Bushfire Support and Assistance

Ten million hectares, lives lost, wildlife on the brink, billions in lost revenue and clean-up costs. For many, returning life to normal is a long way off this summer

Tax Reflief

The ATO has provided relief from lodgement compliance and payment obligations for those impacted by bushfires (see the list of affected postcodes) including:

  • An automatic extension until 28 May 2020 to lodge and pay activity statements, income tax, SMSF and FBT lodgements.
  • The deferral does not apply to:
  • Superannuation guarantee payments or lodgements
  • Large PAYG withholders (although they will be assessed on a case by case basis if they apply for relief from the ATO)
  • Fast tracking of refunds due
  • Tax debt recovery on hold until 28 May 2020.
  • Impacted taxpayers need to apply for special consideration. The ATO has stated they will, “consider releasing individuals and businesses from income tax and fringe benefits tax debts if they are experiencing serious hardship.”
  • Interest and penalties accrued by taxpayers in affected areas since the bushfires commenced will be remitted

Support for Business

Businesses in fire affected areas that have suffered direct losses or indirect economic loss may be able to access:

  • Recovery grants of up to $50,000 (tax free)
  • Concessional loans of up to $500,000 for eligible small businesses (including farmers, fishers and foresters) and non-profit organisations who have suffered significant asset loss of significant loss to revenue. The loan would be for up to 10 years and used for the purposes of restoring or replacing damaged assets and for working capital.

Support for Volunteer Firefighters

Volunteer firefighters in NSW and QLD may be eligible for payments of up to $300 per day, with a cap of $6,000. The payments are not means tested and are tax-free. The payment is a Federal Government initiative administered by the State Governments (see Volunteer Firefighter Payment for NSW and Volunteer Compensation Package for QLD).

If you are in the public sector, you now have access to 20 days of paid emergency services leave to work on the front lines in addition to normal leave provisions.

Many telecommunications providers are offering eligible volunteer firefights and SES volunteers support. Optus and Telstra, for example, will cover the bills of these volunteers for December 2019 and January 2020.

If we can assist with these claims and of course, work with the ATO on disaster relief requirements, please let us know.

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