Information and resources for sole-traders and businesses with employees. Find out about managing your SG obligations and what other support is available, including boosting cash flow, instant asset write-off and the backing business incentive.
We understand these circumstances can affect meeting your super and tax obligations
If you're having difficulty paying super or tax, we encourage you to explore your options and contact the ATO as early as possible. These escalating pressures can have a negative impact on your quality of life, support is available.
If you're an employer, you need to meet super guarantee (SG) obligations for your employees. By law, the contribution due date cannot be extended and super guarantee charge cannot be waived.
What if I can't afford to pay my employees' SG.
The quarterly deadline to pay super guarantee contributions to your employees can't be extended. Pay as much as you can by the due date, even if you can't pay in full. This will reduce the super guarantee charge.
If you haven't paid the full super guarantee by the due date:
- lodge a Super Guarantee Charge statement with the ATO; and
- pay the charge to the ATO.
If you fail to lodge an SGC statement or fail to pay the outstanding amount, penalties will apply including a general interest charge (in addition to the interest charged on the super contributions) and director penalty notices.
If a company does not pay SG, or pays it late, a director of the company becomes personally liable for any SG debt and any accrued penalties.
If you have trouble paying the super guarantee charge, the ATO can set up a payment arrangement with you – see pay in full or set up a payment plan.
While many employers pay SG contributions monthly, the ATO deadlines are quarterly. The quarterly deadlines are set out below.
|Payment period||SG deadline for each quarter|
|1 July – 30 September||28 October|
|1 October – 31 December||28 January|
|1 January – 31 March||28 April|
|1 April – 30 June||28 July|
ATO support options for businesses
If you're having difficulty meeting your obligations or paying your tax, we encourage you to contact the ATO as early as possible to discuss your situation.
There are a range of options designed to support you through this difficult period. This could include deferring your income tax, FBT and excise payment due dates up to 12 September 2020, stopping interest accruing on your tax liabilities, and low interest payment arrangements. We encourage you to explore the following options if your business is negatively affected by COVID-19.
The JobKeeper payment is intended to provide wage subsidies to businesses that are significantly affected by COVID-19. The support payments will be paid to employers, to then pass the payments onto their employees. Read more about eligibility and application processes for the JobKeeper payment.
Low-interest payment plans
If you or your business has been affected by COVID-19 and you need help to pay your existing and ongoing tax liabilities, contact the ATO to discuss entering a low-interest payment plan. You still need to lodge your activity statements and tax returns on time, even if you can't pay by the due date. You'll avoid a penalty for failing to lodge on time, and, it will demonstrate to the ATO that you're aware of your obligations and doing your best to meet them. Learn about ATO payment plans.
Changing GST reporting cycles or PAYG instalments
Are you considering temporarily changing your GST reporting cycle?
If you report quarterly and you are due for a GST refund, moving to monthly reporting means you can get quicker access to GST refunds you are entitled to. Before you make the change, there are important factors to consider. Visit the ATO website for more information.
Varying your PAYG instalments
If you are a pay as you go (PAYG) instalments payer, you can vary your PAYG instalments on your activity statement. You may also be able to claim a refund for any instalments made during the 2019–20 financial year. Visit the ATO website for more information.
Boosting cash flow
Legislation has been enacted to provide temporary cash flow support to small and medium businesses and not-for-profit organisations that employ staff during the economic downturn associated with COVID-19. This will be done through two sets of cash flow boosts delivered from 28 April 2020 to support employers to retain employees.
Tax-free cash flow boosts of between $20,000 and $100,000 will be provided to eligible businesses, delivered through credits in the activity statement system when eligible businesses lodge their activity statements. Visit the ATO website for more information.
Backing business investment
Measures introduced in March 2020 provide an incentive to businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million for the 2019–20 and 2020–21 income years, to deduct the cost of depreciating assets at an accelerated rate.
For each new asset, the accelerated depreciation deduction applies in the income year that the asset is first used or installed ready for use for a taxable purpose. The usual depreciating asset arrangements apply in the subsequent income years that the asset is held. For more information, visit the ATO website.
Instant asset write-off
From 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020 the instant asset write-off threshold amount for each asset has increased to $150,000 (up from $30,000) and eligibility has been expanded to cover businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million).
Under instant asset write-off eligible businesses can:
- immediately write off the cost of each asset that cost less than the threshold
- claim a tax deduction for the business portion of the purchase cost in the year the asset is first used or installed ready for use.
Instant asset write-off can be used for both new and second-hand assets., though exclusions and limits apply. Read more about the intant-asset write off on the ATO website.
Fringe Benefits Tax
During these difficult times, you may wish to provide extra assistance to your employees, in addition to their normal entitlements. Non-wage benefits may be subject to fringe benefits tax (FBT) unless an exemption applies. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has helpful resources. learn more about:
The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally disrupted our social and economic order
We are acutely aware of the critical impact COVID-19 is having on our members’ livelihoods and wellbeing. There are comprehensive ATO measures and tailored support for businesses during COVID-19. For more information and updates and to register your interest for the JobKeeper payments, visit the Australian Tax Office website.