As the country starts on its road to recovery from COVID-19, with most states gradually lifting restrictions on gatherings and business trading, many businesses are starting to reopen and trade again. If you run a small business in NSW that has experienced a decline in turnover as a result of COVID-19, you may be eligible for a small business recovery grant of between $500 and $3,000.
The grant is designed to help small businesses to meet the costs of safely reopening or upscaling operations. However, the grant can only be used for purchases of eligible expenses made from 1 July 2020, and only in instances where no other government support is available. These expenses can include the following: fit-out changes and temporary physical changes (eg plastic barriers); staff training and counselling; business advice and continuity planning; cleaning products and additional cleaning services (eg hand sanitising stations); additional equipment necessary to comply with social distancing or other public health measures (eg signage); marketing, communications and advertising; digital solutions (eg e-commerce or business websites).
To be eligible for the grant, your business must be a small business based in NSW as at 1 March 2020. Other criteria include: an ABN registered in NSW; an annual turnover of more than $75,000 (a BAS must be provided as evidence). Businesses that have not submitted BASs to the ATO but meets all other criteria may be able to provide an income tax declaration as evidence of annual turnover at the discretion of Service NSW; employ less than 20 full-time equivalent staff; be able to report a payroll below the NSW 2019-20 payroll tax threshold of $900,000; be in a highly impacted industry by the Public Health Order (eg accommodation and food services, arts and recreation services, information media and telecommunications, alcoholic beverages manufacturing, real estate services, retailing, etc). have experienced at least 30% decline in turnover from March to July 2020 compared to the equivalent period (of at least 2 weeks) in 2019; have costs associated with safely reopening or upscaling your business from 1 July 2020.
Remember even if your business has previously applied for and received the COVID-19 small business support grant from the NSW government of $10,000, you may still be eligible to apply for this small business recovery grant. Beware however, Service NSW has indicated that successful grant recipients may be audited in the future to determine their eligibility. Supporting documents in the event of an audit may include prior BAS statements, income tax declaration, profit and loss statements, extractions from accounting software, and receipts and invoices from purchases.
According to Service NSW, evidence (including official receipts) must also demonstrate that the business has used funds in accordance with the terms and conditions of the grant. Those that deliberately provide false or misleading information may be subject to criminal prosecution and recovery action by Revenue NSW.