COVID-19 Assistance

The ACT Government is delivering tax relief measures to help businesses and households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out what support you may be eligible for below.

If you require any further information, you can call us on (02) 6207 0028.

For more information about other support included in the COVID-19 Economic Survival Package, please visit the COVID-19 website.

Payroll tax waiver

  • A six-month payroll tax waiver, from April to September 2020, is available for businesses whose operations are directly impacted by the prohibited activities list due to COVID-19.
  • To apply for a waiver, please complete this Payroll tax waiver form.
  • If your application is approved, you will need to continue lodging returns as normal, however, no payment is required during the waiver period.
  • If you lodge annually, the waiver will be applied to your annual reconciliation return, which is due on 21 July 2020. The amount will be calculated at 25% of the total tax payable.

Payroll tax deferral

  • If part of a group all ACT businesses with group Australia-wide wages of up to $10 million can defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, interest free until 1 July 2022. All ACT businesses that are not part of a group with Australia-wide wages of up to $10 million can defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, interest free until 1 July 2022.
  • To apply for deferral, please complete this Payroll tax deferral form.
  • For information about payroll tax and grouping, please see our Payroll tax page.

Construction deferral for payroll tax

  • ACT businesses in the construction industry can defer their payroll tax liability, interest-free for nine months from April to December 2020.
  • To apply for a deferral, please complete this Construction industry payroll tax deferral application.

Payroll tax exemption of JobKeeper payments and new apprentice or trainee wages

  • Businesses are exempt from any payroll tax on wages subsidised by the Commonwealth JobKeeper payment scheme from 30 March 2020.
  • Wages paid to apprentices or trainees employed after 1 August 2020 are exempt from payroll tax for the period from the start of the employment until 31 January 2021. To ensure this applies only to new employees, the apprentice or trainee cannot have been employed by the business (or another business within the payroll tax group) at any time during the previous month from when the employment commenced.
  • Businesses are expected to self-assess their eligibility for these exemptions and lodge their payroll tax returns accordingly.

Payroll tax exemption - Businesses unable to trade

  • The exemption applies to wages paid or payable by eligible employers for a specified period – the months of September, October and/or November 2020.
  • The Payroll Tax Exemption Determination sets out, for the purposes of the exemption the eligibility requirements and the period of exemption.
  • An eligible employer is an employer who controls or operates a business that is unable to trade due to an emergency direction in force under section 120 of the Public Health Act 1997 in respect of a COVID-19 declaration.
  • If at any time during one of the specified months, the employer’s business is unable to trade they will be exempt from payroll tax on wages for that month.
  • Businesses are expected to self-assess their eligibility for this exemption and are still required to lodge returns for the specified period.

Payroll tax waiver - businesses able to operate only on a very limited basis

  • Businesses that are able to operate, but only on a very limited basis, as a consequence of an emergency direction in force under section 120 of the Public Health Act 1997 in respect of a COVID-19 declaration, may be eligible for a payroll tax waiver from October to December 2020, for wages paid or payable between 1 September and 30 November.
  • If you own or operate a business that falls into this category, you can apply for a payroll tax waiver by making a written submission to COVID19TaxAssistance@act.gov.au.
  • Submissions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will need to demonstrate that business operations are severely restricted by a specific emergency direction. A business will not be eligible just because it has reduced capacity due to a maximum person limit per usable space or because customers are required to remain seated.
  • In your submission, please provide the following information:
    • Payroll tax account number
    • ABN and trading name
    • Address/es of business premises in the ACT
    • Contact person name, email and phone number
    • Type of business/main operations of the business
    • A description of the relevant emergency direction and how it severely restricts the operation of the business rendering it only able to operate on a very limited basis
  • A recommendation will then be made to the Treasurer on the assistance to be provided for approval. Applications received before the ACT election will be finalised once the incoming Treasurer has an opportunity to consider them after the election.

Financial hardship

  • If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, you may be eligible to defer payment of your rates on your principal place of residence, interest-free for up to one year.
  • To apply for deferral, please complete this Rates deferral COVID-19 hardship application form.

Rates rebate

  • From 1 July 2020, a rates rebate of $150 will be applied to all residential properties in the ACT.
  • In addition, there will be no increase in the Fire and Emergency Services Levy; the amount will be frozen at the 2019-20 rate.
  • These will be automatically applied to your 2020-21 rates bill, so you do not need to apply.

Rates rebate

  • From 1 July 2020, a rates rebate of $150 will be applied to all residential properties in the ACT.
  • In addition, there will be no increase in the Fire and Emergency Services Levy; the amount will be frozen
    at the 2019-20 rate.
  • This assistance will be automatically applied to your 2020-21 rates account, so you do not need to apply.

Land tax credit

  • Landlords, who reduce rent on their privately rented properties by at least 25% due to COVID-19, may be eligible for a land tax credit to cover 50% of the rental reduction, up to a limit of $1,300 per quarter.
  • The credit is only available in situations where landlords have reduced the rent paid by a person renting the property.
    It is not available to landlords who rent their property to a company in the business of providing short term rentals, i.e. serviced apartments.
  • If your application is approved, we will apply this contribution as a reduction to your land tax account.
  • To apply for a land tax credit please complete the Land tax credit application form.

Commercial rates rebate

  • A rates rebate of $2,622 will be applied to commercial properties with an average unimproved value (single property or unit) of $2 million or below.
  • The rebate amount will be automatically applied against any outstanding charges on your account and rolled over to future rates charges.
  • If you are having trouble paying your commercial rates, please contact the debt team on debtmanagement@act.gov.au.

