ATO and other financial support for those affected by the Bushfire Crisis

by | Jan 22, 2020 | For Business, For Individuals, Nexis, Tax

Over the Christmas break, unfortunately mother nature was not on the side of many Australian locals. The bushfire tragedy in Australia has affected so many of our local environments, animals, communities and clients.

Despite the age-old, saying “rain, hail or shine” which suggests that everyone can keep going, even when the going gets tough (and weather) – we understand that this is often easier said than done, no matter how resilient you may be.

There are a few key pieces of information when it comes to your business and accounting practices that may help.

1. Australian Taxation Office beneficence

In light of the bushfires, the ATO is automatically deferring lodgments or payments you may have due if you live or operate in one of their identified impacted postcodes.

They are also offering a range of additional support services for those affected by the bushfires including,

  • Giving you extra time to pay your debt or lodge tax forms such as activity statements.
  • Helping you find your lost tax file number (TFN) by using methods to verify your identity such as your date of birth, address and bank account details.
  • Re-issuing income tax returns, activity statements and notices of assessment.
  • Helping you re-construct tax records lost or damaged in the bushfire.
  • Fast-tracking any refunds you are owed.
  • Setting up a payment plan tailored to your circumstances including an interest-free period.
  • Remitting penalties or interest charged during the time you have been affected by the bushfires.

For more information on this, visit the ATO website or call them directly on 1800 806 218 for help.

2. Other support resources

When it comes down to it, local businesses and operators can often be the backbone of their community. So, whether you need recovery support yourself, or know someone who is experiencing hardship as a result of the fires in your community. Here are a few key resources to keep in mind:

  • First and foremostly, Nexis are here to help wherever possible. Contact us if you require advice on how to mitigate tax-related stress, or assistance in evolving business practices and/or identifying next steps for your organisation post-fire damage.
  • Federal Government financial assistance grants: This is a Disaster Recovery Allowance available to fire-affected individuals and businesses, which includes up to 13 weeks of income support – to help you, or someone you know, get back on their feet. The Australian Government Payment, on the other hand, is a one-off payment for people who have lost their homes (or their home has been directly damaged) in the fires.
  • Australian Banking Association (ABA) assistance package: If you are a member of an ABA member bank, including Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac, St George and National Australia Bank; the ABA is offering loan and fee deferrals, as well as waiving charges and restructuring existing loans, for affected customers experiencing lead-on financial difficulty.
  • Australian Red Cross grants: This $5,000 (per household) emergency grant is available to people whose primary place of residence has been made unhabitable and/or destroyed in the fires.
  • ASIC bushfire relief: If you’re dealing with severe financial impact as a result of this disaster, ASIC may be able to assist you with your financial arrangements, depending on your personal circumstances.

If there is any way that we may be able to provide further advice or support, reach out to us today.

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