With the latest COVID-19 health advice to stay home, we strongly advise you to use our website or call 13 77 88, rather than visit a service centre. Visit our COVID-19 page for information and advice on the assistance available for NSW residents and businesses.

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COVID-19 assistance

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The 2021 COVID-19 business grant provides cash flow support to businesses in Greater Sydney and regional NSW that have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions across NSW.

The application process

Application dates

Applications are now open. They will close at 11:59pm on 1 October 2021.

Method of application

You can apply online. If you need help with your online application, you can contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 to apply for the grant over the phone.

You'll need a MyServiceNSW Account to apply. If you do not have one, you can create an account when you start your application. A MyServiceNSW Account allows you to claim vouchers and rebates, renew licences and gives you access to your personalised information.

Accountants applying on behalf of businesses

Your accountant can apply on behalf of your business.

If they are not listed as an associate on the Australian Business Register (ABR), your accountant will need to provide a letter of authority from you confirming that they are authorised to act on your business' behalf. Your accountant will ask you to complete a letter of authority and will provide it to Service NSW. See our letter of authority template.

A letter of authority is a legal document that authorises a third party to act on your behalf if they are not listed as an associate on the ABR.

What you can claim if you do not have employees or you have multiple businesses

For non-employing businesses, the business receiving payments must be the primary income source for the associated person. Individuals with more than one non-employing business may only claim payments for one business.

Use of grant funds

Eligible business costs

The grant can be used for business costs outlined in the guidelines including:

  • salaries and wages
  • utilities and rent
  • financial, legal or other advice
  • marketing and communications
  • perishable goods
  • other business costs.

Ineligible use of funds

The grant may not be used for expenses for which other government support is available.

For example, the grant cannot be used to pay NSW Government fees and charges that would be covered by the small business fees and charges rebate.

Eligibility

Eligible and ineligible businesses

Any business, sole trader or not-for-profit organisation with an aggregated annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million that has been impacted by restrictions can apply for this grant if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Certain entities, including those earning passive income (such as rents, interest or dividends) that is more than 50% of the business' income, government agencies, local governments, banks and universities, are not eligible for this grant.

If passive income is more than 50% but the business is actively providing services that relate to the passive income, call us on 13 77 88.

See the full list of ineligible businesses.

Non-employing businesses are not eligible to apply for this grant if individuals associated with and deriving income from the business received a Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment for the period between 26 June and 17 July 2021 and any part thereof.

If you don't meet all the criteria and supporting evidence requirements

If your business does not meet all the eligibility criteria, you may be able to apply if you can provide evidence to support the alternative circumstances outlined in the guidelines.

If a business or not-for-profit organisation is ineligible, but is still suffering financial hardship, they may be eligible to apply through the hardship review pathway. More information will be available soon.

Different financial assistance programs are available for businesses with an annual turnover less than $75,000, including:

If your business was registered for GST after 1 June 2021

You may still apply. Our team may request further documents to assess your application.

When an employee resigns

Businesses will remain eligible if their employee headcount declines because an employee:

  • voluntarily resigns or retires 
  • passes away 
  • concludes a mutually agreed employment contract period 
  • is dismissed for misconduct such as theft, harassment, bullying, etc.

An employee who is stood down (as distinct from being dismissed or made redundant) remains part of your headcount. Any reduction in headcount due to redundancies is considered a failure by the employer to ‘maintain their employee headcount’.

If your business is in NSW but your ABN is registered elsewhere

Businesses operating in New South Wales with their ABN registered elsewhere should contact Service NSW. They may be able to apply if they can provide evidence their business was primarily operating in New South Wales on 1 June 2021. Evidence to demonstrate this includes commercial rates notices or lease agreements. Where a rates notice or lease agreement is not available, Service NSW may accept a combination of the following: 

  • utility bills  
  • insurance papers
  • supply invoices
  • registration papers
  • contractor licences.

Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment

Non-employing businesses are not eligible to apply if individuals associated with the business and who derive income from it received a Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment for any part of the period between 26 June and 17 July.

Businesses in border communities

To be eligible for the business grant, a business must be located and operating in NSW.

Businesses on the Victorian border impacted by the Victorian Stay at Home Directions that commenced on 27 May 2021 are eligible to apply using a different set comparison dates.

Businesses need to show a minimum 30% decline in turnover, over a minimum 2-week period from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in 2019, or the same period in 2020, the 2 weeks immediately prior to any restrictions of 12 June to 25 June 2021 (inclusive), or the 2-week period immediately before the Victorian Stay at Home Directions commenced (13 May to 26 May 2021).

Other types of financial assistance

If you're not eligible for this grant, you may be eligible for other types of financial assistance as a part of the NSW Government’s COVID-19 response. See the NSW Government's website for more information.

New businesses

Note: Businesses must have been operating before 1 June 2021 to access support.

When your business opened in 2020 and you do not have 2019 turnover figures

To demonstrate turnover between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive), you need to provide one quarterly business activity statement (BAS), or 3 individual monthly BAS, or an Australian tax return annotated to show when the business commenced during the financial year. The reported turnover will be annualised.

