Sole traders are eligible for a range of COVID-19 support including
- Business Support Fund – Expansion
- SME Guarantee Scheme and,
- a range of ATO initiatives.
To help identify what support and financial assistance you can access, Business Victoria have created an online tool.
Sole traders may be eligible for the JobKeeper scheme under the business participation entitlement if their business has experienced a downturn according to the eligibility criteria.
As a sole trader, you may be entitled to the JobKeeper payment for yourself if:
- you meet the conditions of an eligible entity, and
- you are also an eligible business participant.
The JobKeeper guide for sole traders provides step-by-step information on how to enrol, identify and maintain employees, and make a monthly business declaration.
Who is an eligible business participant?
An eligible business participant is an individual who is actively engaged in the operation of the business but is not:
- an employee of the business or
- an approved provider of child care services External Link (from 20 July onwards).
What are the conditions of an eligible entity?
As a sole trader, you are an eligible entity if:
- on 1 March 2020, you carried on a business in Australia
- you satisfy the fall in turnover test for the relevant period
- you satisfied certain conditions at 12 March 2020, being–you had an ABN on 12 March 2020, and
- you had lodged, on or before 12 March 2020, at least one of-a 2018–19 income tax return showing an amount included in your assessable income in relation to carrying on that business, or
- an activity statement or GST return for any tax period that started after 1 July 2018 and ended before 12 March 2020 showing you made a taxable, GST-free or input-taxed sale.
Business Support Fund – Expansion
A sole trader must employ people other than themselves to be eligible.
Businesses must fulfil all the following criteria to be eligible to apply for the $5,000 grant. They must:
- operate a business located within Victoria; and
- participate in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme; and
- employ people; and
- be registered with WorkSafe on 30 June 2020; and
- have had an annual payroll of less than $3 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis; and
•be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) as at 30 June 2020; and
•hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at 30 June 2020; and
•be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator.
The rules you need to meet to get JobSeeker Payment depend on your situation. JobSeeker eligibility has been temporarily expanded to include sole traders and the self-employed if your business has been negatively affected.
You’ll need to meet all of these requirements:
- you are between 22 and Age Pension age
- you meet residence rules
- your income and assets are under the test limits.
You also need to meet the rules for one of these situations:
- You meet the definition of unemployed and you’re looking for work.
- You’re sick or injured and are unable to do your usual work or study for a short time.
You may also be able to get this payment if your work situation changes because of coronavirus (COVID 19). The change in your work situation can be for 1 of the following reasons. You’re:
- a permanent employee and have lost your job
- a sole trader, self-employed, a casual or contract worker and your income has reduced
- caring for someone who’s affected by coronavirus.
SME Guarantee Scheme
The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will provide small and medium sized business with timely access to working capital to help them get through the impact of the Coronavirus.
A temporary government guarantee of 50 per cent is being provided to participating lenders willing to provide credit to sole traders.
Eligible lenders are currently offering guaranteed loans up to 30 September 2020 on the following terms:
- Available to SMEs, including sole traders and not-for-profits, with a turnover of up to $50 million.
- Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower.
- Loans will be for up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday.
- Unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan.