COVID-19: Financial Support Measures for General Practices
There are a variety of support measures in place for general practices affected by the impact of COVID-19. These include support measures recently announced by the Australian Government, tax relief initiatives via the Australian Taxation Office and support packages from Australian banks.
We have developed a Financial Support Measures for General Practices documentsummarising some of the key information to assist in understanding the support your practice may be eligible for.
If you need help working out if you are eligible or understanding the criteria for financial support measures, our Workforce Support Officer, Rakesh Patel, is available to answer your questions by phone on 4708 8194 Tuesday or Thursday, or online.
Support Measures from the Australian Government
In March 2020, the Australian Government announced two major economic rescue packages worth $83.6bn to support businesses and households affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. These economic rescue packages (outlined below) are in addition to over $100bn in emergency banking measures.
- Cash payments for small and medium-sized businesses: The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers payment is available to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and non-profits (including charities).
- Support for business asset investment: The government has provided incentives to encourage businesses with a turnover of less than $500m to spend by increasing instant asset write-offs.
- Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses:
- The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive.
- The package also includes temporary relief for Directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent.
- Support for lending to small and medium-sized businesses: The Coronavirus SME guarantee scheme will support lending to small and medium-sized businesses with a turnover of less than $50m.
- Job Keeper payment: A new wage subsidy. Eligible businesses will receive $1500 per fortnight, per employee, from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Each business will then pay each eligible employee the flat payment.
- Practice Incentive Program Quality Improvement (PIP QI) incentive: There will be temporary increases to the PIP QI incentive payments for general practices that will increase support for bulk billed services and ensure patients keep access to essential face-to-face care.
- Bulk-billing Incentive payment:
- The bulk-billing incentive payment for pensioners, under-16s and concession card holders will be doubled for face-to-face and telehealth services during the course of the COVID-19 response.
- Australian Taxation Office – tax relief
- Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are being encouraged to contact the ATO to discuss relief options tailored to their needs and circumstances.
- Options available to assist eligible businesses impacted include deferral of payments for up to six months, the remitting of interest and penalties and the establishment of low interest payment plans.
- Call the ATO Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218 to discuss COVID-19 support options.
Support measures from the Government
- Small businesses which pay less than $7.5 million in taxable wages each year can apply to defer their payroll tax payment to July 21, 2020.
- Small to medium businesses with a payroll of between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500.
- Changes to the payroll tax exemption threshold are being brought forward; The threshold will increase to $1 million on July 1, 2020, 6 months earlier than planned.
Support packages from Australian banks
- The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has announced a small business relief package to support small business during COVID-19. All ABA member banks can participate.
- Broadly, the package includes a deferral of principal and interest repayment for all term loans and retail loans for 6 months, for small businesses with less than $3 million in total debt owed to credit providers. At the end of the deferral period businesses will not be required to pay the deferred interest in a lump sum. Either the term of the loan will be extended, or the level of loan repayments will be increased.
- Individual major banks have also announced measures, which can be viewed on their websites:
Other support links
In addition to the information provided above, the following links provide further generic information that may be of use to general practices: