COVID-19 Financial Support for Barristers

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JobKeeper For Barristers Webinar

Tuesday 13th October at 11am

Barristers (Sole traders and other entities) may be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment if their turnover has reduced due to coronavirus. Those affected will be able to claim a fortnightly subsidy payment if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Join Nick Pateras and Mark Forte in our webinar on ‘JobKeeper for Barristers’, Tuesday 13th October at 11am. 

Mark Forte has extensive experience in Barristers and will discuss the ways in which Barristers can apply for JobKeeper, including.

  • Eligibility requirements for Sole Trader Barristers (eligible business participant)
  • How to apply
  • Ongoing requirements to stay eligible including monthly declarations
  • What you need to do to meet the additional turnover test
  • Key JobKeeper dates, and more

Time will be allotted to hear your experiences on these topics, as well as any questions you have.  

Date: Tuesday 13th October 2020,11am – 11.45am
Panellists: Nicholas Pateras, Director and Mark Forte, Principal


JobKeeper 1.0

Barristers (Sole traders and other entities) may be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment if their turnover has reduced due to coronavirus. Those affected will be able to claim a fortnightly subsidy payment of $1,500 from 30 March 2020.

If you meet the eligibility requirements and have been approved, you will be eligible for the JobKeeper payment up until September 27th

Eligibility requirements

How to Enrol

You only need to complete the below step once. Your registered tax or BAS agent can also enrol for you.

  • business has experienced a fall in turnover
  • expected number of eligible employees (if you have them)
  • an eligible business participant, if you are enrolling one
  • bank and contact details for receiving JobKeeper payments

Once you have enrolled for the JobKeeper payment, you will need to make a business monthly declaration to the ATO every month. You must do this between the 1st to the 14th day each month.


JobKeeper 2.0 & 3.0

From 28 September 2020, the JobKeeper Payment will be extended. payments will be targeted to eligible sole traders that have been, and continue to be, most significantly impacted by the Coronavirus.

Sole traders and some other entities (such as partnerships, trusts or companies) may be entitled to the JobKeeper Payment scheme under the business participation entitlement. A limit applies of one JobKeeper payment per fortnight for one eligible business participant. Sole traders, one partner in a partnership, one beneficiary of a trust, and one director or shareholder of a company may be regarded as an eligible business participant.

Can you apply for JobKeeper 2 or JobKeeper 3 if it did not qualify for JobKeeper 1?

According to the Treasury Fact Sheet, the JobKeeper Payment will continue to remain open to new recipients, provided they meet the eligibility requirements and the turnover tests that apply during the relevant JobKeeper Payment period.

What are the new eligibility changes?

* 30% applies for businesses with turnover no more than $1 billion.  If turnover is greater than $1 billion, then the decline must be at least 50%.

The treasury fact sheet has been released and is accessible here.

Eligibility Criteria for Barristers, known as a Eligible Business Participant (EBP)

Process to Recieve JobKeeper 2.0

Your registered tax or BAS agent can also enrol for you. 

financial planning

Business Support Fund – Expansion Grant

This grant was originally only available until June 1 however its availability has been extended until 14 September 2020 following the second Victorian COVID-19 lockdown. Barristers may be able to receive this grant if they have employee/s (for example an EA or PA) and meet the below eligibility requirements. 

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the Business Support Fund – Expansion Grant, you must meet the following 7 requirements.

How much is available?

The amount you can get if you are eligible depends on where your business is located:

How to apply

If your business received the first round of the Business Support Fund – Expansion Grant before June 1, you do not need to re-apply. It will be automatically sent to you. If you weren’t eligible (or you didn’t apply) for the first round of the Grant and your business is now eligible, you can apply through the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions


ATO Relief

Due to the COVID situation the ATO understand taxpayers are struggling with paying tax instalments and cashflow and therefore have put in a number of measures to assist with cashflow. To apply for ATO relief you can contact ATO Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218

An outline of ATO Relief Available is below.

Defer Tax Payments

Any tax payments – Income tax or GST payable after 1 March 2020 on a debt that arose after 1 March 2020 can request a deferral without general interest charge (GIC) or penalties until 30 September 2020. Alternatively, payment plans can also be put into place for up to 12 months with no penalties.

Note that any tax amounts that are deferred remain as debts to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Varying PAYG instalments

From the 1 March 2020 there is an option to vary your PAYG instalment down without any general interest charge (GIC) or penalties. This means your PAYG instalment can be varied down for the June 2020 quarter and help with your cash flow.

