ACT’s Economic Response COVID19

2 June

Payroll Tax Relief

All businesses with annual taxable wages of up to $10 million can defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, interest free until 1July 2022.

  • For those who lodge monthly, deferral can commence for their July 2020 lodgement
  • For those who lodge annually they can defer payment of their full 2020-21 payroll tax liability.

Hospitality (cafes, pubs, hotels, clubs and restaurants), creative arts and entertainment industries will receive a one-off, six-month waiver of payroll tax from April to September 2020.

Businesses will need to complete a simple online application form at ACT Revenue Office

ACT businesses in the construction industry can defer their payroll tax liability, interest free for the six months from April to September 2020. Interest will not be charged on deferred amounts until 1 September 2020.

Further information can be found at treasury.act.gov.au

Rideshare and taxi vehicle licence fees

Rideshare vehicle licence fee will be waived for 12 months for rideshare operators from 1 April 2020 as part of the normal licencing processes. If licences have already been prepaid 12 months in advance, an additional 12 months credit will be added to the license at the next due date.The ACT Government will also waive all government leased taxi plate fees, including wheelchair accessible taxis to help support this vital service.

The $48.80 re-establishment fee for taxi service operators wanting to re-register their vehicles after cancelling their registration due to COVID-19. The requirement for a roadworthy inspection will be waived for any taxis being re-registered, if the vehicle has undergone a roadworthy inspection in the past 9 months.

Hire car annual licence fee for 12 months. If hire car operators have paid for a 6-year licence, an additional 12 months credit will be added to their licence starting from the next due date.

The government will also provide a one-off payment of up to $5,000 to taxi operators who lease their taxi plates from private owners. This is in line with support already being provided to taxi operators who lease government issued plates in the Territory.

Utilities rebates

For small business owners with electricity usage below 100 megawatts per year will see rebates of $750 automatically applied to their next electricity bill in around June or July 2020.

Hotels and serviced apartments will receive a rebate of the water and sewerage fixed charges on Icon Water bills for the first two quarters of 2020-21, saving businesses hundreds of dollars in fixed charges as they transition to reopening safely. Eligible businesses will need to apply to receive this rebate.

Cafes, restaurants and takeaways will receive a one-off rebate of $1,000 on electricity bills issued in the first quarter of 2020-21. Eligible businesses will need to apply to receive this rebate.

Licensing fees

On liquor licencees and Off licencees with gross liquor purchase value of $3 million or less in the last reporting year will receive a 12-month waiver of their annual food business registration and liquor licencing fees from 1 April 2020. Outdoor dining fees for 2020-2021 will also be waived. The application fee for a general liquor licence will be waived for existing on licensees from 22 May 2020 until 31 December 2020.

Commercial liquor permits issued to allow takeaway sales during COVID-19 can now be extended to run up to a total of 12 months free of charge. These permits support restaurants and cafes to continue to offer takeaway and home delivery options. These permits were initially offered to on licensees for three months from 23 March 2020.

If you hold an existing ON licence, you can also choose to move to a general liquor licence, free of charge until 31 December 2020 to provide an option to broaden your business model.

If food business registration has been prepaid for more than one year in advance, an additional 12 months will be added to the license.

Micro-producers will receive a 90 per cent reduction off their application fee in the first year of their off licence if they produce and sell up to $100,000 of liquor on their licenced premises. This will start from 22 May 2020. Eligibility criteria applies.

Community Clubs

  • Providing gaming machine licensees with the opportunity to access a payment of $15,000 per authorisation if they voluntarily surrender gaming machine authorisations
  • A waiver/refund of gaming machine tax liabilities for clubs for March 2020 gaming activity (for clubs that pay tax monthly) or gaming activity in the first quarter of 2020 (for clubs eligible to pay tax quarterly)
  • Providing clubs with a rebate of fixed water and sewerage charges on their Icon Water bills for the next two quarters
  • a waiver/refund of the annual licence fee and gaming tax liabilities for March 2020 activity for Casino Canberra.

Commercial general rates rebate

Businesses will receive a rebate on the fixed charge for 2019-20 on commercial rates for properties with an Average Unimproved Value below $2m and:

  • 2019-20 quarter four commercial general rates notices will be delayed by four weeks. Notices will be payable one month after the date of issue.
  • a credit of $2,622 (equivalent to the annual fixed charge) automatically applied to their quarter four 2019-20 general rates. If bills are already paid in full or if the quarterly bill is less than the credit, this credit will be rolled over to the next bill.
  • the 2020-21 Fire and Emergency Services Levy will be charged at the 2019-20 amount.

Rates charges for commercial property owners who have been affected by COVID-19 can be deferred (interest free) up to October 2020.

The City Centre Marketing and Improvement Levy will be reduced by 50 per cent in 2020-21 for commercial properties in the city centre and Braddon. The remaining 50 per cent will be deferred by six months until February 2021.

Commercial tenancy relief

The ACT Government is implementing the Mandatory Code of Conduct (National Code) through the Leases (Commercial and Retail) COVID-19 Emergency Response Commercial Leases Declaration 2020 which requires landlords to negotiate in good faith with tenants financially impacted by COVID-19 before seeking to evict the tenant or exercise a right of enforcement under a lease, to which the Leases Act applies.

Rates rebates

If a commercial tenant’s business income has reduced by at least 30 per cent due to COVID‑19, landlords can apply for a rebate on their commercial rates from 1 April 2020 for six months if they reduce that tenant’s rent.

Owner-operators significantly impacted can also apply for a rebate, from 1 April 2020 for six months, consistent with the tiered category system.

Category 1

  • Businesses partially or not affected (no more than 30 per cent reduction in business income)
  • Business tenants should continue to pay rent and no rental reduction assistance will be provided by the ACT Government.

Category 2

  • Businesses significantly affected (at least 30 per cent reduction in business income) but still operating
  • Landlords with business tenants in this category, can receive 25 per cent of rent reduction provided to tenants as a rebate from the government, capped at the lower of $5,000 per quarter (or around $380 per week) or total quarterly rates
  • Owner-operated properties can receive a rebate equal to 50 per cent of their rates, capped at $5,000 per quarter (or around $380 per week).

Category 3

  • Businesses who have effectively shut-down operations (at least 80 per cent reduction in business income)
  • Landlords with business tenants in this category, can receive 50 per cent of rent reduction provided to tenants as a rebate from the government, capped at the lower of $8,000 per quarter (or around $615 per week) or total quarterly rates
  • Owner-operated properties can receive a rebate equal to 80 per cent of their rates, capped at $8,000 per quarter (or around $615 per week).

Rental relief to tenants of ACT Government owned properties

Commercial tenants significantly affected by COVID-19 may receive rental relief from 1 April 2020 for up to six-months.