Where a business does not have the evidence outlined above (for example, if the business started between 1 January and 1 June 2021), the following may be provided as evidence of annual turnover:  

  • letter from a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent; or
  • business bank account statement for a minimum 3-month period (separate from any personal accounts), or the period for which the business has been operating if less than 3 months.

You will also need to show that your business experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more over a minimum 2-week period between 26 June and 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in 2020 or the 2-week period immediately before lockdown (12 June to 25 June 2021).

If your business is in a highly impacted industry, you'll need to declare you have experienced the 30% or more decline in turnover.

If your business is not in a highly impacted industry, you'll need to provide a letter from your accountant, using the template provided.

When your business was not operational for the full 2019–20 financial year

To demonstrate turnover between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive), you need to provide one quarterly business activity statement (BAS), or 3 individual monthly BAS, or an Australian tax return annotated to show when the business commenced during the financial year. The reported turnover will be annualised. 

Where a business does not have the evidence outlined above (for example, if the business started between 1 January and 1 June 2021), the following may be provided as evidence of annual turnover:  

  • letter from a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent; or
  • business bank account statement for a minimum 3-month period (separate from any personal accounts), or the period for which the business has been operating if less than 3 months.

Businesses affected by 2019–20 natural disasters

If your 2019–20 turnover figures are not representative of your usual turnover

You can demonstrate an alternative annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million by providing either an Australian tax return for the 2018–19 financial year or one quarterly business activity statement (BAS), or 3 individual monthly BAS, from any of the first 3 quarters of the 2020–21 financial year.

If June and July 2019 were not representative of your usual turnover

You can show that your business experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more due to the public health order over a minimum 2-week period between 26 June to 17 July 2021 compared to: 

  • the same period in June and/or July 2019, or; 
  • the same period in 2020, or
  • the 2 weeks immediately prior to any restrictions of 12 June to 25 June 2021 (inclusive).

If your business is in a highly impacted industry, you'll need to declare you have experienced the 30% or more decline in turnover.

If your business is not in a highly impacted industry, you'll need to provide a letter from your accountant, using the template provided.

Regional support

Support for regional businesses

Any business in NSW that has suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30% since the start of restrictions is encouraged to apply for financial assistance.

For information on the types of support available, go to COVID-19 help for businesses.

Specific support for businesses in regional NSW

The 2021 COVID-19 business grant provides cash flow support to businesses across NSW that have been impacted by the first 3 weeks of restrictions (26 June to 17 July). Any business in NSW can apply if they can demonstrate a decline of 30% or more during this period.

For example, if you are a tourism or accommodation provider that experienced cancelled bookings due to stay-at-home orders during this period, you may be eligible to apply.

Businesses impacted after 17 July are encouraged to apply for the JobSaver payment. JobSaver provides regular fortnightly payments to NSW businesses.

Businesses with employees can receive between $1,500 and $100,000 per week, and non-employing businesses can receive $1,000 per week, in fortnightly payments.

For more information, visit Apply for the JobSaver payment.

For further information on available COVID-19 financial support, visit the NSW Government’s website.

Specific support for individuals in regional NSW

Any worker living in regional NSW may be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment if they lost work or income from 18 July 2021 due to restrictions in NSW.

For more information, visit Services Australia.

If you’re unsure what support to apply for

If you’re not sure which support package you might be eligible for, you can compare the grants to find out which one best suits your circumstances.

You can also use the COVID-19 Assistance Finder, a 2-minute questionnaire that will help you navigate the assistance available.

Evidence and documentation

If you're unable to provide sufficient evidence

If businesses cannot supply sufficient evidence, they will not be eligible for the grant. If you are unsure of what information you need to provide, you can review the list of required documents or contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 to discuss.

If your business is not on the highly impacted industries list

If your business is not on the highly impacted industries list, you'll need to submit evidence that your business experienced the relevant decline in turnover through a letter from a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent. The letter must state that your business experienced the required decline in turnover due to the public health order over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to:

  • the same period in 2019, or
  • the same period in 2020, or
  • the 2 weeks immediately prior to any restrictions of 12 June to 25 June 2021 (inclusive).

Alternatively, if you have previously submitted a letter to Service NSW from a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent to verify decline in turnover for other COVID-19 business grants, you can resubmit this letter as evidence of a decline in turnover up to the percentage previously attested.

Non-employing accounting businesses (such as sole traders) must submit a letter from a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent that is not an employee or director of the business, an associated entity of the business, or a director or employee of an associated entity of the business.

For southern border businesses, the turnover period is from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in 2019, or the same period in 2020, or the 2 weeks immediately prior to any restrictions of 12 June to 25 June 2021 (inclusive).or the 2-week period immediately before the Victorian Stay at Home Directions commenced (13 May to 26 May 2021).

What you need to show that your business was operating in NSW on 1 June 2021

We may request a copy of one of the following documents, dated within the last 3 months:

  • a council rates notice
  • a lease agreement.

