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Covid-19 Govt Support For Business By Country + How to Apply

April 6, 2020

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Government Coronavirus support packages covered in this article:

The Australian Government Coronavirus support package

The Australian Government announced two separate support packages and A$100 billion in emergency banking measures for a combined A$320 billion in support for Australian households and businesses.

Australia has rolled out two Coronavirus support packages to date, totalling A$320 billion. Photo credit: Aditya Joshi

What’s in the package for Australian businesses?

JobKeeper Payments

What: A$1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee for a maximum of 6 months

Who: Businesses, Not-For-Profits and Sole Traders experiencing a 30% drop in turnover (for companies of less than A$1 billion), or a 50% drop (companies greater than A$1 billion). Banks with over $100 billion in total liabilities are not eligible.

How: Register via the ATO from March 30, prove the required drop in turnover, notify your employees, and update the ATO monthly. Payments commence May

Tax Relief

What: Reduce your income tax payments by offsetting large assets against your income all at once. Specifically: The Instant Asset Write Off threshold is being raised to $150,000 and expanded in scope

Who: All businesses with aggregated annual turnover less than $500 million until 30 June 2020

Money for SMEs

What: A$20,000-$100,000 payment for employers, based on the income tax they normally withhold  

Who: SMEs and NFPs with employees that have aggregated annual turnover under A$50 million

How: Automatic credit by the ATO from 28 April 2020 upon employers lodging eligible upcoming activity statements

Early Super Access

What: Sole Traders can access superannuation fund early

Who: Sole traders that have their business suspended or have a reduction in turnover of 20%

How: Apply via Mygov.

Business Safety Net

What: Harder for creditors to make statutory demands on a company or initiate bankruptcy; directors get temporary personal liability relief

Who: Debtors, company owners and directors

Access to loans

What: The Government will underwrite unsecured loans of up to $250,000 per borrower. Repayment term is three years, with a six month repayment holiday

Who: SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million

How: Via banks from April 2020 until 30 September 2020

The United Kingdom Government Coronavirus support package

At least £428 billion is being injected into the UK economy through a massive business bailout programme and wage support.

The UK’s support package amounts to £428 billion. Photo credit: by Heidi Fin

What’s in the package for UK businesses?

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

What: Employers can claim 80% of wages for workers on a leave of absence for up to £2,500 a month, for the 3 months starting from March 1. Expected to be open in April 2020.

Who: Any UK organisation with employees, a UK bank account, and with a PAYE payroll scheme since 28 February 2020

How: Online portal yet to be launched

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

What: Partially Government backed loans up to £5 million with repayment terms up to six years. The borrower remains 100% liable for the debt but Government covers interest for the first year

Who: UK businesses up to £45 million in turnover. Banks, insurers, public sector bodies and some others not eligible. See the eligibility checklist here

How: Approach a lender directly

Rates relief for closed businesses

What: 12 month business rates holiday for affected retail, hospitality, nursery and leisure businesses

Who: Rate paying businesses in these sectors, in England only

How: Automatically via local bodies

Commercial tenants protected from eviction

What: No business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a rent payment up until 30 June. Non-payers are still liable for all debt

Who: All commercial tenants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

How: No action needed

Deferred VAT & Tax Relief

What: Both VAT and other business tax payments can be deferred

Who: UK VAT registered business with payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 + others

How: Via  

Reclaiming sick pay

What: The Government will reimburse businesses for up to two weeks’ sick pay issued to employees with Covid-19

Who: Employers with fewer than 250 employees

How: Scheme still tbc

Covid-19 Corporate Financing

What: The Bank of England will buy debt from large affected companies in order to provide short term liquidity

Who: Companies that had a short or long-term rating of investment grade, as at 1 March 2020

How: Directly via these banks

The Republic of Ireland Coronavirus support package

Ireland has set aside €3.7 billion for business and workers in an attempt to stave off the worst of Covid-19’s impacts.

Irish businesses have a variety of supports. Photo credit: Nicholas Punter

What’s in the package for Irish businesses?

Temporary Wage Subsidy

What: 70% of take home pay up to a maximum weekly tax free amount of €410. The scheme runs for 12 weeks from 26 March 2020.

Who: Employers in all sectors with a minimum of 25% decline in turnover, and an inability to pay normal wages. Employees must have been on payroll in February 2020

How: Apply via Revenue (Irish tax and customs)

Working Capital Loan Scheme + Business Financial Planning Grant

What: Loans from €25,000 to €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) with a maximum interest rate of 4%. Plus a €5,000 grant towards financial planning / application costs via Enterprise Ireland

Who: Business with up to 499 employees; some exclusions apply

How: Apply via the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

The Business Continuity Voucher

What: €2,500 towards third party consultancy costs to develop strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic

Who: Businesses employing up to 50 people

How: Via

Commercial rates relief

What: Commercial rates will be deferred for the most affected sectors for three months, until end-May; Restaurants may also act as takeaways without apply for planning permission

Who: Retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors

How: Via local authorities

Tax relief

What: A wide range of tax measures have been relaxed and deadlines deferred

Who: Irish SMEs (€3 million turnover or less)

How: Details via Revenue

The New Zealand Government support package

In mid-March the New Zealand Government announced a $12.1 billion package, consisting of $8.7 billion in business and wage support, and the remainder in health, and welfare and spending stimulus.

