On 30 January 2022, in a joint media release, the Premier of NSW, The Hon Dominic Perrottet MP, the NSW Treasurer and Minister for Energy, the Hon Matt Kean MP, the Deputy Premier of NSW and Minister for Regional NSW and Police, the Hon Paul Toole MP, and the Minister for Small Business and Fair Trading, the Hon Eleni Petinos MP, announced the 2022 Small Business Support Program (SBSP) to support businesses most impacted by the Omicron wave in NSW.
The JobSaver payment program ended on 30 November 2021 and was co-funded by the Commonwealth and the NSW Government until NSW reached the 80% double COVID-19 vaccination target. From that point, the NSW Government continued to fund its 50% contribution to JobSaver payments, and the amount of the payments tapered from the original rate of 40% of NSW Weekly Payroll to 30% then to 15%. By contrast, the SBSP will be funded solely by the NSW Government and cover 20% of an eligible business’ NSW payroll for February 2022.
Daily case numbers in the tens of thousands have affected consumer confidence, presenting ongoing challenges in the form of hesitant customers not wanting to venture out. Further, significant staffing shortages have resulted from the higher case numbers as those infected, and those (re)defined as ‘close contacts’, are required to isolate leading to furloughs. Many businesses have experienced further disruption to their operations and cash flow, inhibiting them from returning to ‘normal’ trading conditions. However, unlike 2020 and 2021, extensive government financial assistance is no longer available to businesses.
The NSW Government has introduced the SBSP to provide targeted assistance to those businesses requiring financial support to continue operating in 2022 and beyond. This measure is supplemented by an expansion of the support provided under the Small Business Fees, Charges and RAT Rebate. The SBSP will be delivered jointly by Service NSW and Revenue NSW.
There will be a tendency to describe this payment as ‘JobSaver Mark 2’ or ‘JobSaver 2022’, but this should be avoided. While some features of the new payment are the same or similar to the former program, there are important distinctions; the most significant being that the SBSP payment is not a recurring fortnightly payment.
The Guidelines for the SBSP were released on 8 February 2022. A reference to 'businesses’ below should be interpreted as including businesses, registered charities and not-for-profit (NFP) organisations.
The NSW Government has also expanded the support available to eligible businesses under the Small business fees and charges rebate (Rebate). This measure initially provided businesses with a credit of $1,500 that could be used to cover the cost of NSW and local government fees and charges.
The amount of the Rebate was subsequently increased to $2,000 on 18 October 2021 and expanded to include road user tolls as an eligible expense. As part of the recently announced measures, the Rebate will increase further from $2,000 to $3,000 and allow employing businesses to use the Rebate to cover 50% of the cost of rapid antigen tests (RATs). Business that have already registered for the scheme will automatically receive a top-up of $1,000. New registrants will receive the full rebate amount of $3,000.
The single lump sum support payment covers only the four weeks in February 2022 and does not cover January 2022.
Weekly payroll should be determined using the calculations underlying the most recently lodged Business Activity Statement (BAS) or Instalment Activity Statement (IAS) that is in respect of a tax period that falls within the 2021–22 financial year. Notably, only the BAS could be used to work out the amount of JobSaver payments but either a BAS or an IAS can be used to work out the amount of the SBSP payment.
As for JobSaver, the amount reported at item W1 on the BAS or IAS should be used:
The weekly payroll amount is arrived at by dividing the amount reported at item W1 (adjusted for the above exclusions) by the number of calendar days reported in the PAYG withholding section of the BAS or IAS and multiplying the result by 7.
Businesses that do not submit a BAS or IAS, or have no W1 amount should use the ATO’s definition of W1 to calculate the total wages, salaries and other amounts, excluding amounts paid to contractors where PAYG withholding has been withheld under voluntary agreements.
Most applicants submitting complete and eligible applications through the Service NSW website should receive payment within 5 to business 15 days of approval of the application.
Payment timeframes can sometimes be extended if applications are:
To be able to claim an SBSP payment, eligible businesses must:
The SBSP payment may be used to cover business costs that include, but are not limited to, the following expenses:
Eligible businesses will be able to apply for the SBSP from 14 February 2022 until 11:59pm on 31 March 2022. Applicants will be required to complete an online application form through the Service NSW website.
The Guidelines set out the evidentiary requirements, that include:
A business that is directly impacted by the Public Health Order and have an ANZSIC code listed at Attachment A will need to:
(a) declare that they experienced a DIT of 40% or more due to COVID-19 in January 2022 compared with January 2020 or January 2021;
(b) declare that they experienced a DIT of 40% or more due to COVID-19 from 1–14 February 2022 compared with the same fortnight in February in the comparison year used for January’s DIT; and
(c) identify how the Public Health Order has directly impacted the turnover of the business.
Businesses that meet the eligibility criteria but have ANZSIC codes not listed in Attachment A must:
(a) submit supporting evidence to demonstrate a DIT of 40% or more due to COVID-19 during the month of January 2022, compared with January 2020 or January 2021 through either:
(i) BASs or IASs for January 2022 and January 2020/January 2021; or
(ii) a letter from a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent;
(b) declare that they experienced a DIT of 40% or more due to COVID-19 over the period from 1–14 February 2022 compared with the same fortnight in February in the comparison year used for January’s DIT; and
(c) identify how COVID-19 has impacted the turnover of the business.
A template for the accountant’s letter will be available on the Service NSW website soon.
The letter to show the DIT must be from one of the following:
(a) a qualified accountant as defined in the Corporations Act 2001;
(b) a registered tax agent as defined in the Tax Agent Services Act 2009; or
(c) a registered BAS agent as defined under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009.
Non-employing accounting businesses (e.g. sole traders) must submit a letter from a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent who 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.
There are a range of circumstances in which a business may not meet the eligibility criteria and supporting evidentiary requirements but may still be eligible for the SBSP.
These circumstances include:
Alternative rules for these businesses are provided at Attachment C of the Guidelines.
Additional evidentiary requirements apply where a business operates through a trust structure. The applicant will be required to provide additional information to demonstrate that an aggregated turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million (inclusive) is derived through the trust. The entity operating the business is eligible for the SBSP, not other entities that are receiving passive income from the business.
A comparison of the former JobSaver program and the new SBSP is set out in Table 1 below.
TABLE 1: Comparison of previous and new JobSaver payment arrangements
Closed on 30 November 2021
Opens on 14 February 2022 and closes after 11:59pm on 31 March 2022
Fortnightly payments from 18 July 2021 to 30 November 2021
One-off lump sum payment for the 4 weeks in February 2022
Must have had an ABN and be operating in NSW as at:
1 June 2021
1 January 2021
Weekly payment amount
15%6 of NSW weekly payroll
20% of NSW weekly payroll
Requisite aggregated turnover threshold11
$75,000 to $250m (inclusive)
$75,000 to $50m (inclusive)
Requisite decline in turnover threshold12
≥ 30% for businesses with an aggregated turnover of more than $75,000 and up to $250 million
≥ 15% for certain charities and NFP organisations
≥ 40% for business, charities and NFP organisations
Larger businesses in the tourism, hospitality and recreation industries only
NSW weekly payroll period
Weekly amount based on W1 amount reported on the most recent BAS lodged with the ATO prior to 26 June 2021 within the 2020–21 financial year
Weekly amount based on W1 amount reported on the most recent BAS or IAS lodged with the ATO for a tax period that falls within the 2021–22 financial year
Maintain employee headcount as at:
13 July 2021
30 January to 28 February 2022
Highly impacted industries
102 industries listed in Attachment A to the JobSaver Guidelines
22 industries listed in Attachment A to the SBSP Guidelines
Businesses under $75,000 aggregated turnover
Support available under the 2021 COVID-19 Micro-business Grant
No support available under the SBSP, however, the Rebate is available
Further guidance and information on the SBSP is available from the Service NSW website.
If you have any specific concerns that have not been outlined above, please email email@example.com.
4 The income tax return will not necessarily evidence the entity’s aggregated turnover, as the entity’s ordinary income derived in the ordinary course of carrying on a business, and that of entities connected with them, or their affiliates, is not reported separately on the income tax return. It is, however, a reasonable proxy to ascertain the entity’s aggregated turnover.