The Government is providing vital support to help sole traders withstand the economic impacts of the Coronavirus.
Support is available if you are a sole trader with legal responsibility for all aspects of your business whether you work alone or are an employer.
On 21 July, the Government announced it is extending the JobKeeper Payment until 28 March 2021 and is targeting support to those businesses and not-for-profits who continue to be significantly impacted by the Coronavirus.
Further changes were announced on 7 August 2020 to adjust the reference date for employee eligibility and make it easier for organisations to qualify for the JobKeeper Payment extension.
As a sole trader you could be eligible for either the JobKeeper or JobSeeker payment.
The existing JobKeeper Payment will remain in place until 27 September 2020 and will continue to be open for new enrolments for entities that were in operation on 1 March 2020. Additional information about eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment until 27 September 2020 is available on the ATO website.
From 28 September 2020, the JobKeeper Payment will be extended, however, payments will be targeted to eligible sole traders that have been, and continue to be, most significantly impacted by the Coronavirus. The payment will also be stepped-down and two tiers of payment will be introduced.
JobSeeker eligibility has also been temporarily expanded to include sole traders and the self-employed if your business has been negatively affected.
You may also be able to access working capital under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme to improve business cash flow. A temporary government guarantee of 50 per cent is being provided to participating lenders willing to provide credit to sole traders. The Government will extend the Scheme to be available for loans written until 30 June 2021, and increase flexibility of the scheme and ensure the loans will fit the evolving needs, including for sole traders.
Further support is also available for those working in industries, communities or regions particularly affected by the Coronavirus economic downturn including tourism, agriculture and education.