At Baumgartner Group, we’re continuing with business as close to normal as possible in the circumstances, whilst ensuring the wellbeing of our people.
Our office currently remains open and we are well setup with remote working facilities. Other than where necessary, our staff are now primarily working from home through our secure Virtual-Private-Network. Our servers are accessible through fibre optic internet and our email and essential documents are hosted securely in the cloud, meaning there has been little to no impact on our ability to work. To support communication, we are using the Microsoft Teams platform for Video Conferencing with staff and clients. We can also participate in VCs organised by clients and colleagues through Zoom, Skype for Business and other platforms as required.
We know the Covid-19 crisis is affecting all of our clients and colleagues in different ways. We are working hard to respond to all requests for advice, particularly in connection with the first and second Federal Government stimulus packages and the various State Government concessions regarding payroll tax and land tax. A third Federal Government stimulus package is expected to be announced today and we will be working through the details once available.
Our team can provide strategic advice to businesses and investors who are concerned about Covid-19 and its impact on their affairs. Please bear with us as we work to respond to all requests for advice and pro-actively get in touch with affected clients.
We have set out below some particularly useful business resources we have identified and used ourselves.
Above all, the most important thing during this time is to take care of family, friends and our community.
If you need any advice or assistance, please get in touch with us by contacting your regular adviser, calling 03 9851 9000 or emailing email@example.com
1. Government stimulus and related measures.
A thorough, detailed summary of all stimulus and related measures has been published by Tax Banter. It can be found here.
We have decided against drafting our own summary of the concessions in favour of focusing on advising clients on their particular circumstances and entitlements.While we are working to get across all our affected clients, if you are interested in learning more about any particular measure then this article comprehensively covers:
- Cash flow assistance for employers based on PAYG withholding, including timing and delivery of payments (with supporting examples)
- Wage subsidy for apprentices and trainees
- Increasing the instant asset write-off up to $150,000 to 30 June 2020
- Accelerated depreciation concessions until 30 June 2021
- Temporary early access of up to $20,000 in superannuation
- Temporary reduction of 50% to minimum pension withdrawals for 2020 and 2021
- Changes to social security deeming rates
- Stimulus payments to households
- Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
- Government guaranteed loans to support the flow of credit
- ATO support for affected businesses and individuals
- State and territory stimulus and other support
[8 April 2020] - The Federal Government's fact sheet on JobKeeper Payments has been updated a number of times since first released. The latest version can be found here. Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.
[8 April 2020] - The NTAA have published an overview of the Federal Government's Child Care and Early Childhood Education Relief Package. It can be found here.
[8 April 2020] - The NTAA have published a summary of the differences between JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments together with a list of currently unanswered questions on JobKeeper. It can be found here.
2. Issues for employers dealing with employees during the crisis.
Rigby Cooke Lawyers have published an FAQ on the most common questions they have been receiving on employee related employment issues. Whilst it does not deal with all scenarios, it provides good general information for many common questions. This can be found here.
KHQ Lawyers have also published an FAQ dealing with different workplace relation questions. This can be found here.
Employsure have published a Covid-19 hub on their website which contains a wealth of useful information and resources. This can be found here.
If you require referral to a workplace relations lawyer, please get in touch and we can make an appropriate introduction.
3. Working from home resources.
Many employers will be dealing with employees working from home for the first time. This requires different systems, processes and policies to work most effectively. We have compiled some useful articles below.
It is a very good idea for employers to rollout a comprehensive WFH policy covering matters such as:
- Performance expectations
- Communication expectations and process
- Suggestions on setting up a suitable working environment at home
- Reimbursement of expenses and setup costs
- Access to support, including IT helpdesk, when WFH
Some sample policies we have collated:
Lisa Williams of Thrive Leadership Group has prepared a brief article with useful suggestions on both how best to manage WFH employees and how they can manage themselves. This can be found here.
Lifehacker has compiled a series of useful articles from WFH veterans covering issues such as dealing with kids at home, effective video conferencing and creating a designated workspace. This can be found here.
[8 April 2020] - The ATO have announced a "short cut" method of claiming home office expenses during COVID-19. The NTAA have published an overview of the concession. This can be found here.
4. Government App (Apple & Android)
The Federal Government has launched a Coronavirus app for Apple and Android which contains a lot of useful information and news / alerts.
5. Superannuation Related Measures [8 April 2020]
There have been a varierty of superannuation related measures announced by both the Federal Government and the ATO. The measures related both to superannuation fund members and trustees of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds.
Sladen Legal have published two succint articles covering all key announcements.
The first article can be found here and covers:
- SMSFs leasing property to a related tenant
- Relaxation of the 5% in-house asset limitation
- Reduction in minimum superannuation pensions for 2020 and 2021
- Early release of superannuation
The second article can be found here and covers:
- ATO extensions of time to lodge 2019 SMSF annual returns
- Superannuation guarantee amnesty
- An update to early release of superannuation
David is the founder and current managing partner of the Baumgartner Group. David’s career began at Ernst and Young, where he established a solid accounting and advisory background. Combining this with his own experience in business, David has emerged as a leader in the business advisory industry to small and medium enterprises.