COVID Lockdowns have struck Australian small-scale businesses with a vengeance without a doubt. One only has to walk through the streets of Sydney CBD to see empty areas where restaurants and cafes were once flourishing. Since big businesses are continuing to operate from home, pedestrian traffic hasn’t been able to get back to pre-COVID levels.
The issue we’ve been trying to solve is the reason why insolvency rates haven’t just increased, but dramatically decreased in 2020 and through 2021. Since the Government’s subsidies, as well as protections, are taken of their protections, we’ve only observed a slight change in the historically low rates of insolvency.
The main factor that is keeping the rate of insolvency low is the unwillingness of large creditors to pursue the debts. The ATO was quiet for all of 2020 but only began to pursue late lodgements (not payment) during the initial quarter of 2021. Before COVID, the ATO was able to request on average five court wind-ups every day. However, in 2021 they applied for six in total.
The dramatic reduction in personal insolvencies since the middle of 2018, beginning after the publication of the findings from the Banking Royal Commission and accelerating through COVID illustrates how far banks have shied away from debt collection.
The bright side among the dark tidings of a few further lockdowns across Australia is that these creditors aren’t likely to be back in the chase of debt in the near future and every lockdown “D-Day” is getting closer. According to the rumours, the ATO will not get back to chasing debts with a vengeance up until an election. Federal Election.