Update Tuesday 14 April 2020
The $440 million land tax relief package is expected to be evenly divided between the commercial and retail sector, with landlords to be offered the concession if they pass the savings on to tenants through a rent reduction.
Landlords will be able to apply for a concession of up to 25 per cent of their land tax liability on relevant properties for the calendar year, but it must be passed on to tenants suffering from the economic impacts of COVID-19.
A further land tax deferral for any outstanding amounts for a three-month period will also be offered to landlords who claim the land tax concession.
For commercial landlords, any land tax relief must be passed on to business tenants with a turnover of less than $50 million that experience a 30 per cent or more reduction in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This will include any business with annual turnover of less than $50 million that is eligible for the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper program.
For residential tenants, household struggling to make rental payments and have suffered a loss of income equal to or greater than 25 per cent due to COVID-19 will need to enter into negotiations with their landlord or managing agent.
Residential landlords will be eligible for a land tax waiver or rebate of up to 25 per cent if they pass the savings on to tenants in financial distress.
Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson has also announced an interim 60-day moratorium on finalising existing matters or making new applications to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for forced evictions over rent arrears related to COVID-19.
Tenants will be protected from eviction until NCAT is satisfied that negotiations have concluded. Any unpaid rent will accrue as arrears during this period.
For more click link below.
Source and credit: Accountants Daily.com.au
The ACCC has developed the guide for small businesses (see link below) to help minimise any confusion when it comes to managing refunds and cancellations due to the impact of COVID-19.
The guide outlines small business rights and obligations relating to issues such as cancelled functions and events, pricing of goods and services, and charging subscription and membership fees when the business is not operating.
However, if the event, flight or travel service is cancelled due to government restrictions, consumer rights under the consumer guarantees may be impacted. In these situations, consumers may be entitled to a refund under the terms and conditions of their ticket, or potentially may make a claim under a travel insurance policy.
It is important for small business to understand their obligations when handling requests from consumers. For more see link below.
Source and credit: Businessnews.com.au & ACCC.gov.au
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has warned of an increase in scams and phishing emails seeking to take advantage of the uncertainty around the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
In particular, an email scam offering recipients up to $2,500 in COVID-19 assistance payments if they complete an attached application form.
The attachment contains an “embedded macro” that automatically downloads malicious software onto the recipient’s device, potentially giving scammers access to personal and financial information.
If you receive these types of phishing emails, do not open the attachments and simply delete the message.
With an increase in the number of Australians working from home, it is important to have good cyber-security practices.
Businesses should include cybersecurity in their contingency planning, including measures such as ensuring virtual private networks (VPNs) and firewalls are up to date with recent security patches.
The ACSC recommends implementing multifactor authentication for remote access systems and resources (including cloud services).
SMS scams have also increased in sophistication, and the ACSC has warned that these scams will potentially show up in the same conversation threads as previous official SMS messages.
Scammers often pretend to be from trusted organisations, including from the ATO. They may pretend to be from any of the following:
the Department of Human Services
other government agencies, like the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
Scammers may want your personal information, including your:
Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN)
date of birth
myGov sign in details
identity details, such as your Medicare card
credit card details.
They may also tell you to:
pay fees or transfer money to get a payment or benefit, or pay back a debt
upload copies of your identity documents
buy gift cards or vouchers, such as an iTunes gift card
give them remote access to your computer.
If a scammer has your information, they may use the details to:
misuse your identity to commit fraud or other crimes
access your online accounts, including bank accounts or your myGov account
use your credit card
scam your friends and family.
There are steps you can take to reduce the risks of scams or identity theft. Read more about how to protect against scams.
Read more about examples of scams pretending to be from the ATO.
Source and credit: Accountantsdaily.com.au and ATO.com.au