NSW Taxi Council is an active member of the Australian Taxi Industry Association (ATIA)
The ATIA has recently provided an update to NSW Taxi Council to critically understand the support available and measures taken by the Australian Government to support the Taxi Drivers, Operators and Licence Owners of NSW Taxi Industry, whose businesses and income are significantly impacted by COVID-19.
Taxi Industry Members Who Are Sole Traders
For the purposes of the Australian Government’s measures to support businesses impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Australian Taxi Industry Association (ATIA) considers that the benefits available tosole tradersshould be available to:
taxi drivers whose businesses comprise plying a taxi for hire that they bail (i.e. as a bailee driver), lease or own;
taxi operators whose businesses comprise bailing or leasing taxis to self-employed taxi drivers;
taxi licence owners who businesses comprise leasing taxi licences to taxi operators.
Definition of Sole Traders
To determine whether you're a sole trader, please refer to the ATO’s definition.
The ATO considers you a sole trader if you:
use your individual tax file number when lodging your income tax return;
report all your income in your individual tax return, using the section for business items to show your business income and expenses (there is no separate business tax return for sole traders);
use your ABN for all your business dealings;
are registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST);
pay tax at the same income tax rates as individual taxpayers;
may claim a deduction for any personal super contributions you make after notifying your fund.
Government Support for Sole Traders
If you're a sole trader you are eligible for:
Jobkeeper Payment for Sole Traders
Given the current economic conditions, taxi drivers, operators and owners who are sole tradersare likely to meet the eligibility requirement of their turnover having reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month). Following registration with the ATO, the Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee, or for the sole trader in the case of no employees, for a maximum of 6 months.
For more information, click JobKeeper Payment for sole traders.
The Increased Instant Asset Write-off
The Government has increased the instant asset write off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 for assets that are either installed or ready for first use by 30 June 2020.
For more information, click increased instant asset write-off .
Backing Business Investment (BBI)
A time limited 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. Taxi operators who are sole traders will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost.
For more information, click Backing Business Investment.
Increased and Accelerated Income Support
The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to (new and existing) recipients of the eligible payment categories (e.g. Jobseeker Payment) for the next six months.
For more information, click increased and accelerated income support.
SME Guarantee Scheme
This will provide businesses with funding to meet immediate cash flow needs, by further enhancing lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit. Businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans.
For more information, click Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme.
Early Access to Superannuation
Taxi drivers, operators and owners who are sole traders can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Application for early release of superannuation can be made from mid-April 2020.
For more information, click early access to your superannuation.
The ATO is providing relief for some tax obligations for businesses affected by the outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. Contact the ATO’s Emergency Support Infoline for businesses on 1800 806 218 for more information or to request this help.
Bank Finance Support
The Australian Banking Association has announced that Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for 6 months.
For more information, click Australian Banking Association.
ATIA recommends staying informed of developments associated with the COVID-19 pandemic by downloading the Australia Government official "Coronavirus Australia" app in the
ATIA also recommends taxi drivers, operators and owners consider joining the the Australian Government’s WhatsApp channelwhich is available on iOS and Android smartphones by messaging +61 400 253 787 or by going to http://aus.gov.au/whatsapp.
Mental Health and Well-being
Looking after your mental health is important during difficult times, such as the one currently confronting taxi industry members. If you are feeling anxious about COVID-19 there are positive steps you can and should take to get help.
The Department of Health has a dedicated website on how to look after your mental wellbeing during a crisis.
Other contacts for mental health and wellbeing include: