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  • Drought help

    If the drought is causing financial difficulties for you or your business, we can help with:

    • more time to pay or payment plans with interest-free periods
    • waiving penalties or interest charges
    • tax incentives for primary producers
    • small business tax concessions.

    You can phone us on 1800 806 218 to discuss your situation.

    On this page:

    Watch:

    Here is a short video about our drought assistance program.

    Media: Our drought assistance program
    http://tv.ato.gov.au/ato-tv/media?v=bd1bdiub1go1hzExternal Link (Duration: 00:40)

    Help for individuals and businesses

    Personalised help

    If the drought is causing financial difficulties we can arrange to:

    • quickly pay any income tax or activity statement refunds we owe you
    • prevent any refunds from being used to pay other government debts.

    In special circumstances, we can release you from your tax debt if paying the taxes would cause serious hardship.

    We're committed to doing what we can to help. Phone us on 1800 806 218 to discuss your situation.

    See also:

    Small business tax concessions

    If you're running an eligible small business, there are a number of concessions that may help you at times of financial pressure.

    Find out about:

    Help for primary producers

    We recognise the significant impact of ongoing drought on rural communities.

    We offer measures to help primary producers manage their finances when facing drought:

    • You can get immediate tax deductions for capital expenditure on water facilities, fencing and fodder storage assets, and landcare operations that will help you prepare for, and manage during, drought.
    • If you put money into your farm management deposit account within the last 12 months you can withdraw those funds without affecting the deductions you have claimed. Your financial institution may require advance notice of your request for early withdrawal.
    • Special tax concessions may affect which amounts you include in your assessable income each year and how you pay your PAYG instalments. If you operate as an individual or in partnership, you can also benefit from exceptions to the non-commercial losses rules.

    See also:

    How drought assistance payments affect tax

    If you or your business receives drought assistance payments from private funds, charitable groups or crowdfunding platforms, the tax treatment of the payments is affected by why you received the funds and how you used them.

    If you intend to use the payments for business expenditure they must be declared as assessable income. However, you can also claim the appropriate business deductions. For example, if you spent the payment on livestock feed, which is a deductible expense, the increase in assessable income will be offset by the increase in deductions claimed. This means there will be no net effect on your taxable outcome.

    If you intend to use the payments for food or clothing (or other such non-business purposes) they are not counted as assessable income.

    See also:

    Help from other government agencies

    Other government agencies provide programs to support individuals and businesses experiencing hardship due to drought:

    Drought community outreach forums

    If you're a farmer or local business you can attend Department of Agriculture forums to find out how to access crucial support services from:

    • government agencies
    • mental health service providers
    • rural and agricultural support organisations
    • charity groups.

    See also:

    Farm Household Allowance

    The Department of Human Services offers financial support to farmers and their families through the Farm Household Allowance.

    To apply for help:

    Rural Financial Counselling Service

    The Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) program is a free service for farmers, fishing enterprise operators, forestry growers, harvesters and related small businesses experiencing financial hardship.

    To find your nearest financial counsellor:

    Drought Communities Program

    The Drought Communities Program provides support for local infrastructure projects, to create new opportunities in drought-affected communities.

    See also:

      Last modified: 08 Nov 2019QC 47234