Am I eligible to receive the Sole Traders Support Fund?
A lot of sole traders and self-employed people have experienced a sharp decline in their earnings because of various restrictions imposed by the state to control the pandemic. Victorian Government has come up with various programs to help them, like the Sole Traders Support Fund.
Contents of Sole Traders Support Fund
- Introduction for Sole Traders Support fund
- Who can apply for the Sole Traders Support Fund?
- Amount of grant
- Evidence required with the application
- How to apply?
- Assessment process
- Businesses are not eligible
- Closing date
The $100 million Sole Trader Support Fund provides help to non-employing Victorian sole traders operating from commercial premises or locations who participate
in JobKeeper and operate in specific sectors.
The program provides a one-time grant of up to $10,000 to small businesses that have been badly affected especially because of phase 4 restrictions in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. The amount for Victoria is $5,000.
Who can apply for Sole Traders Support Fund?
The non-employing businesses based in metropolitan Melbourne may be eligible if they are set up in an eligible sector that is Restricted, Heavily Restricted, or Closed in the First Step and for which restrictions are not easing between the First and Second Steps in the ‘How we work’ in metropolitan Melbourne roadmap.
The non-employing businesses based in regional Victoria may be eligible if they are operating in an eligible sector that is Restricted, Heavily Restricted, or Closed in the Second Step in the ‘How we work’ in regional Victoria roadmap.
Businesses in the eligible sectors must also:
- Operate within Victoria
- Be a sole trader with no employees(i.e. you are not registered with WorkSafe for WorkCover Insurance and do not employ anyone other than yourself or employ someone on a casual basis and pay less than $7,500 in annual salary.)
- Operate from commercial property or places (and not residential premises) for at least six months as a:
- Tenant, or
- Licensee, or
- Owner/occupier of fixed commercial premises, or
- The operator of a registered ‘mobile food premises with a permit or commercial agreement to operate at a specific location(s)
- Be a participant in the JobKeeper Payment scheme
- Be registered for Goods and Services Tax
- Hold an ABN
- Have an annual payroll for 2019-20 less than $3 million
Amount of grant for Sole Traders Support Fund
Eligible sole traders will receive a $3000 Support Fund.
- Paying overhead costs such as utilities or rent
- Seeking financial, legal, or other advice to support business continuity planning
- Developing the business through marketing and communications activities
- Any other supporting activities related to the operation of the business
Evidence required with the application
Applicants need to certify that they meet the eligibility criteria and aim to remain to trade at the end of restrictions.
An Applicant’s primary business activity must be in an eligible industry sector or sub-sector and this must be reflected in the Applicant’s ABN registration information. Applicants should check their details at the Australian Business Register website and update the details if needed.
Applicants must provide evidence of participation as an ‘eligible business participant’ in the scheme in the form of either a recent Business Monthly Declaration Receipt ID number or Enrolment Receipt ID generated from the ATO business portal. Businesses must have received the payment.
Evidence of their commercial premises or location:
- Tenant – A current commercial rent agreement of six months or longer.
- Licensee – A current commercial lease or similar agreement of six months or longer.
- Owner/occupier of a fixed commercial property– Municipal Rates Notice of the previous year or current year.
- Registered ‘mobile food premises’ – Streatrader Statement of Trade and a current Roadside Trading Permit issued by a Local Government, VicRoads, or other commercial agreement to use a particular location for at least six months.
How to apply for Sole Traders Support Fund?
Submit an application form online.
All questions must be completed. Attach all required documents to ensure timely assessment and grant payment.
Applicants must certify that they meet the eligibility criteria and intend to resume or remain trading when restrictions are eased.
Applicants will be subject to an audit by the Government or its representatives and will be required to produce evidence at the request of the Government for a period of 4 years after the approval.
If any information is found to be false or misleading the grant will have to be repaid on demand by the Government.
The assessment process for Sole Traders Support Fund
Business Victoria will try to process and notify the outcome of the application within five business days.
- The funding will be allocated through a grant process, by which businesses are invited to apply.
- Evidence provided will be crosschecked with other government agencies such as the ATO, Australian Business Register, WorkSafe Victoria, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Following circumstances are taken into consideration before awarding the grant:
- Any adverse findings by a regulator regarding a business
- The business is de-registered or unregistered
- A sole trader is the subject of a petition for bankruptcy
- Each application will be carefully examined and evaluated against the eligibility
criteria. If an unsuccessful applicant considers that their application has been
incorrectly assessed, they can file a complaint with Business Victoria.
Businesses are not eligible for Sole Traders Support Fund
- If they have received a grant under the Business Support Fund, Business Support Fund – Expansion, or Business Support Fund 3 programs.
- If they have received funding under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund.
Earlier of the date when the funds are exhausted or 11.59 pm on 23rd November 2020.
Example – Sole trader eligibility
John is a sole trader who operates a cake business since 2016 with no employees. He is an Australian resident with an ABN.
John projected a decline in turnover of about 85% in March 2020 compared with March 2019 as a result of Covid-19.
John is an eligible business participant and qualified for JobKeeper payments from 30 March 2020 until 27th September 2020.
On 1st October 2020, John calculates that he has an actual decline in turnover of 70% for the quarter ending 30th September 2020, compared with his quarter ending 30th September 2019.
John continues to be eligible for JobKeeper payments for JobKeeper Extension 1 from 28th September 2020 until 3rd January 2021.
From 1st January 2021, John can check if he meets the actual decline in the turnover test for the quarter ending 31st December 2020 to continue to receive JobKeeper payments for JobKeeper extension 2 from 4th January until 28th March 2021.
The actual decline in the turnover test does not require John to project sales. It is calculated using his actual current GST turnovers in the relevant quarter and comparison period.
Make sure you apply in time for the Sole Traders Grant in Victoria. Applications from affected sole traders will be accepted till 14th September 2020.