The balance of any tax payable for the 2020 Tax, will be due when your 2020 tax return is due to be lodged and paid. For most taxpayers you won’t need to make a payment until March 2021 (the tax is deferred).

Changing GST reporting cycle

Businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle for GST may be able to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to gain quicker access to net GST refunds to which they may be entitled.

Low interest payment plans

The ATO can also assist with a range of low interest payment plans for existing and ongoing tax liabilities.

Remitting interest and penalties.

Upon request, the ATO will remit interest and penalties that have been applied to outstanding tax liabilities from 23 January 2020.

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Individual Support

Jobseeker Payment

If you do not meet the criteria to receive JobKeeper Payments, you may be eligible to receive Jobseeker.

The Government expanded the eligibility criteria for the Jobseeker Payment to support sole traders if their income is negatively affected by the economic impact of the Coronavirus.

The Jobseeker Payment is available to those that satisfy the Government’s Jobseeker income and asset tests.

If you are eligible, the payment amount will depend on your circumstances.

Further information relating to the Jobseeker payment is available here.

Access to Centrelink support – $550 Coronavirus Supplement

For those individuals who have been impacted, Centrelink will provide a Coronavirus Supplement for of $550 per fortnight. To be eligible to receive this payment, you need to be receiving the Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance or Parenting Payment.

It is also expected that the Government will expand access to the above income support payments to assist people who have been impacted by the economic downturn. Asset testing for the above payments will also be waived for the period of the Coronavirus supplement.

Early access to superannuation

The Government will allow individuals in financial stress as a result of the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

Eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov for access of up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for another three months. You may be eligible for early access to your super if you are either:

Or, if, on or after 1 January 2020, you:

tax planning

How your bank can help

Bank loan support

A number of measures have been announced in relation to assistance to be provided by the banks. Because of variances in the assistance measures offered by different banks, we recommend that you contact your bank manager directly.

Click on the link below to find out more about the bank relief packages available:

Coronavirus SME Guarantee unsecured loan scheme

Businesses including Sole Traders with turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to apply for an unsecured loan of up to $250,000. The loans will be for a maximum term of 3 years with an initial 6-month reprieve from payments.

The loans will, however, be subject to the banks credit assessment processes. Again, please contact your bank for more details.

Working Capital

You may also be able to access working capital under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme to improve business cash flow. A temporary government guarantee of 50 per cent is being provided to participating lenders willing to provide credit to sole traders. The Government will extend the Scheme to be available for loans written until 30 June 2021 and increase flexibility of the scheme and ensure the loans will fit the evolving needs, including for sole traders. 

smsf compliance

Tax Deductions to Help Minimise Your Tax

Tax Deductions Checklist

You can legally minimise your tax obligation by maximising your work-related tax deductions. The same general tax deduction rules for work related expenses apply to lawyers as they do to any other occupation or profession in Australia. A tax-deductible, work-related expense must be:

1) paid for by you (and you must not have been reimbursed for it), and
2) directly related to earning your income.

Use the checklist below to ensure that you are claiming all deductions possible for your tax return. 

Download Checklist

COVID-19 Home Expenses Allowed

If you performed some of your work from your home office during the 2020 financial year, you may be able to claim a deduction for the costs you incur in running your home office, even if the room is not set aside solely for work-related purposes. Click on the link below for more information. 

Download Checklist

Accelerated Depreciation

A 50% immediate deduction will be available for eligible NEW assets as long as they are installed and ready for use prior to 30 June 2021. NOTE: The assets must be new, not second hand.

A time-limited 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) which will operate to accelerate certain depreciation deductions. This measure will also be available to businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million, which will be able to immediately deduct 50% of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost. As announced, this measure is proposed to only apply to new depreciating assets first used, or installed ready for use, by 30 June 2021.

It is also expected that the Government will expand access to the above income support payments to assist people who have been impacted by the economic downturn. Asset testing for the above payments will also be waived for the period of the Coronavirus supplement.

$150K Instant Asset Write-off

Barristers as ‘Sole Traders’ can access the increased Instant Asset Write-off.

From Thursday 12 March 2020, the instant asset write-off threshold increased from $30,000 (for businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $50 million) to $150,000 (for businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million).

This measure applies to both new and second-hand assets and will give you an immediate tax deduction. The instant asset write-off of $150,000 ends 31 December 2020.

Any advice is of a general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or need of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider your particular circumstances and read any relevant disclosure documents to see if any products or services is right for you.  Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation, other than for the acts or omissions of financial services licensees.

Last Updated 8th October 2020