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Business Support Fund FAQs

Questions and answers related to the Victorian Government's Business Support Fund for small businesses.

Business Support Fund FAQs

Below are FAQs relating to the Victorian Government's Business Support Fund.

Why has the Victorian Government launched this fund?

  • The Victorian Government has launched the Business Support Fund to support small businesses survive the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) and keep people in work.
  • The fund is part of the Victorian Government’s $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package which is supporting businesses and workers through the devastating impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).

When do applications open and close?

  • Applications are now open for new applicants and will close at 11.59pm on Monday 1 June 2020.
  • Previous applicants who may now be eligible for Stream Two would have received a note from the Department inviting them to provide their JobKeeper details. Please follow the instructions outlined in that note and do not submit a new application.

What businesses are eligible to apply for grants under the Business Support Fund?

Stream One is for eligible small businesses in the hardest hit sectors, which includes businesses in the following categories:

  • Accommodation and Food Services (e.g. cafes, restaurants, caterers, hotels, motels)
  • Arts and Entertainment (e.g. cinemas, performing arts venues, creative spaces, performers, museums)
  • Health and Beauty Services (e.g. hairdressers, barbers, beauty therapists)
  • Sport and recreation (e.g. gyms, swimming pools, indoor climbing, play centres)
  • Tourism (e.g. tourist transport, tour operators, tour arrangement, wineries, distilleries and microbreweries)
  • Retail, other than supermarket, groceries, liquor and pharmacy businesses (e.g. clothing, footwear and electronic stores)
  • Other Services (e.g. real estate agents).

Sector eligibility will be determined by the industry classification linked to their ABN.

Applicants should ensure that the industry classification linked to their ABN reflects their current business activity and is up-to-date. For information on how to update your ABN, go to the Australian Business Register website and refer to the Australian Tax Office website for more information on industry classification.

Stream Two is for eligible small businesses regardless of the industry sector in which they operate, provided they are enrolled as eligible participants in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper payment scheme.

Why is JobKeeper participation a criterion for Stream Two of the Business Support Fund?

The Business Support Fund is intended to provide support to businesses most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Enrolment in the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper program demonstrates that a business has been significantly impacted and has experienced (or is expected to experience) at least a 30 per cent fall in turnover.

How do I provide evidence that I am enrolled in the Commonwealth’s Jobkeeper Payment Scheme?

To determine your eligibility for Stream Two of the Business Support Fund, you need to provide a enrollment receipt number (ATO Receipt ID number).

Your JobKeeper enrolment receipt number (ATO Receipt ID number) is the 13 digit receipt provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) when you first enrolled for JobKeeper by submitting a ‘Business enrolment for JobKeeper wage subsidy’. The enrolment receipt number starts with either '2410' or '711'.

Note that we only require the receipt number. Please do not provide us with any employee details or other information contained in your JobKeeper enrolment.

You must notify us if you have been classified as ineligible for JobKeeper while you are enrolled for the program.

If you did not record your JobKeeper Registration Receipt Number (ATO Receipt ID number), you will need to contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on 13 28 66 to obtain it. More information is available at the ATO website.

My grant application under the original stream (Stream One) was unsuccessful, do I need to submit another application to be considered under Stream Two?

If you previously applied for a Business Support Fund grant and were deemed ineligible because of your industry classification, please do not submit another application. You will be contacted and invited to provide your JobKeeper enrolment details which will enable your application to be reassessed for Stream Two.

How do you define an employee?

Generally, to be considered an "employee", staff must be under the control of the business, and have income tax and superannuation paid by the employer.

Can I submit more than one application?

An application is required to be submitted for each business looking to access the grant. If you own more than one business, you are required to submit an individual application for each business you own.

Why are applications only open to businesses with an annual wage bill of less than $650,000 a year?

The fund is targeted at small businesses that may not be eligible for 2019-20 refunds and waiving of payroll tax, which applies to businesses with wages bills of $650,000 or above.

Businesses with a wages bill between $650,000 and $3 million will have their payroll tax refunded and waived for the 2019-20 financial year under the Victorian Government’s $1.7 billion economic survival package.

If your business is part of a group of companies with a combined payroll of more than $650,000 and set to receive the payroll tax refund, your company is ineligible for this funding program.

Why are applications only open to businesses with an annual turnover of more than $75,000?

Businesses with a turnover below this level are likely to be sole traders that do not employ people. $75,000 is also the threshold for when the Australian Taxation Office requires a business to register for GST.

If your business is not eligible for this funding you may still be eligible for other support in the Victorian Government’s Economic Survival Package or those provided by the Commonwealth Government or your local council.

What evidence do I need to provide to prove my business has an annual turnover of more than $75,000?

A Business Activity Statement (BAS) is required as evidence that your business has an annual turnover of more than $75,000.  If you are unable to provide a BAS as your business is a not-for-profit registered with the ACNC, you must provide business bank statements to evidence that your business activities in the 2019/20 financial year meet the eligibility criteria. Please note that this may delay the processing of your application

What are acceptable versions of BAS?

