Finding grants to help your business

Many small business owners are feeling the pinch after the tough years of COVID and high inflation, but receiving a business grant could be the helping hand you need.

If you know where to look, some extra dollars from the federal or your state/territory government could make all the difference between merely getting by and a flourishing business.

What grants are available?

Grants for small businesses range from a few hundred dollars to around $10,000. Some also provide support with securing loans, business introductions, or mentoring services.

The best place to start searching for a business grant is GrantConnect, a free database listing all Australian Government grant opportunities currently open to applicants.

Another important resource is the Grants and Programs Finder tool, which can help you find grants, funding and support from Australian Government agencies.

The government’s Australian Small Business Advisory Services program delivers tailored advice on adopting digital tools to save time and money, and to help expand your business. Businesses with fewer than 20 full-time (or equivalent) employees, as well as sole traders are eligible.

Tech companies can check out the government’s Landing Pads program. This helps tech businesses expand into new markets by providing valuable market insights, expansion strategies, network introductions and venture capital contacts.

Each state and territory offers a range of grants to encourage local businesses. Grants vary between states, so check the online database listing the programs for your state/territory to see if any are suitable for your business.

The NSW Government for example, has a searchable Grants and Funding database highlighting financial incentives for businesses, such as payroll tax rebates for employing apprentices and trainees and the $1,000 SafeWork rebate.

In WA, the Grants Assistance and Programs Register includes both national and local grants, including the New Industries Fund: Innovation Booster Grant and regional Local Capability Fund.

For Victorian-based small businesses, check out the government’s Grants and Programs online database.

If you haven’t found a suitable grant or program, another potential source of information is Grants Hub. Although you need to register for access, you can try it out for 14 days for free.

Read the fine print

When ‘free’ money is up for grabs there is always fierce competition, so it’s important to put in a strong application.

The process will be different for each grant, making it essential to read all the information provided before getting started. Also, check that you meet the criteria, as applications will only be considered from businesses meeting the eligibility requirements.

It’s important to tailor your application to meet the grant requirements and check you prepare all the required documentation. This needs to be in the specified format.

Applying for a grant can be time-consuming, so start early and don’t leave it until the last minute to get your documentation together.

Where to start

There are private operators who offer to find business grants for a fee, but details of government grants are freely available on GrantConnect and, or your state government’s website.

Small business and industry associations sometimes offer grants, so it may also be worth checking the relevant one for your business.

An easy way to find additional funding opportunities can also be to talk to us, as we can help you with government tax programs, such as the small business tax write‑off.

If the grant application process seems too time-consuming, consider hiring someone to help. While a consultant can write your application, grants are awarded on merit and using one will not give you any special access or consideration.

If you need help with finding or applying for a business grant, call our office today.

Single Touch Payroll – Changes ahead

Just when you thought you had all your systems bedded down for Single Touch Payroll (STP), the government is expanding the information on employee payments you need to provide.

So, what will the changes mean for your small business?

STP reporting to expand

Under the current STP rules, employers are required to report payroll information to the ATO each time they pay an employee salary or wages, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding or superannuation.

In the 2019-20 Federal Budget, the government announced an expansion of the data it collected through the STP system starting from 1 January 2022.

The change is called STP Phase 2 and under the new rules, employers will be required to report additional information on or before each pay day.

According to the government, the aim of STP Phase 2 is to “reduce the reporting burden for employers who need to report information about their employees to multiple government agencies”.

The additional data collected from 1 January 2022 will also be used in the administration of the social security system.

New STP Phase 2 requirements

The key changes in your reporting include providing extra information on the employment basis for each of your employees (full-time, part-time or casual).

You will also need to provide information on the tax treatment of their salary. This is to help the ATO identify the factors influencing how you calculated your employee’s PAYG withholding. For instance, where your employee has notified you that they have a Study Training Support Loan.

When an employee ceases employment, you will now need to provide information on the reason, for example, voluntary separation, redundancy or due to illness. This will remove the need for you to provide former employees with separation certificates.

Phase 2 also gives you the option to include child support garnishees and child support deductions in your STP report, reducing the requirement to provide a separate remittance advice report to the Child Support Registrar.

More detailed information

Reporting of income types and country codes is also being introduced with STP Phase 2 to help the ATO identify employee payments with specific tax consequences. The government believes this will allow your employees to complete their personal tax returns more easily.

A significant change with Phase 2 will be the new requirement to separately itemise the components of any gross payment amounts such as bonuses and commissions, directors’ fees, paid leave, salary sacrifice, overtime and allowances.

Allowances will need to be reported separately, not just expense allowances that may be deductible for your employees. Any lump sum payments you make to employees need to be reported under new labels.

Although you need to provide additional information in your STP reports, the way you submit the report, due dates and types of payments covered in your reports will stay the same. Your tax and super obligations and the requirements for end of year finalisation will also stay the same.

Benefits from the STP expansion

The government claims employers will receive a number of benefits from the introduction of STP Phase 2.

A key one is a reduction in the duplicate information you are required to provide to different government agencies, reducing unnecessary interactions with these departments.

You will also no longer be required to send tax file number (TFN) and withholding declaration information to the ATO, as this will be captured in the employment conditions section of your STP report.

By more clearly defining the components making up an employee’s gross income, the government says it will be easier for employers to understand their various obligations.

Assistance with new reporting requirements

The government is working closely with digital service providers to ensure they update their software, so it is ready to commence collecting the additional information from 1 January 2022.

The specific information your business needs to provide for STP Phase 2 depends on the particular software product you use, and how you manage your payroll.

Contact us on 03 5120 1400 if you would like more information or help transitioning your business to the new STP requirements.

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