If your business has not taken advantage of the already extended Small Business Assistance Package make sure to do before time runs out. The Package, which was originally intended to expire on 30 June, 2010, has been extended until 30 June 2011. Even though Australia has avoided a recession, owing to the strength and resilience of our economy, the Gillard Government has recognised that small businesses are the backbone of that economy and still in need of help.

The extension of the Small Business Assistance Package will mean that eligible businesses with a turnover of $2 million or less will continue to have access to:

•    A twelve month general interest charge (GIC) payment arrangement with the Tax Office, and
•    A deferral of activity statement payment due dates.

In order to register for this, you will need to make sure all of your lodgements are up to date before you apply. The agreement also requires that the payment plan be mutually acceptable and sustainable, and strictly adhered to for the period. This may require submissions to the ATO which could include budgets and forecasts.

The GIC-free period applies to activity statement debts – for example, goods and services tax (GST) and pay as you go (PAYG), whereas super guarantee charge (SGC) debts are not included. The actual GIC-free period (maximum of 12 months):

•    Starts on the day you make the agreement.
•    Finishes on the day your final instalment is due.
•    If you default on the arrangement, the GIC-free period will end on the date of default.
•    The ATO will expect you to enter into a direct debit payment arrangement.
•    You must continue to meet all of your ongoing tax payment and lodgment obligations.

Some other recent initiatives include small businesses being able to instantly write‑off of assets costing up to $5,000 from the 2012‑13 income year, and write‑off other assets (apart from buildings and other capital works) in a single depreciation pool at a rate of 30 per cent. Also, the company tax rate will also be reduced to 29 per cent for eligible small business companies from the 2012‑13 income year – one year earlier than for other companies.

The first year of the Small Business Assistance Package has proven to be of considerable value to a many small businesses across Australia, with almost 100,000 interest free payment arrangements in place, and more than 6,600 activity statement payment deferrals granted. If your business is in need of some help, contact us to see if you are eligible for the Small Business Assistance Package and we are happy to make a submissions to te ATO.

If you need help with the ATO’s extended Small Business Assistance Package or other small business issues or advice please contact the experienced team of lawyers and accountants here at The Quinn Group. Submit an online enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to book an appointment.