If these are not available, you'll need to provide at least 2 of the following:

  • utility bills
  • insurance papers
  • supply invoices
  • registration papers
  • contractor licences.

How to show that your annual turnover is within the threshold for the grant

You'll need to provide an Australian income tax return or other documentation to demonstrate an aggregated annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2020.

Finding your documents

Bank statements

If you have online banking, you can log in and download statements to your computer. If you are unsure how to do this or do not have online banking, you should call your bank for assistance.

Tax assessments

Log in to your myGov account and select Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Select Tax, Lodgements, Income Tax, then the History tab.

Find the year you are after and select the drop-down arrow next to that year.

Select 'View copy of notice of assessment' and open the PDF.

If the year you are looking for is not showing or you do not have a myGov account, you can phone the ATO on 13 28 61.

Business activity statements (BAS)

How you lodge your BAS determines how you will be able to find your statements.

If you lodge through the ATO online services for business, your next statement will be available there.

If your accountant lodges your BAS on your behalf, they will be able to assist you.

Attaching your documents

Uploading your files to your application

If you have your supporting documents stored on your computer, follow the directions in the application to upload the ones you need.

If you do not have the documents on your computer, you can use an app to scan and save them or take a photo of them and save them to your computer.

Compressing large files

To reduce the file size of your documents, follow these instructions depending on the type of computer you have:

Mac – Compress your PDF

  • In the Preview app on your Mac, open the PDF, then choose File > Export. Do not choose 'Export as PDF'.
  • Select the Quartz Filter pop-up menu, then choose Reduce File Size.

PC – Compress your PDF online

  • Open your internet browser. navigate to the Acrobat online PDF compressor.
  • Choose Select a File and locate your PDF, or simply drag and drop it to the Compress PDF field.
  • Once your file is compressed, download your file.

Receiving payments

When businesses will be paid

Funds will be paid into your bank account approximately 5 to 7 business days from when your application is approved.

If you need to change your bank account details after applying

Please contact us on 13 77 88 or email info@service.nsw.gov.au.

If it's been more than 10 days since you've applied and you want to check that your details are correct

Please contact us on 13 77 88 or email info@service.nsw.gov.au.

Audits on successful applications

Your application may be subject to an audit by the NSW Government or its representatives. By applying for the grant, you agree to participate in the process if required.

As a part of the Terms and Conditions for receiving the grant, you are required to retain your proof of eligibility paperwork for a period of 5 years from the date of application in case you are audited.

Privacy and personal information

Protecting your privacy

See our Privacy Collection Notice for information on how we manage your personal information.

Your business data

Your business data will be stored on your MyBusiness Account to enable you to complete faster transactions with Service NSW in the future.

What happens when...

Scenario: An employee resigns

Jim and Angela run a successful clothing franchise, but they have had to close due to the COVID-19 lockdown. The business has a turnover of $3 million a year and employs 6 people, none of which can work at the moment. Jim has applied for and received the COVID-19 business grant as he was able to show a decline of more than 30% in turnover during the restrictions. By receiving the grant, Jim agreed to maintain his employee headcount from 13 July 2021 while receiving payments from this grant. 

One of their employees, Sofia, has announced she is relocating interstate and has resigned from the business. This will reduce the headcount for the business. Jim isn’t sure if he needs to advise Service NSW about this or if it will affect the grant payment he has received. 

Service NSW answer

While maintaining their employee headcount is a requirement of the business grant, Sofia is leaving the organisation for personal reasons, which are outside Jim and Angela’s control. As it was not their decision for Sofia to resign, the reduction in employee headcount will not affect any payment they have received. Jim should notify Service NSW of the change to ensure his business information is up to date but Jim and Angela’s business is still eligible for the grant.

Scenario: Business is located outside Greater Sydney

Haran and his family run a large caravan park on the South Coast of NSW, which generates an aggregated annual turnover of more than $1 million a year. During the school holidays, he had many cancellations due to the travel restrictions and his business suffered greatly as he relies on families visiting from across NSW.

Haran has many expenses associated with running his caravan park, including wages and utilities, and is running out of money to pay them. But because his business isn’t in Greater Sydney, he’s not sure if he is eligible to apply for a grant. He’s also not sure what the grant can be used for as his expenses aren’t what he considers ‘typical’ business costs. 

Service NSW answer

While Haran’s business is not located in Greater Sydney, he is eligible for the grant because his business is in NSW and he is able to show that he suffered a decline in turnover of more than 30% because of restrictions. He also meets the eligibility criteria of aggregated annual turnover of more than $75,000 and less than $50 million and has evidence to support the decline in turnover. 

Haran can apply for the business grant to help with expenses such as his staff’s wages, council rates and even an advertising campaign to encourage visitors back to his caravan park once restrictions are lifted.  

Haran is also eligible to apply for the JobSaver payment, to further assist with ongoing payroll expenses associated with the business.  

Once Haran’s grant application has been approved, he will receive the funds in his bank account within 5 to 7 business days. When his JobSaver application is approved, he will receive the equivalent to 40% of his weekly payroll.