Commercial tenancy relief

  • Commercial landlords of properties with an average unimproved value (AUV) of $2m or below, with tenants who have been directly impacted by COVID-19, can apply for rent reduction support if they reduce rent for their tenants.
  • Support will be provided based on the following tiered category system:
Category 1

Businesses partially or not affected (no more than 30 per cent reduction in business income).

  • Business tenants should continue to pay rent and no rental reduction assistance will be provided by the ACT Government.
Category 2

Businesses significantly affected (at least 30 per cent reduction in business income) but still operating.

  • Landlords with business tenants in this category, can receive 25 per cent of rent reduction provided to tenants as a rebate from the government, capped at the lower of $5,000 per quarter (or around $380 per week) or total quarterly rates.
  • Owner-operated properties can receive a rebate equal to 50 per cent of their rates, capped at $5,000 per quarter (or around $380 per week).
Category 3

Businesses who have effectively shut-down operations (at least 80 per cent reduction in business income).

  • Landlords with business tenants in this category, can receive 50 per cent of rent reduction provided to tenants as a rebate from the government, capped at the lower of $8,000 per quarter (or around $615 per week) or total quarterly rates.
  • Owner-operated properties can receive a rebate equal to 80 per cent of their rates, capped at $8,000 per quarter (or around $615 per week).

  • If you are a landlord of commercial property with an AUV of $2m or less, renting to one or more tenants who fit into category 2 or 3, you can apply by completing the Commercial rates credit: Landlords application.
  • If you are the owner-operator of commercial property with an AUV of $2m or less and your business income has been impacted in the same way as category 2 or 3, you can apply for a rebate by completing the Commercial rates credit: Owner-operators application.
  • If you are the owner of commercial property with an AUV of more than $2m, you can still apply to the Government for assistance. However, the extent of support will depend on your circumstances. Click here to find out how to apply.
  • The City Centre Marketing and Improvements Levy (CCMIL) will be reduced by 50 per cent for the 2020-21 financial year.
  • The balance of the payment will be deferred until February 2021 to help alleviate financial pressure on commercial property owners within the levy collection area. (Note: CCMIL is applied to all rateable commercial properties in the City and some selected areas of benefit in Braddon)

The ACT Government is offering stamp duty concessions in the ACT for some home buyers planning to live in their new property.

The following concessions will apply to contracts exchanged between 4 June 2020 and 30 June 2021:

  • No stamp duty on single residential dwelling blocks.
  • No stamp duty on off-the-plan unit (unit-titled apartment and townhouses) purchases up to $500,000.
  • An $11,400 stamp duty reduction for off-the-plan unit (unit-titled apartment and townhouses purchases between $500,000 and $750,000.
Eligibility requirements include:
  • Contracts must be signed and exchanged from 4 June until 30 June 2021
  • at least one buyer must live in the home continuously for at least one year, starting within 12 months of settlement or completion of construction.
  • the concessions relating to off the plan ‘units’ refer only to unit-titled apartments or townhouses.
  • the concession relating to ‘single residential dwelling blocks’ mean the land must be vacant when you purchase it, and the land title must only allow one residence/house to be built on the land.

Eligible new homeowners will be identified as part of the settlement process.

Further information is available at: Taxation Administration (Owner Occupier Duty) COVID-19 Exemption Scheme Determination 2020 DI2020-205

Questionnaire

To determine your eligibility and apply for this concession, complete the online questionnaire.

The Commonwealth Government announced a new HomeBuilder Grant (Grant) to provide economic support during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Grant is available to eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a Grant of $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home.

The ACT Government is working with the Commonwealth Government to implement this program in the ACT, more information is available on the HomeBuilder Grant webpage.

  • We will be delaying assessments for General Rates, Land Tax and Land Rent by up to three weeks for the first three quarters of 2020-21. The City Centre Marketing Levy annual charge will also be delayed by 3 weeks.
  • The 2020-21 Quarter 4 instalment will be brought back to the regular timing.
  • The delay will apply across all billing sectors. As an indication, the assessments for the first quarter:
    • sector one will be issued on 7 August 2020 (instead of 15 July);
    • for second sector assessments will be issued on 8 September 2020 (instead of 15 August), and
    • for the third sector, 6 October 2020 (instead of 15 September).
  • Payment due dates will be one month after the date of issue i.e. for first quarter:
    • sector one, the due date would be 7 September,
    • for sector two, the due date would be 8 October 2020 ,and
    • for sector three, the due date would be 8 November 2020.

The Government is extending the assistance provided under the utilities concession to eligible asylum seekers for 2020-21, including the additional one-off $200 rebate provided as part of the COVID-19 Economic Survival package. Asylum seekers with a valid ACT Services Access Card will be able to apply by 30 June 2021 for a credit of $900 rebate on their electricity bills for 2020-21, which includes the annual $700 utilities concession and additional one-off $200 rebate.

The amount will be credited to the applicant’s electricity account by the utility provider upon confirmation of eligibility by ACT Treasury.

Applications (and enquiries) can be made by emailing covid19electricityrebate@act.gov.au with the following details and attachments:

  • Name (First and Last Name)
  • Contact person mobile number
  • Contact person email address
  • ACT Services Access Card Number
  • ACT Services Access Card Expiry Date
  • Electricity Retailer Provider Name
  • Electricity Account Number
  • Electricity Account Name
  • Attachment – A copy of recent electricity bill
  • Attachment – A copy of ACT Services Access Card
The information on this page is current as at 17 August 2020.