The ATO has set out ways it can help taxpayers deal with COVID-19. This is not to be confused with the Federal Government’s Economic Response to Coronavirus. Taxpayers will have to apply to the ATO for relief.
What types of relief are available from the ATO?
The ATO has provided the following options as possible ways to obtain tax relief.
- The ATO may allow payments for income tax, GST, PAYG instalments, FBT and excise to be deferred – for up to six months.
- Taxpayers may get quicker access to GST refunds by changing from quarterly to monthly reporting. If a change is made now, the first monthly tax period will be the one starting on 1 April 2020.
Changing reporting periods has other consequences – if taxpayers are considering changing before 1 April 2020, please check that these other consequences are acceptable before changing.
- Taxpayers can vary their quarterly PAYG instalment for the March 2020 quarter. The ATO says it will not apply penalties or charge interest to varied instalments for the 2020 income year.
- The ATO may remit interest and penalties incurred after 23 January 2020.
- The ATO may be prepared to enter into ‘low interest’ payment plans.
Taxpayers who are employers need to continue to meet their compulsory superannuation obligations. The ATO does not have the power to defer or vary any superannuation contribution dates and cannot waive the superannuation guarantee charge.
How to apply to the ATO?
Taxpayers will need to apply to the ATO for relief. We expect the ATO will be willing to help taxpayers affected by COVID-19 as much as possible. However, it will be important to explain to the ATO how COVID-19 is affecting the business, and how the relief that is being asked for will help.