VIC’s Small Business COVID Hardship Fund

Providing $20,000 grants for eligible small and medium businesses that have experienced a reduction in turnover of at least 70%.

The Victorian Government recognises that COVID is taking a toll on the business community so have recently increased the COVID Hardship Fund from $10,000 to now $20,000 per eligible small and medium business, including employing and non-employing businesses. This program will allow more businesses that have previously not received support, to receive financial relief now.

Please note: The total grant amount increased from $14,000 to $20,000 on 4 September 2021. Businesses that have already received a grant through this program will receive an automatic top-up payment of $6,000 into their nominated bank account.

To be eligible, businesses must:

  • be located within Victoria
  • as a direct consequence of COVID-19 restrictions since 27 May 2021 have experienced a reduction in turnover of at least 70% for a minimum consecutive two-week period comparable to a benchmark period in 2019
    (note alternative arrangements are available for businesses who were not actively trading in 2019 – please speak with us for further information)
  • have an annual Victorian payroll of up to $10 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis
  • have been registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) on and from 28 July 2021
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN on and from 28 July 2021
  • be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator.

For those employing businesses, you must also:

  • be registered with WorkSafe Victoria
  • attest that the business is supporting its workers to access any paid leave entitlements, or that if a person can work from home, to work from home during the COVID-19 restrictions, and supporting their casual workers, where possible.

Businesses should ensure that all relevant registrations are up to date before applying for a grant under this program.

Businesses that have received funding under any of the Victorian Government COVID-19 support packages launched on or after 27 May 2021 are not eligible for a grant under this program.

Businesses that have received assistance launched prior to 27 May 2021 may apply for assistance under this program.

How to apply

Applications are open from Thursday 12 August 2021 until program funds are exhausted or 11:59 pm on Friday 10 September 2021, whichever is earlier.

Check that your details on the Australian Business Register website are correct prior to submitting an application. Incorrect information may delay the assessment of your application.

You can choose to apply for this program in one of three ways:

  1. A qualified agent (qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent) can apply on your behalf and verify the 70% drop in business turnover as part of the application. The qualified agent needs to attest that they are authorised to apply on your behalf.
  2. You can apply directly as a business owner and have the application verified by a qualified agent (qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent) using the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund – Letter from the Qualified Agent template.
  3. Business owners who do not have access to a qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent can register their interest in the program. Applicants may receive an Invitation to Apply email from the department. Applications received via the Invitation to Apply process may take up to 25 business days to process, due to the need for additional verification measures.

You must demonstrate a reduction in turnover of at least 70% for a minimum consecutive two-week period since 27 May 2021 as a direct consequence of COVID-19 restrictions, comparable to a benchmark period in 2019. For businesses that were not actively trading in 2019, please speak with us in regard to alternative arrangements.

Businesses should compare their best consecutive two-week trading period between 27 May and 10 September 2019, with their worst consecutive two-week trading period between 27 May and 10 September 2021.

The Victorian Government or our representatives may audit your application, so you will need to produce evidence at the request of the Victorian Government.

If any information in your application is false or misleading, you may be asked to repay the grant.

For more information: https://business.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/small-business-covid-hardship-fund

Please contact us if you require assistance with this application or with verification of your application.

Post updated: 08-Sep-21



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