This article explains four key points about the government’s coronavirus assistance package for small business.

1. The package has to be passed through parliament and is thus not yet confirmed and may be subject to change or cancellation. The government intends to pass the relevant legislation in late March.

2. Instant write-off for asset purchases – 12th March 2020 to 30th June 2020

The intention is to increase the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 for assets purchased between 12 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

This will apply for businesses with a turnover of up to $500M.

Note that capital works improvements such as renovations to business premises may not qualify under the definition of ‘assets’ for the instant asset write-off rules and thus the increased depreciation limits may not apply.

3. Increased depreciation for new assets from 12 March to 30 June 2021

Once the $150,000 instant asset write-off ends after 30 June 2020, the government is allowing 50% of the cost of an ‘eligible asset’ to be written off, with existing depreciation rules applying to the remaining 50% of the asset’s cost.

Eg. Buy a vehicle solely used for business for $50,000.
$25,000 can be depreciated under the 50% write-off rule
The remaining $25,000 can be depreciated at 15% in the first year ($3,750) under the small business entity pool rules or may be able to be fully depreciated depending on the balance of the small business entity pool.

Eligible assets must be new assets, not second-hand and must be plant and equipment under the ATO rules and not improvements to buildings (eg. renovations) or other ‘capital works’.

4. Rebate of 50% payg withholding tax on wages for recent BAS’s

The ATO will credit 50% of payg withholding tax on wages up to a total of $25,000.

Eligible businesses will receive a minimum payment of $2,000 event if they are not required to withhold tax.

Businesses defined as ‘small business entities’, (with less than $50M aggregated turnover) are eligible.

Eligible BAS periods are March 2020 and June 2020 for quarterly BAS’s and for March, April, May and June 2020 for monthly BAS’s/IAS’s.

The minimum payment will be applied to the business’s first lodgement of the abovementioned BAS’s/IAS’s.

The ATO will deliver the payment as a credit to the business upon lodgement of the BAS. If this results in a refund, the ATO have stated that this will be processed in 14 days.

Question and answer session

If you have any questions about how this may relate to your business, I am holding a question and answer session via zoom tomorrow, 17th March at 4pm.

Please email any questions beforehand.

The zoom meeting link is