I recently had to find out some information on government assistance for small business for a discussion group I am a part of, and I thought it would be good to share the information I found here.
Queensland Government Assistance
The first place to go for state government assistance is the Business Queensland website. From the home page you can access a range of information on starting and running a small business. There is information about buying a business (including a franchise), the tourism industry, creating a website, legal obligations, and so much more. You can sign up for the Small Business Connect newsletter for updates on new rounds of grant funding, awards and other initiatives for small business.
There are a number of grants available for small businesses to help them get started or expand. Most of the grants work in rounds as funding is approved, so at any time applications for a particular grant may be closed, but it could open back up again at any time – subscribing to the newsletter above will keep you informed about which grants are currently open to applications. There are also mentoring programs and business growth workshops either provided free or at a price subsidised by the State Government as well as a number of webinar recordings on YouTube.
Commonwealth Government Assistance
The Australian government website for all businesses is business.gov.au. Like the Queensland site there is a wealth of information for small business here which is applicable Australia-wide. There is a monthly newsletter you can subscribe to which has updates on changes to business laws, news about the latest grants and assistance packages as well as networking and training events. You can search for grants on the website and the Commonwealth grants seem to accept applications at any time.
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
The ASBFEO has been around since March 2016 and its purpose is to assist and advocate for small businesses and family enterprises. The assistance the Ombudsman’s office may provide is in relation to dispute resolution either business to business (their main source of enquiries) or business to government. The Ombudsman also has a newsletter you can subscribe to and starting in March 2019 will have a Tax Concierge Service which will enable small business owners in dispute with the ATO to engage a lawyer for a one hour meeting for $100 (the remainder of the fee will be funded by the government) prior to lodging an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. If the business decides to go ahead with the appeal, an additional hour of legal advice may be provided at no extra cost.
Australian Taxation Office
The ATO has been changing the way it operates over the last couple of years and is certainly trying to improve its image with the general public. It has its own small business newsroom and newsletter and runs a lot of webinars covering subjects from a basic introduction to tax through to the new legislation for Single Touch Payroll. It also has a small business after hours call-back service which you can book either online or by calling 132866 and a tax office representative will call you back between 6.00 and 8.00 pm.
Your accountant or bookkeeper
Of course, you can always contact your accountant or bookkeeper for assistance and remember that if you are considering changing anything about the way you do business or making any major purchases that it’s better to discuss these things first, in case there are any ramifications you may not have considered.