinking of everyone affected by lockdowns around the country and encourage you to reach out if you have any questions about your business during this time.

Melbourne to Ease Lockdown

Melbourne is set to lift its stay-at-home orders by Friday. This comes as Victoria’s vaccination rate is set to reach 70% this week.

Melbourne has been in lockdown for a total of 262 days– the longest in the world. More easing of restrictions, including the reopening of retail stores, may be expected when 80% of Victorians are fully vaccinated. The government estimated Victoria will reach this target by 5 November 2021 at the latest.

ACT Opens Travel to Regional NSW

ACT relaxed travel restrictions from midday last Saturday, opening up a range of locations in NSW. The expanded travel bubble allows people living in Canberra and other approved NSW border postcodes to move more freely.

You can find a complete list of the areas included in the expanded travel bubble here.

Quarantine-Free Travel From NZ’s South Island to Australia

Months after the travel bubble was temporarily paused due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Australia, quarantine-free travel from New Zealand’s South Island to Australia will reopen from midnight Tuesday next week.

However, travel from the North Island will remain off limits until the end of the month. Those travelling from NZ will need to take a pre-departure PCR test within 72 hours of their flight and show evidence they are fully vaccinated. They should also declare they haven’t been to the North Island in the last 14 days.

International Vaccine Certificates Are Here

You can now access proof of vaccination to help you with international travel.

From Tuesday, those eligible can download a certificate from the MyGov website or the Medicare Express app. You need to have an Australian passport or visa, and your immunisation needs to be recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register.

When some international travel resumes, you’ll be able to present it either on your phone or as a printout when your passport is checked as you enter a country that requires full vaccination.

More Jobs Lost to Lockdowns

Australian employment fell sharply for the second consecutive month in September, as lockdowns forced businesses to lay off workers, while the jobless rate was held down by the huge decline in the number of people looking for work.

However, policymakers are expecting recovery in the coming months due to rapid progress in vaccinations that has allowed easing of restrictions in Sydney, with Melbourne and Canberra soon to follow.

The jobless rate climbed up to 4.6%, from 4.5%, but has been artificially held down by the restrictions which prevent people looking for work and being counted as unemployed.

JobMaker Hiring Credit Payments for 3rd Period

JobMaker Hiring Credit payments can be claimed by 31 October 2021 for additional eligible employees hired between 7 April 2021 and 6 July 2021. Eligible businesses can claim for up to a year for each additional eligible employee hired between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021. Get in touch with us for assistance in your claim.

Single Touch Payroll (STP) Quarterly Reporting Due Dates

From 1 July 2021, small employers must report any closely held payees through STP. Reports can be done every pay day or quarterly. Also, STP quarterly reporting concessions for micro employers are only available to those who meet certain eligibility requirements, including the need for exceptional circumstances to exist.

We can help you apply for this concession on your behalf. Those who haven’t started reporting through STP and don’t have a deferral or exemption must start reporting now.

Upcoming Key Dates for October 2021

Here are the upcoming key dates for the month of October:

21 Oct 2021

  • September monthly BAS due

28 Oct 2021

  • September quarter Super Guarantee due
  • September quarterly BAS due
  • September quarter PAYG instalment due

Change in Super Rules from 1 November for Your New Employees

There’s an upcoming change that involves an extra step to comply with ‘choice of fund’ rules when a new employee starts working for you. Currently, if new hires don’t choose their own Super fund, the employer can pay Super contributions for them to your default fund.

Starting 1 November, employers will need to request their ‘stapled super fund’ details from the ATO. A stapled super fund is an existing account which is linked to an employee, and this change in rules aim to minimise the number of additional Super accounts opened each time an individual starts a new job.

You can use online services for business to request for your new hires’ stapled super fund details. If you need help with your tax and super, get in touch with us!

Changes for Directors starting in November: Identification Number Needed

All directors of a company will need a director identification number (director ID) from November.

The director identification number is a unique identifier that allows shareholders, creditors, employees, and consumers to know certain details about the directors of a company. All directors are required by law to verify their identity with the Australian Business Registry Services before receiving a director ID.

All directors need to apply for their own ID so while we can’t apply for this on your behalf, we can help you if you have any questions.

You can also follow the steps for application here when it’s available in November.

Business Conditions Decline, But Sentiment Improves

NAB’s index of business conditions fell 9 points in September to 5, while its measure of business confidence rebounded by 19 points to 13. Firms in NSW looked forward to easing of stay-at-home rules beginning this week. Victoria and Canberra should start opening up later in October.

Disaster Payments to Be Scaled Back

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment which gives $750 a week to people who have lost at least 20 hours of work, and $450 a week to those who have lost between eight and 20 hours, will be wound back as each state and territory hits the 70% and 80% target vaccination rates for those aged 16 years old and above.

At 70% fully vaccinated, people will have to reapply each week for the payment, instead of it being automatically renewed. Meanwhile, at 80%, the payment will be phased out entirely within two weeks.

Support for Apprentices to be Expanded

The $3.9 billion Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program will extend support into the second and third year of an eligible Australian Apprenticeship through the $716 million Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program.

From October, eligible employers will receive a 10% wage subsidy in the second year of an eligible apprenticeship, and 5% in the third year. The government’s investment is expected to continue to support the 270,000 anticipated commencements under the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program from October 2020 to March 2022.

COVID-19 Government Support By State and Industry

Small businesses that are currently suffering from lockdowns can get financial assistance to help them get through the pandemic. You can find the latest government support schemes for each state or territory here.

The impacts of the COVID-19 restrictions vary from one industry to another. Here, you’ll find the latest government financial assistance available for particular industries.

NSW Grants

The NSW Government is offering financial support to businesses or not-for-profit organisations impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders. You can view the NSW Government COVID-19 Support Packages here. Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

ATO support for those affected by COVID-19 restrictions or disasters

The ATO has a range of support options to help those affected by disasters or those experiencing challenges due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions.

The ATO may be able to:

  • prioritise any refunds owed to you
  • set up a payment plan tailored to your individual situation
  • remit penalties or interest charged during the time you have been affected.

If you need help to manage your tax or superannuation obligations, please get in touch with us.

Modernise your Financial Department

It is not uncommon for startups and small businesses to operate with limited resources. But smart technology tools can enable small teams to operate at a larger level, giving them a competitive edge despite their size.

This Forbes article discusses how you can take a modern approach to finance and adopt a strategy that encourages business growth.

  • Employ more strategic cash flow management. Improving simple practices such as sending invoices as soon as possible, using online invoicing tools, evaluating where you can reduce expenses, and adjusting inventory.
  • Schedule regular financial forecasts to gauge profitability. Financial forecasting is critical for both short- and long-term scenario planning, and an effective tool to estimate profitability.
  • Invest in the right technology. Automation can make manual processes much more efficient, increasing the importance of an organisation’s finance tech stack.

Modernising financial management is not as difficult as it seems. However, it takes dedication to ensure your team is on the right track. If you need some guidance with your business finances, get in touch with us today.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.

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