Financial support, tips and tools for startups during the coronavirus

Just when you thought founding a startup was hard enough, a global pandemic comes along and pulls the rug well and truly out from under your feet.

The good news is, we’re all in the same boat. At Standard Ledger, we work with startups, scale ups and SMEs and we’re hearing it all right now. While we can’t help so much on the health side, we can on the financial by sharing our knowledge of how to plan, how to get funding and what support there is available from government and the banking sector.

We’re putting all this into one epic resource over on our site but we wanted to give you a quick look at the main support, tools and insights that you should know about here too.


You’ve probably heard about the Federal Government’s cashflow support through the PAYG process. You’re eligible if revenue is under $50 million and you employ staff between 1 January and 30 June 2020.

If so, you don’t need to do anything – it’ll happen through the PAYG process for March-June and July-October 2020 as a minimum credit on the PAYGW tax you’d pay for your employees of $20,000 and a maximum of $100,000.

You can use this PAYG Stimulus Calculator to see how much this should be for your business.


The government, RBA and banks have also announced a bunch of other measures. The main ones that you might want to make use of are:

  • The increased instant asset write off – basically if you buy an asset worth up to $150,000 before 30 June it can be an instant tax write off, plus you can write off an additional 50% of assets bought between 30 June 2020 and the same time next year. As always though, many startups won’t be in a position to do this or for it to be truly worthwhile (don’t buy just for the sake of it as you still need to pay for it)
  • ATO hardship assistance – the ATO has taken the unusual step of asking businesses affected by the coronavirus to get in touch to discuss relief options. Call their emergency line on 1800 806 218
  • More leniency for businesses close to the edge – this is potentially helpful for startups if you have a Board. It includes temporarily relieving Directors from being personally liable for trading while insolvent (to give companies more time to trade their way out of trouble)
  • The big four banks are offering interest rate reductions on loans and overdrafts, payment deferrals and other things. This is all good but again, not to be taken up lightly as you’ve still got to pay it back down the track


Many state governments including ours have announced their own business support measures. In Victoria, it’s about two main things, which might be of use to you:

  1. Payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year to companies with payrolls under $3 million, as well as holding off on payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020-21 financial year
  2. A new $500 million Business Support Fund for hardship payments, small grants and tailored support to go towards sectors that “really are doing it tough” who may not pay payroll tax and require more tailored support to survive. This could be useful for startups but the details are yet to be fleshed out as far as we know


This isn’t a new thing but it’s well worth considering if you’re eligible for the R&D tax incentive.

If you don’t know about it, the R&D tax incentive is a major funding source for startups and scaleups each year. If eligible, your company can get up to 43.5% of your development costs back as a cash refund through the tax process.

If you can’t wait for the tax process to play out, there’s also the forward funding option (also called R&D lending or financing), which is when you get a loan against your expected R&D tax refund and you pay it back when that comes in. This can be really, really handy – a lifeline in fact.


As mentioned above, you can find more full details on all this plus tips on how to understand your financial position and whether you should raise capital at this time over on this coronavirus business resource, that we’re updating regularly.

You can also reach out to our founder, Remco, if you want to chat about your startup and how to get through this. Go well. Stay safe.