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  • Drought help

    Help is available for drought-affected individuals and businesses across regional, rural and metropolitan areas to manage their tax.

    We can help you with:

    • more time to pay
    • waiving penalties or interest charged at a time you were affected by drought
    • payment plans with interest free periods
    • adjusting pay as you go (PAYG) instalments to better suit your circumstances
    • tax incentives for primary producers.

    Remember to lodge all activity statements and tax returns by the due date even if you can't pay.

    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)

    Assistance for individuals and businesses in financial difficulty

    If you are in financial difficulty we can prioritise paying any income tax or activity statement refunds due to you, or see that they are not used to pay other government debts.

    In special circumstances we can release individuals from paying some taxes, if paying the taxes would cause serious financial hardship.

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

    See also:

    Assistance for primary producers

    We recognise the significant impact ongoing drought can have on rural communities and have a number of programs to help primary producers.

    Investing for future sustainability

    Primary producers can get immediate tax deductions for capital expenses on fencing infrastructure, on-farm water storage facilities and fodder storage assets.

    Find out about:

    Farm management deposits

    If you're a primary producer you may have a farm management deposit account that you can access. Early access may be available without changing the deduction you claimed. Your financial institution may require advance notice of your request for early withdrawal.

    See also:

    Additional drought assistance

    See the following drought assistance programs that support people experiencing financial difficulties due to drought.

    Small business tax concessions

    Small business entity concessions include a reduced company tax rate and PAYG instalment concessions.

    Find out more:

    Drought and rural assistance

    The Department of Agriculture and Water ResourcesExternal Link delivers a number of assistance measuresExternal Link for farming families, businesses and rural communities.

    Rural Financial Counselling Service

    The Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) programExternal Link is a free service for farmers, fishing enterprise operators, forestry growers, harvesters, and related small businesses experiencing financial hardship. Visit the website to find your nearest financial counsellor or phone 1800 686 175.

    Farm Household Allowance

    The Department of Human Services offers financial support to farmers and their families experiencing financial hardship, through the Farm Household Allowance. To see if you are eligible and apply for assistance visit the Department of Human Services websiteExternal Link or phone the DHS Farmer Assistance Hotline 13 23 16.

    Receiving drought assistance payments for your business

    Payments to assist your business affected by drought are assessable income, even if received from:

    • private funds
    • charitable groups
    • crowdfunding platforms.

    You will usually also be entitled to claim deductions for any expenditure that you incur in relation to that business.

    Ordinarily, where the amounts received are spent on deductible expenses, such as purchasing feed for livestock, there will be no net taxable outcome, as the assessable income amounts will be reduced by the deductions claimed.

    Amounts received from charities or crowdfunding platforms will only be assessable to the extent that they are intended to be for use in the business rather than for other purposes. For example, where the amounts received are intended to be used for such things as food and clothing, these amounts are not assessable income.

    See also:

      Last modified: 07 Dec 2018QC 47234