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 micro-business grant provides cash flow support to micro-businesses in Greater Sydney and regional NSW that have an aggregated annual turnover between $30,000 and $75,000 and have been impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions across NSW.

The application process

Application dates

Applications are now open. They will close after 11:59pm on 18 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 don't have employees or you have multiple businesses

For non-employing businesses, the business receiving payments must be the primary income source (50% or more of total income) 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, it cannot be used to pay government fees and charges that would be covered by the small business fees and charges rebate.

Eligibility

Eligible and ineligible businesses

Any micro-business, sole trader or not-for-profit organisation with an aggregated annual turnover between $30,000 and $75,000 that has been impacted by restrictions can apply for this grant if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Certain entities, such as those primarily earning passive income (rents, interest, or dividends), that is more than 50% of the business' income, government agencies, local governments, banks and universities are not eligible for the micro-business 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 anyone associated with the business or who derives income from it has received the Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment for the same period.

If you do not 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.

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

Micro-businesses primarily 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 are receiving a Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment for the same period.

If you have employees, they can still receive the Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment if you're receiving the 2021 COVID-19 micro-business grant.

Businesses in border communities

To be eligible for the micro-business grant, your business must be located and operating in NSW.

Other types of financial assistance

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.

Reconfirming eligibility

Fortnightly reconfirmation

With some industries and regions beginning to emerge from restrictions, we’re asking businesses to reconfirm their eligibility every fortnight.

The COVID-19 micro-business grant is paid on a fortnightly basis. You’ll be asked to reconfirm your eligibility for each payment at the end of each fortnight for the duration of the program.

You will receive your payment within 5 business days of reconfirming your eligibility.

September payments will continue even if you do not confirm eligibility. However, any payments after that will only be processed once eligibility is confirmed.

Delaying reconfirmation

You can delay your reconfirmation if, for example, you need to finalise your month-end accounting records. You can reconfirm for multiple fortnights in one go. Your MyServiceNSW Business Profile will show you the fortnights for which confirmation is still required.

Businesses that are still impacted by restrictions

If your business is closed due to restrictions or is still experiencing a decline in turnover of 30% of more, you can complete the reconfirmation process by indicating that you still meet the decline in turnover requirement.

You will not need to provide any additional evidence or attach any documentation when reconfirming your eligibility. You’ll need to maintain adequate records to show evidence of your eligibility if required at a later date.

For example, if your business had a decline in turnover of 50% when you first applied, and your turnover has only increased by 20% since then, this means your business continues to experience a decline in turnover of 30% or more and is still eligible for the COVID-19 micro-business grant.

Reconfirmation by accountants, registered tax agents or registered BAS agents

The person that submitted the initial application is required to submit the reconfirmation of eligibility. If an accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent applied on behalf of your business, they will need to reconfirm eligibility for your business.

Comparison periods

The comparison period means the period in 2019, or 2020, or the period from 12 June to 25 June 2021 that was compared to the turnover in a period starting on or after 26 June 2021 to work out whether your business or not-for-profit organisation experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more due to the impact of the public health order.

If the comparison period used in the initial application was more than 2 weeks (for example, a 3-week period, 4-week period or 5-week period), the turnover amount for the comparison period must be converted to a fortnightly amount for comparison purposes to the current turnover by dividing by the number of days in the period and multiplying by 14.

Businesses eligible for some fortnights and not others

As eligibility will be reconfirmed each fortnight, some businesses may be eligible one fortnight and not eligible the next fortnight if their decline in turnover decreases again.

Becoming ineligible for one fortnight does not disqualify a business from becoming eligible again in a future fortnight where they meet the eligibility conditions. You will not need to re-apply. You will be given the opportunity to declare your eligibility every fortnight through email reminders.

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 of more than $30,000 and less than $75,000, you need to provide a business activity statement (BAS) or business bank account statements for a minimum 3-month period. Your quarterly bank statement will need to show turnover of $7,500 or more.

Where a business does not have the evidence outlined above (for example, if the business started between 1 January and 1 June 2021 or is a micro-business that does not submit a BAS), 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; or
  • a profit and loss statement from an accounting software for a minimum 3-month period, or the period for which the business has been operating if less than 3 months, and one of the following documents:
    • an annotated personal bank statement for the same period, or
    • a personal income tax return annotated to show when the business commenced during the financial year.

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

You can submit evidence that you had an aggregated annual turnover of more than $30,000 and less than $75,000 for the year ended 30 June 2020 in the form of:

  • letter from a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent, or
  • business activity statement (BAS), or
  • business bank account statement (separate from any personal accounts), or
  • Australian tax return (businesses can choose to redact their tax file number), or
  • a profit and loss statement from an accounting software for a minimum 3-month period during the 2019–20 financial year, and one of the following documents:
    • an annotated personal bank statement for the same minimum 3-month period, or
    • a 2019–20 personal income tax return.

