Treasurer Jackie Trad announced the measure allowing SMEs to defer their payroll tax payment for six months, starting from when Australia’s coronavirus travel ban took effect on 1 February.
“Small and medium businesses are especially vulnerable to these external shocks, so today we are giving them the option to defer their payroll tax obligations for six months, backdated to when the travel ban started on 1 February,” Ms Trad said.
The Queensland government has already announced a $27.25 million package of measures to help businesses on the Gold Coast, in Cairns and in other popular tourist destinations across the state.
However, recognising the gravity of the impact the virus has had on tourism, the government’s new initiative enables eligible businesses with an annual Australian wage bill of up to $6.5 million to self-assess whether their economic indicators like turnover, bookings, contracts or profit have been impacted by business conditions associated with the coronavirus.
“This is one of the ideas put to me when I visited Cairns last month to hear directly from tourism operators about the kinds of impacts COVID-19 was having on their businesses, and today the Palaszczuk government is acting and delivering for those businesses,” Ms Trad said.
All SMEs included
Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman explained the support package will be available to small and medium businesses across all sectors.
“The most immediate impact of the coronavirus has been on the tourism, export and education sectors,” Ms Fentiman said.
“But we recognise that as the outbreak spreads, its impacts spread as well.
“That’s why the option of deferring payroll tax payments for six months is being offered across the state to any affected small or medium business.”
She encouraged the federal government to match Queensland’s initial commitment to industries suffering from these COVID-19 impacts.
“Together with a co-commitment from the federal government, we can buffer these industries right now so that they are keeping people in jobs.
“We’ve waived fees and charges, we’ve put in support systems to small businesses and all businesses so that they can get through this rough patch so that they can keep people in jobs, and we want the federal government to come to the party on this.”
OSR will also work with affected businesses to create repayment plans for the deferred tax liabilities.