Fact Sheet for Individuals

Support for sole traders affected by COVID-19

The Australian Government has announced measures to assist sole traders affected by
This information is current as at Monday 23 March 2020.

The Australian Government has announced a range of measures to assist sole traders.
This guide is intended as an explainer only and we encourage you to contact each
relevant government department for more information.

Income support payments

The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and
establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550
per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of
Jobseeker payments, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting payment, Farm
Household allowance, Special Benefits. These changes will apply for the next six
months. Expanded access will allow sole traders, the self-employed, contract workers
and casual workers to apply for income support payments with reduced means testing,
reduced waiting times and flexible jobseeking arrangements. Sole traders will meet
jobseeking arrangements by developing and sustaining their business.

What does this mean?

• You can apply for income support payments without any waiting period, and receive
double the rate of the former Newstart across the next six months
• You’ll also be able to access rent assistance and other support payments – be sure
to ask about what’s available for you
• The Australian Government has announced that an additional 5,000 workers will be
employed by Services Australia to help support everyone who needs to access
income payments
• It may take a while to be able to speak to someone when you call. Please be
prepared to be patient over a couple of hours, so that you can get the support that
you need.
• Payments at the new rate will begin on 27 April 2020.

For more information see: https://www.business.gov.au/Riskmanagement/

Early access to superannuation

Individuals affected can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a
further $10,000 in 2020-21. Individuals can apply from mid-April 2020 if they are
unemployed or their business turnover as reduced.

What does this mean?

• If you’re impacted by COVID-19, you can take two lots of $10,000 out of your
superannuation account tax free – one now, and one after 1 July during the 2020-
2021 financial year
• Be careful to consider this as a last resort so that you are protecting your super for
your retirement. Many artists and artsworkers don’t have a great deal of super in
their accounts, and a $20,000 withdrawal may be detrimental to your future savings.

For more information see: https://www.business.gov.au/Riskmanagement/

Tax support

The ATO will provide administrative relief for certain tax obligations for taxpayers
affected by the coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. This includes payment
deferrals and remitting interest and penalties.

What does this mean?

• You can contact the tax office and see how they can help you with your specific

For more information see: https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Dealing-withdisasters/

Instant asset write-off

The instant asset write-off threshold has been increased to $150,000 and expanded to
include businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million. This
applies from 12 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, for new or second-hand assets first used
or installed ready for use in this timeframe.

What does this mean?

• Companies can write off the value of their assets, free up their depreciation liabilities
and reduce their taxable income, thus encouraging new investment.

For more information see: https://www.business.gov.au/riskmanagement/

Deferred loan payments

The Australian Banking Association has announced that all small businesses affected
by COVID-19 will be able to access a six-month deferral on loan repayments. Contact
your lender for more information.

Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) Guarantee Scheme

The Government will provide a guarantee of 50% to small and medium enterprise
lenders for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital. SMEs with a turnover
of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans. The Government will provide
eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms:

• Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower.
• The loans will be up to three years, with an initial six-month repayment holiday.
• The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not
have to provide an asset as security for the loan.

What does this mean?

• Small-to-medium companies can apply for loans with less burdensome asset criteria,
and they won’t have to make any repayments for six months.

For more information see: https://www.business.gov.au/Riskmanagement/

Continuing business

There are positive steps you can take to keep your business operating including
reviewing your finances and updating your business continuity plan, as well as getting
advice on handling cancellations and supporting your mental health.

For more information see https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergencymanagement/

Support for casual workers

Those working as sole traders may also be employed casually and be affected by
reduced hours or hours being cut all together. Casual employees are eligible for the
income support payments and early access to superannuation mentioned above.

Stay updated

Up-to-date information on all the above and new measures can be found
on https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses