Thinking | 18 March 2020

Cash flow relief for businesses impacted by COVID-19

By Michael Parker and Andrew O'Bryan

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has indicated its willingness to engage with businesses affected by COVID-19 to assist with their cash flow. This assistance will not be automatic; businesses need to be proactive and the Tax team at Hall & Wilcox has the lines of communication with the ATO to assist.

During these highly unusual times, cash will be king for business. After wages and rent, tax will often represent the next largest regular cash outflow.

The ATO has indicated it is ready to work with businesses impacted by COVID-19 to provide them with assistance through the tax payment system. This is perhaps of greater immediate use to businesses than the various stimulus measures announced by Treasury.

The relevant measures that may be available include:

  • deferral of payments including income tax, Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments and Fringe Benefits Tax for up to four months;
  • moving from quarterly to monthly Goods and Services Tax (GST) reporting, which may result in earlier GST refunds;
  • for quarterly PAYG payers, varying down March 2020 PAYG instalment amounts, including claiming a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters;
  • potential remission of interest and penalties applied to tax liabilities incurred after 23 January 2020; and
  • entering into low interest payment plans for existing and ongoing tax liabilities.

The ATO is unable to provide deferral relief for Superannuation Guarantee payments.

If you or your clients are impacted by COVID-19 and need assistance liaising with the ATO, please contact us.


Michael is a tax lawyer who specialises in tax disputes, capital gains tax, business sales and acquisitions and restructuring.

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Andrew specialises in taxation law. He is a CPA Australia Fellow and Chairman of its Taxation Centre of Excellence.

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Anthony specialises in taxation planning and structuring for corporate clients, including advising on capital raisings and M&A.

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  • Fluent in Greek - conversational

Frank Hinoporos the Hall & Wilcox Tax team. He advises on direct taxes, international structuring and taxation disputes.

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Jim is a experienced lawyer and Chartered Tax Advisor, providing expert advice on corporate and trust tax matters.

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Adam is an experienced tax lawyer, advising on a range of matters, including Division 7A, CGT and corporate restructuring.

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Taxation lawyer Rachel Law, specialises in direct taxes and tax disputes. She is experienced in domestic and international laws.

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