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Business Costs Assistance Program FAQs

Frequently asked questions related to the Victorian Government's Business Costs Assistance Program.

Which sectors are eligible for the grant?

Small businesses including sole traders who were most impacted by the recent COVID-19 circuit breaker action, particularly those in hospitality, food wholesaling, tourism, events and selected retail. For a full list of eligible sectors see Eligible ANZSIC classes.

To see if your business is in an eligible industry sector you should:

  • Confirm the 4-digit ANZSIC class linked to your Australian Business Number (ABN) on the Australian Business Register.
  • *Check if the 4-digit ANZSIC class linked to your ABN is included in the list of eligible ANZSIC classes for this program.
  • If your 4-digit ANZSIC class linked to your ABN is not on the list of eligible ANZSIC classes for this program, then your business is not eligible for a grant under this program.
  • For more information on how to update your ANZSIC class to accurately reflect your business activity please visit the Australian Business Register.

Why are only certain sectors eligible for support from this program?

The Circuit Breaker Action Business Support Package announced on 21 February 2021 recognises that the circuit breaker action’s impact was more severe for some Victorian businesses than others.

This program, which is part of the Circuit Breaker Action Business Support Package, supports industry sectors that are most likely to have incurred direct costs because of the circuit breaker action, such as the loss of perishable goods (for example food, flowers), cancellation fees and charges, and booking cancellations.

This includes restaurants, florists, accommodation providers, musicians and performers as well as suppliers and organisers to these businesses.

How do I update my Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) on the Australian Business Register?

Use this step-by-step guide for help with updating your ANZSIC class on the Australian Business Register. You can also read about how to update your ABN.

Why do I have to be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) to receive this grant?

For the purposes of this program, being registered for GST indicates that your business was actively trading prior to 12 February 2021 up to now.

A business must register for GST when it has a GST turnover (gross income minus GST) of $75,000 or more.

I applied for the Business Support Fund (or other COVID-19 related grant) and was not eligible. Can I still apply for this program?

Yes, but you must meet all the following criteria:

  • be located within Victoria
  • be registered as operating in an eligible industry sector identified in the List of Eligible ANZSIC classes (as defined by the industry classification linked to the business’ ABN)
  • have incurred costs (as outlined in Section 5 of the guidelines) as a direct result of the circuit breaker action announced on 12 February 2021
  • have an annual Victorian payroll of up to $3 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis
  • be registered for goods and services tax (GST) on 12 February 2021
  • hold an Australian business number (ABN) and have held that ABN at
    12 February 2021.

Note: evidence of eligibility

  • If you are an employing business, you will need to provide the WorkCover Employer Number (WEN) or WorkSafe Application Reference Number (WRN) linked to the business.
  • Non-employing businesses (such as sole traders) need to provide an eligible proof of identity document.

If I received a Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund grant, can I apply for the program?

No, businesses that received a grant under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund are not eligible for a grant under this program.

Eligible businesses who received a grant through the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund will receive a further one-off payment of $3000 to help with costs incurred as a result of the circuit breaker action. Businesses that receive this payment will not be eligible to receive a grant from the Business Costs Assistance Program.

You do not need to apply for this payment. We will contact you with further information.

Can I apply for the Victorian Accommodation Support Program and for this program?

If accommodation businesses apply to both the Business Costs Assistance Program and the Victorian Accommodation Support Program, the maximum grant they are eligible for will be capped at the higher value of the two grants (not the aggregate/total of both grants).

My business is not in one of the eligible sectors, can I still apply?

No, not for this grant. There are other programs and resources for small business including:

What types of businesses are eligible?

Sole traders, companies, partnerships and trusts are eligible to apply for the Circuit Breaker Support Package. Superannuation trusts are not eligible. For more information, please read the program guidelines.

Business Costs Assistance Program guidelines (PDF 258.94 KB)PDF icon

Business Costs Assistance Program guidelines (DOCX 1536.19 KB)DOCX icon

I received a grant/ support through another COVID-19 business support program. Can I apply for the Business Costs Assistance Program?

Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria you can apply for a grant through the Business Costs Assistance Program, unless you received a grant through the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund. Eligible businesses that received a grant through the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund will receive the $3000 Circuit Breaker Action Payment.

My business lost more than $2000 during this circuit breaker action. Can I apply for more?

This program is about supporting as many small businesses as possible in the impacted sectors, so the grant is capped at $2000 per eligible business.

There are other programs and resources for small business including:

What if I incurred less than $2000 in costs, will I need to pay some of the money back?

No. The Business Costs Assistance Program is a one-off payment recognising some businesses in targeted industry sectors have incurred direct costs as a result of the circuit breaker action.

If the costs you incurred are less than $2000, your business may still be eligible for a $2000 grant if it meets the other criteria.

By making this program easy for all businesses to access and apply, we can support as many Victorian businesses as possible, as quickly as possible.

All successful applicants must keep evidence of their costs for 12 months for audit.

