Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, it’s fair to say most business have been hit hard by the lockdowns. In these unpredictable times, it’s difficult to plan for future trading and it’s hard to know when life will return to normal. The impact on your business can cause stress and uncertainty for you, staff and clients.

Whether you’re a small start-up or medium sized business there is help out there to keep your business afloat. The Victorian State Government Small Business COVID hardship fund is offering a one-off payment of $10,000 to eligible businesses. The hardship fund has been introduced to help more businesses, especially those who have not previously received a Victorian Government grant.

How to check if your business is eligible?

 Firstly, one of the key conditions is that your business must not have received any previous government grants. This includes:

  • Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two
  • Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two Extension
  • Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021
  • Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 – July Extension
  • Alpine Resorts Support Program
  • Victorian Events Support Package, comprising of:
    • Sustainable Events Business Program
    • Impacted Public Events Support Program
    • Independent Cinema Support Program
    • Live Performance Support Program (Presenters)
    • Live Performance Support Program (Suppliers)

Secondly, there are additional conditions to ensure your business is eligible. This includes:

  • Your business must be located in Victoria.
  • As a direct consequence of COVID-19 restrictions, your business must have experienced a reduction in turnover of at least 70% in a consecutive two-week period after 27 May 2021. This needs to be compared to a similar two-week period in 2019.
  • Your business’s annual payroll needs to be under $10 million in the 2019-2020 financial year, on an ungrouped basis.
  • Your business must be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) from 28 July 2021.
  • Your business must hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN from 28 July 2021.
  • If your business has employees, it must be registered with WorkSafe Victoria.
  • You also need to prove that you’re supporting your workers to access any paid leave entitlements, especially if they are unable to work from home.

It is vital that you ensure all relevant registrations are up to date before applying for the COVID hardship grant.

How do I apply?

There are two ways you can apply for the COVID hardship grant, depending on your time and experience in regard to your business’s tax.

You can apply directly as a business owner, but you must have your application verified by a qualified agent, which can be a registered accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent.

Secondly, a qualified agent can apply on your behalf. The qualified agent needs to confirm that they are authorised to apply on behalf of your business.

Applications are now open, and it’s important to apply early. The program will close once all the funds are gone or on Friday 10th of September, whichever comes first.

If you would like to know more about the COVID hardship grants, Business Victoria have a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions to help you figure things out.