Federal Government must make WA businesses’ lockdown grants tax free

CCIWA Chief Economist

Aaron Morey

CCIWA rejects the reported Australian Tax Office assessment that Western Australian businesses have not experienced “significant disruption” due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

It is critical that the modest but hard-won lockdown payments for WA business not be taxed away. Reports that the ATO has advised WA Treasury that lockdown payments will be subject to tax, are concerning.

Through 2021 CCIWA has built a powerful evidence base of the significant impacts suffered by WA businesses due to lockdowns, via rapid-fire surveys of our membership.

In the last economic lockdown, WA businesses suffered an average financial impact of $26,864. More than three in five (66%) experienced reduced turnover, and more than half (55%) suffered cancellations and lost bookings. Two in five businesses cited mental health concerns (39%), while one in four had to stand down their staff (25%).

CCIWA’s advocacy and evidence base helped the State Government to identify the scale of the disruption inflicted on WA businesses. It brought about an increase in State Government lockdown compensation, from a $500 electricity credit in the February lockdown, to $3,000 in the June lockdown.

CCIWA has written to the Federal Treasurer to outline the significant disruption imposed by COVID lockdowns, and has urged his Government to exempt lockdown support from tax.

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