Q: What grants are available under the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant package?

The COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant is comprised of two grants:

  1. Employing Businesses, that meet the eligibility criteria, have access to a $6,000 grant; and
  2. Non-employing Businesses, that meet the eligibility criteria, have access to a $2,000 grant.

Q: I operate a mobile business. Can I apply for this grant?

Yes, mobile businesses are eligible to apply for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant of $6,000 for employing businesses and $2,000 for non-employing businesses, subject to meeting the other eligibility criteria.

Q: What industry sectors are eligible for COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant?

There is no ANZSIC code eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant.

Q: Are operators of taxis, Ubers and other commercial passenger vehicle ride services eligible for a grant?

Yes, subject to meeting all the eligibly criteria for COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant.

Q: Is there a minimum turnover test to apply for the grant?

No. The COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant does not have a minimum turnover requirement, but a business must be registered for GST as at 12:01am Wednesday, 20 July 2021 to be eligible.

Q: Is a contractor considered an employee for the purpose of assessing eligibility for the $6,000 COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant (Employing Business)?

To be considered an employee, staff must be under the control of the business, receive regular PAYG salary or wages from the business, and have Pay As You Go Withholding amounts as well as superannuation paid by the employing business.

Q: Are sole-traders eligible for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant?

Sole traders that do not employ staff may apply for the $2,000 (non-employing business) grant.

Sole traders that employ staff may apply for the $6,000 (employing business) grant.  A business or not-for-profit must have employed staff as at 12:01am Wednesday, 20 July 2021 to be eligible for this grant.  To be considered an employee, staff must be under the control of the business, receive regular PAYG salary or wages, and have Pay As You Go Withholding amounts and superannuation paid by the employer.  An owner is not considered to be an employee for the purpose of the $6,000 grant.

Q: Are partners in a partnership eligible for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant?

The $2,000 (non-employing business) grant is open to partnerships that do not employ staff.

To be eligible for the $6,000 (employing business) grant a business or not-for-profit must have employed staff as at 12:01am Wednesday, 20 July 2021.  Partners are not considered to be employees for the purpose of the $6,000 grant.

Q: Are Trusts eligible for COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant?

A trust structure does not prevent an applicant from applying or being eligible for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant. The trust will still need to meet all the criteria of the grant programs.

A beneficiary of a trust is not deemed an employee, just because they are a beneficiary. Being deemed an employee requires a genuine employer/employee relationship with Pay As You Go Withholding amounts and superannuation paid by the employer.

Q: Are directors or shareholders of a company deemed to be an employee for COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant?

A company can employ a director or shareholder in a role other than a director or shareholder. The employee would receive regular PAYG salary or wages, and Pay As You Go Withholding amounts and superannuation would be paid by the employer. Where the company employs workers, including a director or shareholder, they may be eligible for the $6,000 (employing business) grant.

Q: I operate multiple separate and distinct businesses with no employees. Am I eligible for a grant for each business?

No. Multiple non-employing businesses meeting the eligibility criteria that are controlled by one individual, company, partnership, or trustee, are able to apply for one grant only for all non-employing businesses controlled by the individual, company, partnership, or trustee.

Q: How do I calculate turnover?

Turnover will be defined according to the current calculation for GST purposes and is reported on Business Activity Statements. It includes all taxable supplies and all GST free supplies but not input taxed supplies.

Under the GST law, only Australian based sales are included and therefore, only Australian based turnover is relevant.

Q: What evidence do I need to provide to prove my business has had a 50 per cent decline in turnover?

Businesses will be required to declare a reduction in turnover due to restricted trading conditions. They will not be required to provide any supporting information at the time of application but will be required to retain supporting information for 2 years that could be made available if required such as:

  • Turnover comparison data for the assessment periods;
  • Emails or texts to or from clients or suppliers detailing cancelled orders or appointments;
  • Receipts for refunds provided;
  • Invoices or delivery dockets.

Q. What are the key reference periods for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant?

The Impacted and Benchmark Periods are defined as incorporating the dates within:

  • Impacted Period: 20 July 2021 to 31 August 2021
  • Benchmark Period:
    • For businesses that were actively trading in 2019: 20 July 2019 to 31 August 2019, or
    • For businesses that were not actively trading in 2019: 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021.

Q. How do I choose my two-week impacted period?

Businesses can choose any relevant two-week period between 20 July 2021 and 31 August 2021 to compare to the same two-week period in 2019 (or 2021 in exceptional circumstances - explained further below).

Example: Business A has selected the following fortnight as their two-week impacted period

Monday, 2 August 2021- Sunday, 15 August 2021 (inclusive)

Q. How do I choose a two-week benchmark period as a comparison point?

Businesses must choose a the same two-week benchmark period in 2019 as their two-week impacted period, noting that slight adjustments for trading days are acceptable.

Example: Business A would be required to select the following fortnight as their comparison point (based on their selected two-week impacted period above)

Monday, 5 August 2019- Sunday, 18 August 2019 (inclusive)

This reflects a small adjustment to allow for the same amount of trading days in both the two‑week benchmark period as their two-week impacted period.

Q. Can I choose a comparison point from a different year?

The comparison point (two-week benchmark period) must be the same time of the year in 2019 as the impacted period unless there are exceptional circumstances that affected your turnover that include:

  • natural disasters;
  • sickness, injury or leave of key personnel;
  • acquisition, disposal, or restructure that changed the entity’s turnover;
  • a business was not trading in 2019; or
  • a business’ start-up phase​.