The primary element of support for business to date has been wage subsidies. Photo Credit: Pat Ho

What’s in the package for NZ businesses?

Wage subsidy scheme

What: 12 weeks of lump-sum wage support paid to affected employers, amounting to $585.80 per week for each full time (20hrs+) employee and $350 per week for part time

Who: NZ companies suffering – or projected to suffer – a 30% loss in revenue between January 2020 and June 2020, measured year-on-year

How: Apply via Work and Income NZ using this form. Employers must sign a declaration that they will retain and pay their employees for the period covered, among other details. Money is deposited within 5 working days

Tax relief

What: Purchases of assets up to $5000 can be deducted from income in full (up from $500);

Commercial and industrial building owners (including hotels and motels) can also deduct depreciation of buildings, and earthquake strengthening work, by 2% yearly, reducing provisional tax immediately. Some relief from provisional tax and late payment penalties.

Who: All businesses; Commercial and industrial building owners

How: No claim needed. Administered by Inland Revenue

The US Government support package

The US Senate passed a US$2 trillion rescue package on March 24, with much of the funding taking the form of loans that won’t need to be repaid if applicants fulfil set criteria, plus tax relief, grants and direct payments to all Americans.

The US support package is both enormous and widespread. Photo Credit: Andy Feliciotti

What’s in the package for US businesses?

Paycheck Protection Program

What: Loans of up to US$10 million to cover payroll, paid sick leave, insurance premiums, rent, utilities, and mortgage payments. If for the following eight weeks you keep your staff on and don’t reduce their pay by more than 25% you don’t have to pay it back

Who: Companies with fewer than 500 employees, plus NFPs, veterans and tribal groups. A salary cap of US$100,000 per employee limits the amount of payroll relief high-earners can receive

How: Directly via banks after completing application form. Apply by June 30, 2020. Details tbc here

Sick leave relief

What: Tax credits to companies to cover sick leave payments for workers, plus paid family leave due to Covid-19: 80 hours paid sick leave, up to an additional ten weeks of paid family leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed. Period covered is April 1 – December 31, 2020.

Who: Businesses with fewer than 500 employees

How: Apply here via the IRS

SBA loan forgiveness

What: Six month loan repayment holiday for those in the Small Business Administration programme. These repayments won’t have to be remade

Who: Small business owners participating in the 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, or microloan programs

How: No action required  

Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance

What: Low interest loans of up to $10 million, with $10,000 upfront that doesn’t need to be repaid

Who: Companies with fewer than 500 employees, independent contractors, Co-ops, NFPs and tribal groups

How: Online application via the Small Business Association  

Tax rebates for retaining staff

What: Up to $5,000 per worker in tax credits to businesses that retain idled staff

Who: Businesses that can demonstrate a 50% loss compared to the same quarter in previous years. You can only get the tax credit OR the SBA loan, not both

How: Details tbc via the IRS: “Do not call. Check back for updates”

Tax relief for retailers, restaurants and hotels

What: Property improvements now immediately tax deductable for retailers, restaurants and hotels

How: Details tbc

Employer tax relief

What: Social Security tax of 6.2% deferred, to be repaid in following two years

Who: Employers and the self-employed

How: Details tbc via the IRS: “Do not call. Check back for updates”

Airline grants, loans and tax relief

What: US$29 billion in grants for wage relief and $US29 billion in low cost loans and loan guarantees – plus exemption from excise, fuel and cargo taxes

Who: Airline companies, repair stations and ticket agents

How: Details tbc

Healthcare provider grants

What: Healthcare providers to receive US$100 billion in grants plus 20% increase in Medicare for treating Covid-19 patients

Who: Largely hospitals

How: Details tbc

The Canadian Government Coronavirus support package

The aid package includes C$52 billion in direct financial support for individuals and businesses and C$55 billion in tax deferrals.

Both tax relief and direct support will help prop up Canadian businesses. Photo Credit: Pam Menegakis

What’s in the package for Canadian businesses?

Work Sharing Program extended

What: The maximum duration of the WSP period has extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. The WSP provides wage subsidies if employers reduce hours rather than lay off staff

Who: Small businesses and NFPs operating in Canada for two years or more that paid C$50,000 to C$1 million in total payroll in 2019

How: Details tbc

Small business wage subsidies

What: Up to 75% wage subsidy for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15

Who: Details tbc

How: Details tbc

Canada Emergency Business Account

What: Interest-free loans up to C$40,000

Who: Small businesses and NFPs that can demonstrate they paid C$50,000 to C$1 million in total payroll in 2019

How: Work with established financial institutions. “Programs will roll out in the three weeks after March 27”

Business Credit Availability Program

What: Co-lending and Loan Guarantees

Who: “Credit-worthy Canadian businesses with viable business models”

How: Work with established financial institutions. “Programs will roll out in the three weeks after March 27”

Tax relief

What: Business tax payments can be deferred until after August 31, 2020

Who: Corporations, the self-employed, trusts and charities

How: No action required. See the CRA for details

Farm and food business support

What: Farm Credit Canada is easing lending criteria: deferral of principal and interest payments up to six months on existing loans OR deferral of principal payments up to 12 months, plus additional credit lines up to C$500,000

Who: Producers, agribusinesses and food processors

How: Contact your local FCC branch

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