- Accountants are best placed to help eligible business owners apply for a COVID-19 business grant
- Xero has released a ‘COVID-19 Business Support’ calculator to help advisers
- The NSW and Commonwealth governments are also committing more than $17 million to a state-wide mental health support package
If you’re an accountant or BAS agent with clients in New South Wales, chances are, you’ve heard about the new support package for businesses impacted by the Greater Sydney lockdown and those on the NSW border with Victoria.
As of Tuesday, 20 July, eligible business owners can apply for a COVID-19 business grant. We’ve outlined this process on the Xero website here. However, in order to qualify for financial assistance, many business owners are going to need your help.
At this stage, to apply for a COVID-19 business grant, your clients will need a letter from you (download the Service NSW template here or look to the version provided by your professional body) demonstrating a decline in turnover of at least 30% across a minimum fortnightly period of any interval between 26 June to 17 July (the end date was previously marked as 26 July and has since been updated by Service NSW). This must be compared to the same period in 2019.
For businesses on the NSW border with Victoria impacted by stay-at-home restrictions that began on 27 May, a different time frame could apply. Any fortnight between 27 May to 17 July may be used to show a decline in turnover compared to the same minimum period in 2019.
To help make this assessment easier, Xero has released a ‘COVID-19 Business Support’ tool for advisers to help clients assess their eligibility.
Picture: Joseph Lyons, managing director, Xero Australia and Asia.
“To help make this assessment easier, Xero has released a ‘COVID-19 Business Support’ tool for advisers to help clients assess their eligibility.”
Aside from the NSW COVID-19 business grants, the JobSaver and COVID-19 micro business grant applications are expected to open later in July, with the same 30% decline in turnover eligibility criteria. Encourage your clients to register their interest with Service NSW to make sure they’re notified as soon as these support measures become available.
What should I do next?
Once you know how many businesses on your books intend to claim a COVID-19 business grant, you could start by triaging appointments early this week. At this stage, you must use the letter template provided by Service NSW or your professional body to verify a decline in turnover. As well as this, your clients will need to provide proof of identity documents, an Australian income tax return, and other information in order to apply.
From there, they’ll be able to submit an application via their MyServiceNSW account, using the step-by-step instructions.
Are there any other ways that I can support my clients?
Here is a full list of the grants, loans and support measures announced by the NSW government.
As well as financial assistance, the NSW and Commonwealth governments are committing over $17 million to a state-wide mental health support package. This will provide a boost to services such as Lifeline and Sonder – both of which offer free, round-the-clock counselling.
For wellbeing support that’s tailored to small business owners and employers, there’s also Beyond Blue’s NewAccess service for free mental health coaching and the Ahead for Business wellbeing plan for managing stress. Both are available to any business owner – including advisors.
There’s also the Beyond Blue course in Xero Central for Xero users, specifically designed to show small business advisors how to help their clients and themselves with day-to-day wellbeing.
A version of this story first appeared on the Xero website.
Summary of NSW COVID-19 lockdown business support
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