On 23 March 2020, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg introduced a package of bills to the House of Representatives containing a number of measures to support the Australian community and economy in response to the various economic challenges posed by the Coronavirus. The bills in the package passed both houses of parliament on the same day. On 24 March 2020, all the Bills received Royal Assent.
The following Acts were part of the package:
This article will focus on the measures set out in the Omnibus Act.
Schedule 1 of the Omnibus Act amends income tax legislation in order to enhance instant asset write-off provisions for small and medium-sized businesses. Eligible businesses will now be able to immediately write off purchases of eligible assets that cost less than $150,000 per unit. The previous threshold for eligible assets was $30,000. The Omnibus Act also amends the legislation to increase the maximum aggregated threshold of eligible entities from $50 million to $500 million.
Schedule 4 of the Omnibus Act contains provisions for two rounds of economic support payments to eligible individuals. Each round of payment amounts to $750. The first payments will be made to individuals who, during the period of 12 March 2020 and 13 April 2020:
On 10 July 2020, individuals who were eligible for the first payment will receive the second economic support payment, if they still fulfil the aforementioned criteria, and providing that they reside in Australia on that date. However, individuals who receive the new Coronavirus supplement, outlined in Schedule 11 of the Omnibus Act, will not be eligible for this second payment.
Schedule 11 of the Omnibus Act contains provisions that amend the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth) in order to provide for additional financial assistance for those financially impacted by the Coronavirus. Individuals who are eligible, or are receiving the income support payments, will receive an additional fortnightly supplement. The recipients of the following payments will be eligible for the supplement:
The supplement will be available for a six month period, starting on 27 April 2020. Recipients of other social security payments may also be extended the supplement, and the period of the supplement may also be extended if specified by the Minister for Families and Social Services in a legislative instrument.
Recipients of the Jobseeker payment, Youth Allowance, and Parenting Payment will also be granted exemptions from:
Schedule 12 contains provisions to afford temporary relief for businesses and individuals who experience financial distress due to the Coronavirus.
For businesses, the Omnibus Act contains amendments in order to:
For owners of businesses, the Australia Tax Office will offer solutions such as:
Schedule 13 of the Omnibus Act contains amendments to the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (Cth) and the Retirement Savings Accounts Regulations 1997 (Cth) which allows for individuals and sole traders financially impacted by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in the 2019-20 financial year. The amount released from superannuation will be tax free, and an additional $10,000 can be accessed in the following financial year. Applications for early access must be made within six months of the assent date of the Omnibus Act, being 24 March 2020.
The Omnibus Act also contains provisions which:
TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.
Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 (Cth) and Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Bill 2020 (Cth) supporting documents available from TimeBase’s LawOne Service
FREE legislation news, delivered weekly.
Sign up now.#WeLoveLegislation Tweets
NEW information resources - great for training.