I am a performer/ artist who has lost work during this circuit breaker action, but I am not registered for GST. Can I still access support?

No, under the guidelines of the program all applicants must be registered for GST.  A business or enterprise must register for GST if it has a turnover of $75,000 or more.  Not-for-profit entities with annual turnover between $75,000 and $150,000, which are not registered for GST and are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission, are eligible to apply.

What is a booking cancellation?

For the purposes of this program, a booking cancellation is when a service delivery or product lease from the businesses has been cancelled, deferred or postponed by a customer or client as a direct result of Victoria’s circuit breaker action, causing the business to incur a cost.

For example, a sole trader musician paid a non-refundable deposit to hire a van and extra equipment to play at a wedding that was cancelled as a direct result of the circuit breaker action. The costs incurred in this case are the non-refundable deposits.

Evidence of booking cancellations must be retained for 12 months and must be produced upon request by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR).

I have a non-employing business (e.g. sole trader, partnership). Which identification documents should I submit with my application?

You need to provide the identity documents of the person listed on the Australian Business Register as either the owner or co-owner of the business or authorised contact of the business. We will accept: an Australian driver’s licence, an Australian passport, a Medicare card and Australian visa information and a foreign passport.

I am a hospitality venue with a liquor licence and I incurred direct costs as a result of the circuit breaker action. Can I apply to this program?

Licensed hospitality venues that did not receive a grant under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund are eligible to apply for assistance under the Business Costs Assistance Program.

Businesses that received a grant under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund are not eligible for a grant under this program.

What type of evidence do I need to keep of incurred costs?

The types of costs incurred by businesses will vary, some examples include:

  • receipts and paid invoices for perishable goods, such as ingredients and flowers, that were no longer able to be sold or used for services
  • paperwork including receipts, invoices, contracts for non-refundable fees for staging equipment, performers, venue hire for cancelled events
  • evidence of cancelled client bookings such as records of online booking or paper bookings.

In your application, you will need to confirm and attest to the costs you incurred.

This is not an exhaustive list so it is important to keep evidence of your costs for 12 months from the date you receive your grant, as the Victorian Government or its representatives will conduct an audit of successful applicants and you may be asked to provide these records.

The program assists businesses that have incurred costs as a direct result of the circuit breaker action. Does this mean costs I incurred before the circuit breaker announcement aren’t eligible?

No, costs incurred before the circuit breaker action are eligible if they were incurred in preparation for activities that needed to be cancelled as a result of the circuit breaker action. For example pre-paid, non-refundable fees for performers or venue deposits.

My business incurred a cost due to the circuit breaker action. What type of costs are covered by this program?

The program assists eligible businesses that have incurred costs as a direct result of the circuit breaker action announced on 12 February 2021. These may include:

  • the loss of perishable goods (e.g. food or flowers)
  • cancellation fees and charges (e.g. venue/performer/instructor)
  • booking cancellations
  • any other costs and losses incurred due to the circuit breaker action that could not be reasonably avoided.

I’ve received notification that my identification check has returned an invalid result or could not be validated, how do I update my proof of identity?

Update your contact details by following these steps.

1.Click on the Grants Portal link in the email notification you received (as indicated below).

Image 1 shows an example email requesting different identity documents be supplied as part of a BCAP application. A red box highlights an in-text link to the Grants Portal.

2.In the Grants Portal, select the application with the same ‘GA’ reference number quoted in the email.

Image 2 shows a screenshot of the DJPR grants portal with the 'Reference No." column highlighted in a red box.

3.Follow the link to your application.

Image 3 shows a screenshot of the grants portal and a red box highlights a link to, "Business Costs Assistance Program - Non-employing Businesses"

4.Select the Proof of Identity tab on the left of your application preview page.

Image 4 shows a screenshot from the grants portal. On this screen, a series of options are shown to the left of screen, all written in white text, contained in green boxes and sitting on under the other. The 4th option is "Proof of identity" and is highlighted with a red box.

5.Update your proof of identity by selecting the type of ID (for example driver’s licence) you want to update or provide a new ID type and enter the relevant details. Then, select next page.

Image 5 shows the screen the users finds after clicking on 'Proof of identity". Using red boxes it highlights a dropdown menu toward the top of page that reads "Driver Licence" and a button at the bottom of page that reads "Next page >>".

6.Review your application details on the preview page and scroll down to resubmit your application. Note that you must resubmit your application for your changes to be received by our team.

Image 6 shows a screenshot of the application declaration screen the user finds when submitting new identification documents. Full text is available in the grants portal. At the bottom of screen a "Save and submit" button is highlighted in a red box.

7.When you reach the confirmation page below, your application with the updated Document Verification System (DVS) details will have been received. Please note that the DVS will only allow four attempts per application, the original details plus three correction attempts.

Image 7 shows a screenshot of the 'Submission received' screen that a user will see when succussfully supplying new identification documents.

Download a copy of these instructions: Updating Proof of Identity Details in Grant Hub forms (PDF 633.93 KB)PDF icon

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