CIA Tax & Coronavirus – Office Changes & Client Advice

CIA Tax & Coronavirus – Office Changes & Client Advice (16-03-2020)

During the past week we had implemented a no handshake policy and for the next few weeks we are implementing a no in-house meetings policy (unless critical / essential) Instead we will use every other method of communication from Email, Phone Conferences, Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger (or whatever digital meeting forum you use).

The office remains open for those who would like to drop or send non digitised documents. There is also a large mail slot at bottom of door for outside business hours.

This is a short term pain for a greater good. Whatever we think of the virus, or the media frenzy around it, the reality is to slow the growth of its spread which is to ease the burden on our medical services who tend to the lesser health resilient amongst us whether that is coronavirus or any other medical condition. Social and professional isolation is a key to playing our part in slowing the virus down, CIA tax are proud to play its small part. 

Thank you for your understanding, any issues always discuss with our senior partners and we will find a way to work something through.

Government Assistances

Some industries will do it tough (think anything travel, events, restaurants) and treasury has responded quickly with a targeted stimulus package that has four major parts. Yet, let us remain positive as other industries will also increase (think anything health, food chain or toilet paper suppliers).

For those industries who will struggle the good news is as follows:

  • Keeping Australians in jobs with $6.7 billion in cashflow assistance for small and medium businesses (up to $25,000 – reduction in tax to pay for their employees)
  • Supporting households with a $750 payment to pensioners, veterans, people on Newstart and other income support recipients
  • Backing business investment with a limited-time investment incentive worth $3.2 billion (instant write off on assets up to $150,000 for business with turnover under half a Billion!)
  • Helping affected sectors with a $1 billion fund for communities reliant on the tourism and education industries 

In addition to the above, the Australian Taxation Office will offer relief on a case-by-case basis to significantly affected taxpayers (everyone!) including through deferring tax payments by up to four months. In coming months expect more global relief / stimulus’s. Far from doom and gloom.

Download all the details here:  https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus Additionally CIA tax have fact sheets for all of the above measures reply to this email.

CIA tax are here to assist, don’t hesitate – reach out, we can help.

Tips for business (and for effected employees)

Be Pro-active and work together is the key: Flight Centre is a great example of acting fast. At the start of this crisis (and sadly for all in the travel industry it will get worse) they enacted immediate changes to preserve employment until 30 June 2020.

Example Only – the Flight Centre changes

  • Travel Freeze: There is now a freeze on all Flight Centre employee travel including family with the only exception being business-critical
  • Conferences: All Flight Centre conferences will be cancelled from 16 March 2020 until further notice
  • Annual leave: All eligible Flight Centre employees have been asked to book and take a minimum of 1-week annual leave between now and 30 June 2020
  • Long Service Leave: Anyone at Flight Centre with long service due is asked to consider taking it through this period
  • Unpaid leave: Optional unpaid leave is available to all Flight Centre employees
  • Purchase of additional leave: For all Flight Centre staff without any leave owing, there is the option to purchase an additional 10 days leave
  • Reduction of (FTE) Full-time employment: All Flight Centre staff have been offered the opportunity to reduce their FTE by 1 day per week or fortnight until the 30 June 2020. Staff can work a 4-day a week rather than 5-day with their salary reflective of this change

The Flight Centre changes concluded by saying: “We greatly appreciate your support and understanding. If everyone can contribute in a small way it will make a big difference. We have been through similar events in the past and have always emerged bigger, better and stronger”.

It’s a wonderful example that we can all review parts of if we need to apply anything to our own businesses.

The key to any slow down in the economy (it may not be long lasting, or significant) is to keep communicating with the team, your advisors, the tax office, banks, your customers and suppliers, everyone.

CIA tax are here to assist, don’t hesitate – reach out, we can help.

From an occupational health response stay up to date and follow the advice of the government health recommendations and your HR advisors. In particular do not ignore government directions as we’d doubt any public indemnity policy (or any insurance) would cover your risk in doing so.

Investments and Retirement

It is also a worrying time for people with investments and retirement funds – this again is a time to reach out and talk to your advisors.

CIA tax are here to assist, don’t hesitate – reach out, we can help.

In all likelihood and like all other things in the recent past this will soon pass. Let us pause to think on the past two decades with all the market crashes, disasters, health scares, downturns, upturns, whatever – we’ve shown a fair bit of resilience!

In closing

From a mental health perspective now is the time to stop being glued to the media frenzy. Be informed, make some sensible changes and look out for others who are less fortunate and carry on. Daffodils are planted in Autumn, pass through a Winter and beautifully blossom in Spring. Use these interruptions to plant the next blossom.

CIA tax are here to listen, don’t hesitate – reach out, we can help.

The symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath; and
  • Breathing difficulties

If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.