hospitality business owner going through records during COVID


Your handy guide to the latest COVID compliance and tax relief

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Pitcher Partners
Pitcher Partners

Newcastle and Hunter

This pandemic is certainly keeping all of us in hospitality on our toes. Here’s a 5 minute read that’s designed to help you stay on top of the latest changes. Our team is here to help you tick these off, so you can breathe a bit easier and focus on maximising your trade at this critical time.

Capacity rules

The latest capacity changes are good news but take care to update your COVID-19 safety plan. This is mandatory for all venues.

Be clear about your maximum numbers and expect to be audited at any time. Our team at Pitcher Partners Newcastle and Hunter looks after several hundred NSW venues and we know the auditors are out there checking. The potential fall-out from non-compliance simply isn’t worth it.

  • As of Friday 23 October 2020, venues can have bookings of up to 30 patrons (previously 10) and up to 30 people per table. To utilise these relaxed rules you must have an electronic system of QR codes to take patron details. The person-per-square-metre rules must still be adhered to.
  • For outdoor areas of pubs and clubs, the rule is now one customer per 2 square metres (as of Friday 16 October 2020). This also applies to small bars, cellar doors, breweries, distilleries, karaoke bars and casinos.
  • There is still a very clear maximum capacity for all venues of 300 patrons — or the number you get by calculating one person per 4 square metres indoors and one person per 2 square metres outdoors. Whichever is less.
  • From Tuesday 1 December 2020 weddings will be allowed to have up to 300 people (up from 150). For funerals and memorials it’s 100 people. Both are still subject to the person-per-square-metre rules.

✓ Customer sign-in

If your venue is using the one person per 2 square metre rule for outdoors, it’s compulsory to use an electronic method such as QR Code to collect contact details for every person (not just one person per table or group).

We’re all noticing that a lot of patrons are confused about their own obligations when they visit your venue. It’s perfectly understandable given some (often older) customers are venturing out for the first time since the lockdowns. Many don’t realise that contact details must be collected for each person. Make sure they don’t feel the process is too onerous to bother returning any time soon.

Can you keep using your existing COVID Safe plan?

Yes, as long as you are registered as COVID Safe and your plan is up to date with all of the current items listed by the NSW Government. Regular updates to reflect each rule change is something we all need to get used to. Your adviser can help you tick this off if you’re pressed for time or you want peace of mind about your compliance.

If you’re keen to knock this over yourself, the government says you should expect it to take between 30 and 45 minutes. You have to complete the process in the one session as there’s no option to press save and return later. Here’s the link you’ll need.

Payroll tax deferral

Yes, you are still required to lodge your annual payroll tax reconciliation by 30 October 2020. This is the end date for the extension period announced earlier in the year. You can either pay it in full or set up a Stimulus Payment Arrangement for up to 24 months. However, this option only applies if you get in before 29 November 2020. Be clear on whether this is the best option for you given your cash flow situation and other benchmarks.

Wages less than $10 million? Here’s some good news

The NSW Government’s new coronavirus stimulus package means you can factor in a 25% reduction in payroll tax if your total grouped Australian wages for the 2019/20 financial year are $10 million or less. You’ll still need to provide details of wages paid for the entire financial year when you do your annual reconciliation.

Full deduction of eligible assets to 30 June 2022

As long as your turnover is less than $5 billion the full cost of an eligible capital asset acquired after 7:30pm AEDT on 6 October 2020 may be fully deducted, as long as it’s first used or installed ready for use by 30 June 2022. This also applies to the purchase of second-hand assets, if you’re a small to medium sized business with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million.

Tax-free threshold increase for all NSW businesses

Another welcome piece of news announced on 9 October. For the 2020/2021 financial year the payroll tax-free threshold will increase from $900,000 to $1 million.

Stay tuned because no matter what changes and challenges present themselves for hospitality in coming months, we’ll keep you updated — and help you find peace of mind despite the bumpy ride and if you need any help contact us.

For all the details from the budget read here.

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