In these circumstances, a business can use their average fortnightly trading activity between 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021 as a comparison point.

Example: Business B was not trading in 2019. They would be required to select their average fortnightly trading activity between 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021 as a comparison point.

Q. How do I calculate whether my business satisfies the 50 per cent reduction in turnover test?

To calculate whether a business satisfies the 50 per cent reduction in turnover test the following steps are required:

  1. Select a consecutive two-week trading period within the Impacted Period where the business turnover was most impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
  2. Select the same consecutive two-week trading period as a Comparison Point within the Benchmark Period.
  3. Calculate the reduction in turnover using the following formula,

Reduction in turnover % = [1-(GST turnover in two-week impacted period/GST turnover in two-week benchmark period)] x 100  

If the reduction in turnover (as calculated using this formula) is less than 50 per cent, then the business is not eligible for this grant.

Example:

Business An impacted Period: Monday, 2 August 2021 - Sunday, 15 August 2021 (inclusive) with a turnover of $500.

Business A Comparison Point: Monday, 5 August 2019 - Sunday, 18 August 2019 (inclusive) with a turnover of $2,000.

Reduction in turnover % = [1-($500 /$2000)] x 100 = 75% (eligible)

Q: I run a not-for-profit organisation. Can I apply for a grant under the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant?

Not-for-profit organisations may apply for a grant as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

Q: I am a not-for-profit with turnover above $75,000 but am not registered for GST is my NFP eligible for the grant?

The BAS registration threshold for not-for-profit organisations is $150,000 so it is possible to have annual turnover greater than $75,000 but not be registered.  Not-for-profit organisations that are not registered for GST are asked to upload evidence with their application that annual turnover is greater than $75,000. In this instance, NFPs should answer “yes” to the statement “The business was registered for GST at 20 July 2021 or is a not-for–profit not registered for GST with an annual turnover in excess of $75,000 per annum.

Q: I recently registered my business for GST. Will this affect my eligibility?

To be eligible for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant your business must have had an active GST registration as at 12:01am Wednesday, 20 July 2021. Note the exemption for NFPs.

Q: What are acceptable versions of BAS?

  1. Evidence must clearly indicate that the business activity statement has been lodged with the ATO (lodged Business Activity Statements are available on the ATO’s Business Portal or through your tax agent).
  2. Activity has occurred in FY2020-21 or FY2019-20 (can be either monthly or quarterly BAS, depending on how your business reports).
  3. If on an ATO letterhead – it should include the phrase “Activity Statement”.
  4. Multiple forms of evidence may make up an acceptable submission, as long as there is:
    1. Evidence it has been lodged with the ATO (could include payment confirmation).
    2. An ABN (first 11 digits of BPAY reference may include ABN if not stated elsewhere).
    3. Activity has occurred in the current financial year

Q: If I am a successful applicant, are there restrictions on what I can spend the funds on?

No. The grants are provided to support eligible businesses that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19.
This may include expenditure on:

  • Utilities, salaries and rent.
  • Seeking financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning.
  • Developing the business through marketing and communications activities.
  • Other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.

Q: Are JobKeeper payments included to calculate the payroll threshold ($10 million total Australian taxable payroll)?

JobKeeper payments are excluded from the calculation of total Australian payroll.

Q: I have already received a COVID-19 Business Support Grant from the Government of South Australia to assist my business. Can I still apply for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant?

No. Businesses will not be eligible to receive a COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant if they have received support under any of the State Government COVID-19 support packages launched on and after 20 July 2021, including:

  • COVID-19 Business Support Grant – July 2021;
  • COVID-19 Additional Business Support Grant;
  • COVID-19 Tourism and Hospitality Grant; or
  • Major Events Support Grant.

Q: Can I repay my previous COVID-19 Assistance Grant in order to apply for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant?

No. Businesses will not be eligible to receive a COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant if they have received support under any of the State Government COVID-19 support packages launched on and after 20 July 2021 irrespective of whether they pay back a previous grant amount. Recipients that have provided false or misleading information in a grant application and are legally required to repay the grant are not eligible for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant.

The larger grant amounts reflect a business’ inability to receive other State financial assistance since 20 July 2021, the 50% turnover decline requirement and the significant and compounding impact on the business over that period.

Q: I’m awaiting the outcome of an application for another South Australian Government business support program. Can I apply for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant?

If you are awaiting the outcome of another application to another COVID‑19 South Australian Government business grant program, you may apply for a grant under this program but your existing application to another program will be considered first.

This may delay the outcome of an application to this program.

Q: Am I eligible for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant if I have received the Commonwealth Government COVID‑19 Disaster Payment?

Businesses may have received Commonwealth Government support. This does not affect your eligibility to apply for the COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant.

Q: Can my accountant/lawyer apply on my behalf?

Yes, it is permissible for an agent such as an accountant or lawyer to submit the application on behalf of business provided they have been instructed to do so by the following authorised people:

  • In the case of a business that is a sole trader that employs, the sole trader
  • In the case of a business that is a partnership that employs, a partner
  • In the case of a business that is a body corporate that employs, a director, secretary, public officer or equivalent.

Q: Is the Business Support Grant taxable?

An application is being lodged with the ATO for the grants to be treated as Non Income Non Exempt in accordance with the treatment afforded similar COVID-19 Business Assistance Programs.

Until a ruling has been received determining otherwise, the grants will be treated as assessable income.