• Deborah Roscoe

COVID-19 Tax Assistance Measures


Tax Payment Deferrals:

The Australian Tax Office has communicated that businesses will be able to defer some payments and vary PAYG income tax instalments, activity statements and fringe benefits tax for up to 6 months.

This will be determined on a case by case basis and will not be applied automatically.

Alternatively, you can contact the ATO directly on their Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218.

GST Cycle change to Monthly?

The Tax Office has also mentioned that if you are registered for GST on a quarterly basis and are likely to expect a refund of GST during this period, you can change your GST reporting and lodgement cycle to monthly.

There are concerns and requirements to note with this option which are:

  • You can only change the GST reporting cycle to monthly at the start of each quarter, ie the next one being before 1 April 2020.

  • You must then keep the GST lodgement cycle on a monthly basis for 12 months before being able to change it back to quarterly.

  • This may be worthwhile if you anticipate a net GST refund on expenses during this period which will bring the GST refund forward, but you will have to report and lodge GST monthly for 12 months under this option.

  • Note, your PAYG withholding on wages reporting cycle can remain quarterly if you change your GST cycle to monthly.

Vary Your PAYG Instalments?

For Quarterly Payers of PAYG Instalment Tax, the Tax Office has advised that you can vary your PAYG instalments down on your Activity Statement for the March 2020 Quarter.

The Tax Office has publicly stated on their website, that they will not charge or apply penalties or interest to any varied PAYG instalments under this measure for the financial year ended 30 June 2020.

If you vary your PAYG instalments due to the business impact of the coronavirus, you may also be able to receive a refund of the PAYG instalments paid in the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of all measures available for all taxpayers. Please seek advice for your specific circumstances.