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Victorian accountants sweat on stage 4 lockdown announcement

Melbourne businesses will now find out on Monday if they will be forced to reduce their output or shut down temporarily, with stage 4 coronavirus restrictions kicking in on Sunday.

Business Jotham Lian 02 August 2020
— 2 minute read

Stage 4 restrictions have now been imposed across metropolitan Melbourne, with regional Victoria set to return to stage 3 restrictions from 11:59pm on Wednesday, running until 13 September.

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said tougher restrictions on businesses would be announced on Monday, 3 August, with rules to take effect from Wednesday.

Mr Andrews said industries would be split into three categories: those that would be allowed to operate as normal, those that would be required to reduce their output and operating hours, and a final category of business that will be required to work from home or be forced to close if they are unable to work remotely.

“There is a lot of detail — very complicated supply chains and other issues, they are being worked through and I will have further announcements to make tomorrow about that,” Mr Andrews said.

“It is complex and you are best to get it right and take the time to engage deeply with those that will be most affected.”

Regional businesses will see a return to stage 3 restrictions after Wednesday, meaning restaurants and cafés can only offer delivery and takeaway, while beauty and personal services, entertainment and gyms will need to close.

What’s next for Melbourne accountants, bookkeepers?

Last month, all nine professional bodies of the Tax Practitioners Stewardship Group had called on the Victorian government to allow accountants, tax practitioners, bookkeepers and related professionals to continue to operate and see clients in their business premises, where there is no practical alternative, in the event of a stage 4 lockdown in Victoria.

The nine bodies include Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, CPA Australia, Institute of Public Accountants, the Tax Institute, The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, Tax & Super Australia, National Tax and Accountants’ Association Ltd, Australian Bookkeepers Association and the Association of Accounting Technicians.

With the new restrictions now in place, practitioners will be waiting to see if the profession will be included in Mr Andrews’ list of essential businesses in Monday’s announcement.

The nine professional bodies told Mr Andrews that practitioners are currently providing a necessary service to individuals and businesses by supporting them through a critical time in the economy as well as through tax time 2020.

“COVID-19 [has] meant that many taxpayers are struggling with their finances and are dependent on tax return refunds for their living expenses. There are additional complexities where non-business tax advice is sought, such as in relation to investments and superannuation, which are time-critical given the volatile markets and precarious financial position of many Victorians,” the submission said.

“Business clients also require ongoing advice from their tax practitioner to prepare income tax returns, continue to access the benefits of governments’ stimulus packages, and determine eligibility for the Victorian Business Support Fund Expansion grant.

“It is essential that accountants, tax practitioners and related professionals can continue to support taxpayers during this very difficult time.”

Victorian accountants sweat on stage 4 lockdown announcement
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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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