Why you need to include your coronavirus payments in your tax return


As well as JobKeeper and JobSeeker, there are numerous other COVID-19 government support programs for businesses and individuals.

A question that often crops up is how payments are treated for tax.

Business support

coronavirus payments taxable

Grants are taxable, whether provided as a one-off lump sum or a series of payments.

Examples include: NSW small business support grant; South Australian $10,000 emergency grant and job accelerator grant; Victorian business support fund; Northern Territory survival fund and improvement grant; Western Australian small business grant; Queensland COVID-19 adaption grant.

Leave payments to individuals

The leave payment - a lump sum of $1500 - is available to help people during the 14 days of self-isolation.

Paid by Services Australia, it replaces Victoria's $1500 worker support payment. You need to include it as income in your tax return.

The payment is for people in Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales who can't earn an income because they must self-isolate or quarantine. They must be directed to do this by a health official or department. Individuals may also be able to get it if they are caring for someone with COVID-19.

Victorian workers can also apply for a $300 payment while they self-isolate to wait for the results of a COVID-19 test. This is paid by the state government and is also taxable.

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Mark Chapman is director of tax communications at H&R Block, Australia's largest firm of tax accountants, and is a regular contributor to Money. Mark is a Chartered Accountant, CPA and Chartered Tax Adviser and holds a Masters of Tax Law from the University of New South Wales. Previously, he was a tax adviser for over 20 years, specialising in individual and small business tax, in both the UK and Australia. As well as operating his own private practice, Mark spent seven years as a Senior Director with the Australian Taxation Office. He is the author of Life and Taxes: A Look at Life Through Tax.