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 more than $30,000 and less than $75,000 by providing either an Australian tax return for the 2018–19 financial year or business bank account statements for a minimum 3-month period 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

To show your business experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more over a minimum 2-week period during the lockdown, you can use a comparable 2-week period during any of the first 3 quarters of the 2020–21 financial year.

You'll need to provide either a letter from a qualified accountant or a business bank account statement.

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 micro-business grant provides cash flow support to micro-businesses across NSW that have been impacted by restrictions. Any micro-business in NSW can apply for a $1,500 fortnightly payment if they can demonstrate a decline of 30% or more during restrictions.

For more information, visit Apply for the 2021 COVID-19 micro-business grant.

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:

  • declare your business meets the eligibility criteria
  • submit evidence that your business has experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more due to the public health order in the specified period
  • submit evidence that your business had an aggregated annual turnover of more than $30,000 and less than $75,000 for the year ended 30 June 2020
  • lodge other supporting documents, as required, to demonstrate you meet the eligibility criteria.

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 will 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 evidence that your aggregated annual turnover was more than $30,000 and less than $75,000 for the year ended 30 June 2020 in the form of either:

  • letter from a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent; or
  • business activity statement (BAS), or
  • business bank account statement (separate from any personal accounts); or
  • Australian tax return (businesses can choose to redact their tax file number), or
  • a profit and loss statement from an accounting software for a minimum 3-month period during the 2019–20 financial year, and one of the following documents: 
    • an annotated personal bank statement for the same minimum 3-month period, or 
    • a 2019–20 personal income tax return.

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)

If you're a micro-business that lodges a BAS, how you lodge determines how you will be able to find your statements.

For example, 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, 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 your payments

When businesses will be paid

Once your application is approved, you will receive automatic fortnightly payments. Funds will be paid into your bank account in 5 to 7 business days from when your application is approved.

Payments will be made in arrears. You will need to nominate the 2-week period in which you first experienced the required decline in turnover on or after the commencement of the micro-business grant scheme on 26 June. Once approved, payments will begin from that nominated fortnight.

You must notify Service NSW if you do not maintain the number of employees you had on 13 July 2021 or on the day before the fortnight that you experienced the required decline in turnover.

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 business 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: Business started in 2020

Mario is a landscape gardener and sole trader. He started his business in January 2020. His first year’s annual turnover was less than $75,000.

He would like to apply for the micro-business grant but because he only started the business a year ago, he doesn’t have comparative turnover figures from 2019. He is not sure how he can demonstrate that his business had a decline in turnover because of the lockdown, so he isn’t sure if he can apply.

Mario’s business has suffered a decline in turnover of more than 30% since the business started, which he can see when he looks at his business bank statement. He believes he meets all the other requirements to apply for the grant.

Service NSW answer

Mario can apply for the micro-business grant even though he only started his business in 2020.

Mario will need to provide evidence to demonstrate his annual turnover is more than $30,000 and less than $75,000. He can use his profit and loss statement from an accounting software for a minimum 3-month period during the 2019–20 financial year. He will also need to provide an annotated personal bank statement for the same minimum 3-month period or a 2019–20 personal income tax return. Mario has chosen to use the period from January to March 2020.

He has business bank statements that also clearly show a decline in turnover of more than 30% over a minimum 2-week period. He can use figures from either the same period in 2020, or the 2 weeks immediately prior to any restrictions of 12 June to 25 June 2021 (inclusive).

Once Mario’s application has been approved, he will receive the funds in his bank account within 5 to 7 business days.

Scenario: Business was outside NSW in 2019

Minh and his family relocated to NSW in mid-2020. He runs a small computer repair business, based in his local shopping centre. His annual turnover is less than $75,000 and his business has suffered a decline in turnover of more than 30% during the recent COVID-19 restrictions. He can demonstrate this when compared to his 2019 turnover, but at that time the business was not operating in NSW. Minh did not change his ABN details when the family moved to NSW.

Minh is unsure if he can apply for the micro-business grant when his business wasn’t operating in NSW prior to 2020. His business meets the other eligibility requirements, and he is keen to get financial help so that he can keep his business going once restrictions are lifted.

Service NSW answer

Even though Minh’s business was not located in NSW during 2019, he is eligible to apply. The NSW Government has outlined some alternative circumstances in which businesses like Minh’s can apply.

Minh will be able to apply because he can show that his business was operating in NSW prior to 1 June 2021. As Minh has been operating in a local retail space and has a lease agreement in place, he is able to send this to Service NSW as evidence. If he did not have a lease agreement or council rates notice, he could also provide utility bills, supplier invoices or other acceptable forms of evidence to show where his business was located.

Once Minh’s application is approved, he will receive automatic fortnightly payments to help him keep his business going.