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COVID-19 assistance

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Introduction

If you’re a business, sole trader or not-for-profit organisation in NSW and you've been impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions, you may be eligible for a one-off grant of $7,500, $10,500 or $15,000.

The 2021 COVID-19 business grant provides support for businesses that experienced reduced demand or had to close due to the public health orders. It will provide businesses across NSW with cash flow support for the first 3 weeks of the restrictions (26 June to 17 July 2021).

For support from week 4 of the restrictions (18 July 2021 onwards), see Apply for the JobSaver payment.

Eligible applicants across Greater Sydney and regional NSW can use the business grant for business costs incurred from 1 June 2021 to 17 July 2021, including:

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

A qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent may apply for the grant on behalf of your business.

Your accountant will need to provide a letter of authority from you to show that they are authorised to act on behalf of your business if they are not listed as an associate on the Australian Business Register.

Applications will close at 11:59pm on 1 October 2021.

Use our guide to compare the 2021 COVID-19 support grants and work out which one suits your situation.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the grant, you must:

  • have an active Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • demonstrate your business was operating in NSW on 1 June 2021
  • have had total annual Australian wages of $10 million or less on 1 July 2020
  • have had an aggregated annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2020
  • have business costs for which there is no other government support available
  • have experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more 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).
  • for employing businesses, maintain your employee headcount from 13 July 2021 while receiving payments from this grant. See the guidelines for definitions.
  • for non-employing businesses, have your primary income source (that is, 50% or more of total income) come from this business. If you have more than one non-employing business, you can only claim payments for one business.

Three different grant amounts will be available depending on the decline in turnover:

  • $7,500 for a decline of 30% or more
  • $10,500 for a decline of 50% or more
  • $15,000 for a decline of 70% or more.

Businesses and not-for-profit organisations on the NSW border with Victoria impacted by the Victorian Stay at Home Directions that began on 27 May 2021 may use a different comparison period to demonstrate a decline in turnover. For each of the 3 grant amounts, these businesses must demonstrate the relevant 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, 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 began (13 May to 26 May 2021).

Alternative circumstances

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

Ineligible businesses

If a business or not-for-profit organisation is not eligible for this payment, but is suffering financial hardship, they may be eligible to apply through the hardship review pathway.

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.

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.

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 between 26 June and 17 July.

See the full list of ineligible businesses in Attachment B of the guidelines.

What you need

  • a MyServiceNSW Account – you can create one when you start your application
  • your proof of identity
  • your valid ABN/ACN number
  • your business banking details for payment
  • Australian income tax return
  • qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent details.

Evidence to support eligibility

If your business is on the highly impacted industries list, you'll be required to:

  • declare that you meet the eligibility criteria
  • provide details of your qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent
  • submit an Australian income tax return or other documentation that shows your business' aggregated annual turnover was between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2020 (you can choose to redact your tax file number)
  • lodge other supporting documents as required to demonstrate you meet the eligibility criteria.

If your business is not on the highly impacted industries list, in addition to the above, you must also submit evidence that you experienced the relevant decline in turnover due to the public health order in the specified period through a:

  • letter from a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent, using the template provided, or
  • previously submitted letter from your qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent to Service NSW that verifies your business’ decline in turnover.

Non-employing accounting businesses (for example, 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-week period 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 began (13 May to 26 May 2021).

If you're not able to provide a letter from an accredited accountant or tax professional to verify your decline in turnover, call us on 13 77 88.

Auditing requirements

Successful applications may be subject to an audit. Service NSW can request a combination of the following documents to support its determination of eligibility and use of funds in accordance with this grant's Terms and Conditions:

  • accountant’s letter 
  • prior BAS statements 
  • income tax declarations 
  • audited profit and loss statements 
  • receipts and invoices from purchases.

You'll need to keep all documentary evidence relied upon in your application for a minimum of 5 years.

Proof of identity

Two proof of identity documents are required. They may include:

  • Australian driver licence
  • Medicare card
  • Australian passport
  • Australian birth certificate
  • Australian travel visa
  • Australian citizenship certificate
  • Australian certificate of registration by descent
  • Australian ImmiCard.

How to apply

  1. Check you meet the eligibility criteria.
  2. Have your documentation and evidence ready for uploading.
  3. Select the ‘Apply online’ button.
    Note: You cannot save and resume your application once you’ve started.
  4. Log in, or create your MyServiceNSW Account.
  5. Select and verify your identity documents.
  6. When your identity is verified, select ‘Continue’.
  7. Confirm your personal details.
  8. Enter your business details and answer the eligibility questions, then select ‘Next’.
  9. Provide information about your decline in turnover and upload your supporting documentation, then select ‘Next’.
  10. Enter your bank details, then select ‘Next’.
  11. Review your application.
  12. Check the declaration boxes.
  13. Select ‘Submit’ to complete your application.

When you submit your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email with your application reference number. If you do not receive this email within 5 minutes after completing your application, please check your junk mail folder, and then call 13 77 88 if you're still unable to locate the email.

After your application is received, it will be reviewed by Service NSW. We’ll contact you if we need additional information to support your application. If your application is approved, we’ll transfer funds to your specified bank account within 5 to 7 business days from the approval date.

If you’re not able to complete your application online, please call us on 13 77 88.

Common questions

If you have questions about the application process, eligibility, required evidence or alternative circumstances, see our answers to the most commonly asked questions about the 2021 COVID-19 business grant.

More information

  • Only one grant application can be submitted for a single ABN.
  • Only one application is permitted where there are multiple businesses under a single ABN.
  • Decline in turnover will be measured based on the modified goods and services tax (GST) turnover of the business. As such, if you report GST turnover on your business activity statement (BAS) to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on an accrual basis, you should use this method. If you report GST turnover on your BAS to the ATO on a cash basis, you should use this method.
  • For not-for-profit organisations, when calculating aggregated annual turnover or decline in turnover, the JobKeeper modifications to include gifts and exclude grants do not apply.
  • The 2021 COVID-19 business grant cannot be used to cover expenses for which other government support is available, such as government fees and charges that would be covered by the small business fees and charges rebate.
  • If you received previous COVID-19 business grants, such as the 2020 small business COVID-19 support and small business recovery grants, you can still apply for this new grant if you meet the eligibility criteria.
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