7th October, 2020
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has handed down a Budget that delivers on a wide range of economic measures to support businesses and workers in rebuilding the economy.
“In 2020, Australians have been tested like never before. Flood, drought, fires, and a global pandemic,” Frydenberg said in his opening remarks.
“So many Australians, through no fault of their own, are doing it tough.
“Lives have been lost. Businesses have closed. Jobs have gone. Our cherished way of life has been put on hold.”
A dramatic introduction for a Budget created for dramatic times; tonight’s Federal Budget has been touted as one of the most important since World War II.
With the world continuing to face the impacts of the global coronavirus pandemic, Australia has increased its deficit to $213.7 billion this year (partially as a result of temporary stimulus measures already delivered).
With tonight’s Budget announcement, the Government has allayed fears of a shortfall, with a variety of measures to support businesses, their workers, as well as to foster more investment in targeted areas.
The Government is allowing companies with turnover up to $5 billion to offset losses against previous profits on which tax has been paid, to generate a refund.
The tax loss carry-back will be available to around one million companies that employ up to 8.8 million workers, according to Tuesday’s budget.
Losses incurred up to 2021‑22 can be carried back against profits made in or after 2018‑19.
Eligible companies may elect to receive a tax refund when they lodge their 2020‑21 and 2021‑22 tax returns.
“Together with our reforms to insolvency and the provision of credit, we are giving Australian businesses their best chance to succeed and keep more people in work,” said Frydenberg.
This measure is estimated to deliver $4.9 billion in tax relief to businesses over the forward estimates, and $3.9 billion over the medium term.
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An expansion of the popular Instant Asset Write-off scheme, the Government is providing a temporary tax incentive to around 3.5 million businesses that employ around 11.5 million workers in a bid to support new investment and increase business cash flow.
In March, the Government increased the eligible amount for each asset up to $150,000 from $30,000. Now, the Government says there’s no limit on the asset’s price tag.
“From tonight, over 99 percent of businesses will be able to write off the full value of any eligible asset they purchase for their business,” said Frydenberg.
The Treasurer cited a trucking company upgrading its fleet and a food manufacturing business expanding its production line as use cases, shining a light on how much this scheme has expanded since it was first introduced to help small business owners afford their first assets.
This measure is estimated to deliver $26.7 billion in tax relief over the forward estimates, and $3.2 billion over the medium term.
“This Budget is all about jobs,” said Frydenberg. “Starting tonight, there will be a new JobMaker hiring credit to encourage businesses to hire younger Australians.”
The JobMaker credit is expected to help accelerate growth in employment during the recovery by encouraging businesses to take on additional employees that are young job seekers aged 16 to 35 years old.
“It will be paid at the rate of $200 per week for those aged under 30, and $100 per week for those aged between 30-35.
“New hires must work for at least 20 hours a week. All businesses, other than the major banks, will be eligible.”
To be eligible, the employee must have received the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance (Other), or Parenting Payment for at least one of the previous three months at the time of hiring, and the business must be reporting payroll through STP.
The JobMaker Hiring Credit is estimated to support 450,000 positions for young people, costing $4 billion from 2020-21 to 2022‑23.
The Government is investing an additional $1.2 billion to help Australian businesses employ 100,000 new apprentices or trainees.
The subsidy will be available to employers Australia-wide who engage an Australian apprentice or trainee from 5 October 2020 until the 100,000 cap is reached.
Employers will be eligible for 50 percent of the wages for a new or recommencing apprentice or trainee for the period up to 30 September 2021, up to $7,000 per quarter.
Frydenberg also said the Government was committed to funding:
“Research and Development, the adoption of digital technology, and affordable and reliable energy will be critical to Australia’s future economic prosperity,” said Frydenberg.
In this Budget, the Government has tapped $2 billion in additional Research and Development incentives in order to remove “the cap on refunds, lifting the rate and rewarding those businesses that invest the most”.
The money for R&D:
It’s expected the new funding will support more than 11,400 companies that claim R&D incentives.
Announced last week, $800 million is being invested to encourage the uptake of digital tech for businesses to better survive in the future of remote work and online sales.
The largest portion ($420m) of the funding is set to go towards merging the Australian Business Register with 31 other registers used by government agencies, with another $120 million incentivising businesses to take up digital technologies, and $19.2 million to help businesses start transacting online.
$256.6 million will go towards developing a digital identity system to enable more secure and convenient engagement with government services, while $28.5 million will be invested in supporting the rollout of the Consumer Data Right to the banking and energy sectors.
In relation to small businesses, $22.2 million will be spent on supporting small business’ adoption of digital technologies through an expansion of the Australian Small Business Advisory Service – Digital Solutions program, a Digital Readiness Assessment tool and a Digital Directors training package.
It also includes a promise to bring all Government agencies up to speed with eInvoicing by 2025, which will see their supplies paid faster and more easily.
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Businesses with an aggregated annual turnover between $10 million and $50 million will have access to up to 10 small business tax concessions as part of the 2020–21 budget, delivered in three phases:
Additionally, from 1 July 2021, the Commissioner of Taxation’s power to create a simplified accounting method determination for GST purposes will be expanded to apply to businesses below the $50 million aggregated annual turnover threshold.
This year’s Federal Budget includes more detail for business owners to digest than has been in a long time. As such, it’s more important than ever to ensure businesses maintain good relationships with their bookkeepers, accountants and other advisors, in order to keep accurate financial records and maintain cash flow.
We’ll be bringing you more updates as more detail becomes available.