Checklist of acceptable forms of BAS

Acceptable BAS evidence can be either:

  1. A copy of your most recently lodged BAS for the 2019-20 financial year from the ATO’s Business Portal with evidence of lodgement date (your tax agent, if you have one, will be able to assist). OR
  2. If you are unable to obtain the above, a copy of your most recently prepared BAS for the 2019-20 financial year with your ABN/ TFN and evidence of lodgement to the ATO such as a receipt or bank statement showing payment.

Note that the legal name, business and/ or trading name on your BAS should match the details provided on your application.

Checklist of not acceptable forms of BAS

Common issues with not acceptable BAS evidence:

  1. Activity doesn’t occur in 2019-20 financial year.
  2. Missing ABN/ TFN.
  3. Different legal name, business and/ or trading name to the details provided on your application.
  4. No evidence that the business activity statement has been lodged with the ATO (i.e. does not contain a lodgement date, receipt from the ATO or bank statement, or is a pre-lodgement document.

For examples of what is considered acceptable as BAS please refer to the BAS statement examples (PDF 1955.29 KB)PDF icon.

Note: Lodged Business Activity Statements are available on the ATO’s Business Portal or through your tax agent.

Does my business need to be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for the application?

For the purpose of this grant program a business is defined as an entity where a business name is registered with ASIC, or the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) in the case of a charity or Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) in the case of an incorporated association.

Applicants must ensure that the business name in their application matches their ASIC, ACNC or CAV-registered name. Applications without a matching ASIC, ACNC or CAV-registered name will result in an ineligible assessment.

An adverse ASIC finding against a business is also taken into consideration when assessing an application.

What other Victorian Government support is available for businesses and workers impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19)?

  • The Victorian Government has announced a $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package to support businesses and workers affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In addition to the Business Support Fund, the package also provides:

  • Full payroll tax refunds and waivers for the 2019-20 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with payroll of less than $3 million, which can also defer payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021
  • Waiving of liquor licensing fees for 2020
  • Land tax deferral for landowners that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million
  • Fast tracking outstanding supplier invoices to within five business days and future invoices within 10 days
  • Rent holiday for commercial tenants in government buildings for 2020.

Download the Economic Survival Program fact sheet for information on how to access the above initiatives.

The Business Victoria business support and financial assistance finder helps you find available assistance from the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments based on your circumstances.

What Commonwealth Government support is available for businesses and workers impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The Victorian Government’s Economic Survival Package complements the Commonwealth Government’s economic response to coronavirus (COVID-19), which includes:

  • Boosting cash flow for employers
  • Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
  • Increasing the instant asset write-off
  • Backing business investment
  • Supporting apprentices and trainees
  • Support for coronavirus (COVID-19) affected regions and communities
  • Information about the Commonwealth Government’s economic response is available at https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.

The Business Victoria business support and financial assistance finder helps you find available assistance from the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments based on your circumstances.

JobKeeper Payment

  • On 30 March 2020, the Commonwealth Government also announced it will provide a wage subsidy to around 6 million workers who will receive a flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight through their employer, before tax.
  • The payment will be open to eligible businesses that have been significantly hit financially by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Information about JobKeeper payments is available at https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment.

Can I access the Business Support Fund if I am a non-employing business?

The Business Support Fund is open to businesses that have employed staff during 2019-20. If your business has had to let staff go as a result of closure or being highly impacted by shutdown restrictions announced by the Victorian Government to-date, you still may be eligible to apply for this grant.

If your business is a non-employing business during 2019-2020 you can seek support through the Commonwealth Government’s JobSeeker Payment Program.

How much can my business apply for under the Business Support Fund?

Businesses can apply for a one-off grant of $10,000.

My business has been impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19), but it is not on the list of affected sectors. Can I still apply?

  • The Business Support Fund provides support for businesses closed or highly impacted by the Victorian Government’s shutdown restrictions.
  • There is a range of alternative coronavirus business support available from the Victorian Government’s Economic Survival Package and from the Commonwealth Government.
  • Please refer to the above questions about Victorian Government and Commonwealth Government support packages for possible alternatives.

I run a not-for-profit organisation, can I apply for a grant under the Business Support Fund?

Not-for-profit organisations may apply for a grant as long as they meet the eligibility criteria for either stream of the Business Support Fund.

If I am a successful applicant, are there restrictions on what I can spend the funds on?

It is expected that funds can be spent on business activities and costs, including:

  • Utilities, salaries and rent
  • Seeking financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning
  • Developing the business through marketing and communications activities
  • Other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.

What is meant by going concern?

Going concern means a business where an owner is still in control of the business, not in liquidation, administration or receivership and where the owner has the intent of reopening the business once shutdown restrictions are lifted.

I applied for the Business Support Fund over five business days ago and I have yet to receive a response. Why is my application taking longer than five business days to process?

All Business Support Fund applications are being carefully and systematically assessed for eligibility.

While most applications are processed within five business days, delays may be experienced if:

  • your application does not meet all the criteria outlined in the guidelines
  • you submitted incorrect documentation, such as an incorrect BAS statement, or have supplied incorrect banking details;
  • you have been advised by email that your application has been returned for amendments; or
  • you have submitted more than one application for the same business

If you have not heard about the status of your application after five business days, please do not submit another application. Contact the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

Return to the Business Support Fund page to apply

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