Initiatives that started this year for SMEs and the changes for 2021

2020 has seen so many sudden changes and took a really interesting turn of events. So many people have been affected by the pandemic, and it’s either a blessing or a curse.

For those who have been heavily impacted by the virus negatively, the challenge is to get back up and start again or do-over. Fortunately, the federal government has started initiatives to be able to support individuals and SMEs this year and the next as the economy continues to rehabilitate from the impacts of the pandemic.

Here are some of the changes that will occur in 2021 that SMEs need to know.

JobKeeper extension

Early this year, the JobKeeper Program was announced to be able to support workers who were affected by the pandemic. Many businesses had to stop operations which then led to unemployment for so many workers. The JobKeeper payment scheme was established to support businesses and non-profit organizations affected by the pandemic. This was initiated to keep Australians working and was administered by the Australian Taxation Office. The program is set to extend until next year, starting January 4th until March 28th, 2020 with lower rates for both full-time and part-time workers.

According to the recent announcement, to claim JobKeeper payments, businesses need to show that their actual GST turnover has declined in December 2020 quarter relative to the same period in 2019. For the eligibility test, check this link.

SMEs are also allowed to have extra time to meet their reporting requirements over the Christmas and New Year period with the reporting dates extended until the 28th of January 2021 instead of the 14th.

HomeBuilder extension

The HomeBuilder grant was approved early this year to support Victorians who are looking into building their home. The HomeBuilder gives cash grants for approved applications and for housing construction programs. On the 29th of November, the Federal Government announced the HomeBuilder package extension until 31st of March 2021. This is a 3-month extension from its original deadline of 31st of December 2020. The extension of this grant has been advocated by Master Builders Victoria because of how helpful this is, not just to the industry, but to those who want to save funds while building their homes.

Insolvency process

Because of the coronavirus, so many businesses are facing bankruptcy. The new insolvency process allows business owners to restructure their debts while still staying in control of their businesses. The Insolvency process was legislated in November and according to the announcement, “the reforms will transition the insolvency framework from a ‘creditor in possession’ model to a ‘debtor in possession model’.

Also, “this allows businesses with liabilities of under $1 million to stay in control of their business and continue to trade while they restructure debts. It also imposes a shorter timeframe for a restructuring plan to be made and agreed on.”

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