You are Here > Home > Financial Sense Home > Relief options for small businesses

Relief options for small businesses

Apr 13, 2020

Relief options for small businessesThere are various financial relief options available for small businesses, from tax relief to soft loans and even grants for sole proprietors.

SME tax relief

PAYE: Tax-complaint small- to medium-sized business with turnover less than R50 million can defer payment of 20% of their employees tax (PAYE) without penalties and interest.

Provisional tax: Small businesses will be able to defer their first and second provisional tax liabilities. 15% of the estimated tax liability for the year of assessment is to be paid as the first provisional tax payment (instead of 50%). 50% is to be paid as the second provisional tax payment; and 100% of the estimated tax liability will need to be paid by the third provisional top-up date to avoid interest. SARS has indicated that this tax relief may be extended to sole proprietors.

ETI: Employers to claim an additional employment tax incentive relief (ETI) from 1 April 2020 to 31 July 2020: an additional R500 per qualifying employee; plus R500 for each qualifying employee (18 to 29 years) who is no longer eligible for the ETI as the employer has claimed ETI on those employees for the qualifying 24 months; plus R500 for each employee between 30 to 65 years who does not qualify for the ETI due to age.

SME financial relief

Small businesses can apply to the Debt Relief Fund via the Department of Small Business Development. This will only be available to businesses affected by COVID-19 and not those who were in financial stress prior to the crisis. Small businesses need to register at

Small businesses who are providing essential goods and need additional cashflow can apply for a soft loan through the Growth and Resilience Fund. This funding can also be accessed through the government small business fund website.

All four major banks are facilitating interest-free loans from the South African Future Trust (SAFT), established by Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer. Small businesses who cannot continue to pay their employees can apply for funding of R750 per employee per week, for a period of 15 weeks. Funds are to be paid directly into the employees’ accounts. During this initial COVID-19 period, SAFT offers a five-year interest-free loan to the business. There is no minimum monthly payment requirement and the loan only needs to be repaid by the employer at the end of the period. Contact your bank for more information.

Business/Partners is managing the R1bn Sukuma Relief Programme set up by the Rupert Family. This is a distinct and separate financing programme available for both sole proprietors and formalised SMEs. Ben Bierman, Managing Director at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) says this will comprise grants and low-interest-bearing loans with a 12-month repayment holiday.  Qualifying formal sole proprietors will receive a non-repayable grant of R25 000. Formal close corporations, companies and trusts will be eligible for an unsecured loan ranging between R250 000 and R1 000 000, with no repayment obligations or interest incurred for the first 12 months, in addition to a R25 000 grant. In terms of necessary criteria, Bierman says that close corporations, companies or trusts must be registered, tax- and regulatory-compliant South African businesses that can prove viability prior to the arrival of the pandemic.

“When applying, these entities will therefore be required to submit documents and supporting evidence to corroborate that it is a viable business that was impacted by COVID-19. This proof can be a demonstration of a decrease in turnover, erosion of working capital, or inability to pay salaries. Similarly, formal sole proprietors will need to provide proof of an active bank account to show business activity prior to the outbreak of the pandemic and provide evidence of tax compliance,” he adds.

More information can be found at

This article first appeared in City Press.


  1. How does relief apply to businesses that only started operating at the beginning of this year, and went straight into the pandemic? Proving viability will be a real test since many would not have any solid financials, other than mostly expenses of setting up business.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maya Fisher-French author of Money Questions Answered

Previous Articles

Don’t fall for a WhatsApp get-rich-quick scam

The WhatsApp stokvel scheme that has been around for a while has now morphed into a “WhatsApp gifting circle”, but it is the same get-rich-quick scam, just under a different label – and just as dangerous and illegal. People are recruited to join a WhatsApp stokvel or...

Money Makeover: Create your own financial freedom plan

This year has been undoubtedly the most challenging for contestants as they grappled with fallout of COVID-19 and the lockdown. Four of our contestants experienced a drop in household income, yet they still managed to meet all their goals set out in January. They are...

Video: Retrenchment

66% of people surveyed for the Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor said they feared losing their job. It is important to understand what benefits you have if you are retrenched. Accepting a voluntary retrenchment package provides the same retrenchment rights and...

Financial stress on the rise

Financial stress has soared as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, with savings dropping and debt levels rising. 58% of households across South Africa are facing high or overwhelming financial stress, according to the latest Old Mutual Savings & Investment Monitor...

Listen: Money Makeover: How we reached our goals in just six months

In the final episode of our Money Makeover Challenge podcast, Maya (@mayaonmoney) and Mapalo (@womanandfinance) chat to the two winners Catherien and Nono about their journey and how they turned their finances around. In just six months these women paid off debt,...

Video: How to prioritise those bills

Lockdown and the economic fallout will affect different people in different ways. Some are fortunate enough to still be receiving a salary but according to the recent Old Mutual Savings and Investment monitor, over 50% have experienced a pay cut. Now is the time to...

Protect yourself from cyber criminals

Cyber criminals are taking advantage of the anxiety around lockdown. Manie van Schalkwyk, Executive Director of the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) provides some insight into what scams to watch out for. The world is currently a very scary place....

Listen: How to track your financial progress

In previous podcasts we have discussed the concept of net worth and how to use it to assess your financial progress (take a listen to "Grow your net worth in 2020" and "Do you know your net worth?"). In this podcast, Maya (@mayaonmoney) and Mapalo (@womanandfinance)...

Check before you press pay

If you accidently pay into the wrong account, there is no guarantee you will receive your money back. I recently received two complaints from readers who had accidently paid money into the wrong account, highlighting the risk of electronic fund transfers (EFT) and how...

Money Makeover: Making plans for bigger dreams

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale The true motivation behind financial freedom is to have the money to live our dreams – we just need a plan to get us there. While our...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This