Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.
Australia-Singapore Travel Lane Begins on 8 November
Australia and Switzerland will join the eleven countries – including the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and France – that have signed on to Singapore’s vaccination travel lane arrangement that replaces quarantine with COVID-19 testing pre-departure and on arrival. The start date for this long-awaited agreement will be on 8 November.
Officials Plan to Roll Out COVID-19 Booster Shots Soon
Officials are planning to roll out COVID-19 booster shots to prevent a resurgence of cases, as residents of Sydney and Melbourne start to enjoy more freedoms after months of lockdowns.
This comes as double-dose vaccination levels in Australia’s adult population nears 75%.
Melbourne Enjoys First Weekend After Long Lockdown
Melbourne started its first weekend out of lockdown with spontaneous street parties, live music and packed bars and restaurants. People also queued for barbers and breakfast restaurants, all of which are open only to the fully vaccinated.
While most retail outlets remain closed, further easing will come once 80% of Victorians are fully vaccinated– a target estimated to be reached by next weekend. Nearly 72% of adults in Australia are now fully vaccinated and nearly 87% have received one shot.
Outbound Travel Restrictions for Vaccinated Residents to be Lifted on 1 November
Fully-vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to travel outside the country without needing a special exemption from 1 November. The PM noted that the “national plan” was working and the country is opening up as vaccination rates continue to rise rapidly.
Skills Shortage After 2 Years of Lockdowns
After two years of stop-start lockdowns in the country, venues are facing a difficult summer after a huge exodus of holiday workers and foreign students.
Strict border closures have left a gaping hole in the market for casual workers, with hospitality-focused firms being forced to turn down some jobs even as the economy opens up.
Latest data show that the number of non-resident workers in the country was down by two-thirds in June 2021 from the start of 2020.
Economy Contracts by 3% in Q3
Australia’s Treasury expects the economy to have shrunk by 3% in Q3, as COVID-19 restrictions impacted economic activity. The Reserve Bank of Australia and economists had already pencilled in a drop in GDP in the quarter ended 30 September.
Despite this, the Treasury is confident of a swift recovery amid the massive build-up in savings by both households and businesses. According to latest data, household and non-financial business deposits are $330 billion higher than the end of 2019.
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:
28 Oct 2021
- September quarter Super Guarantee due
- September quarterly BAS due – Unless lodged by a Tax or BAS Agent
- September quarter PAYG instalment due – Unless lodged by a Tax or BAS Agent
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.
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.
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.
Get in touch
Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.