Federal Budget 2022


29th March, 2022

7 (more) key Budget measures businesses should know about

From the fuel excise to streamlining ATO reporting, here are seven more takeaways for Australian business owners and advisors beyond the digital tax incentive.

At 7.30 AEDT, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivered the Government’s annual Federal Budget address, announcing a broad range of measures aimed at addressing the cost of living and accelerating our economic recovery out of the pandemic slump.

“There are nearly two million more Australians in work today than when we came to government,” said Frydenberg. “More women in work than ever before.

“This Budget will see unemployment go even lower, delivering more jobs and higher wages.”

We’ve seen some big announcements when it comes to digital tax incentives and skills, but there are a number of other pieces of good news for business in tonight’s Budget.

7 measures business owners should know:

  1. Fuel excise halved for six months
  2. Cost of living pressures addressed
  3. Regional communications are on the agenda
  4. Reporting to the ATO is becoming more streamlined
  5. PAYG will be modernised by 2024
  6. Some COVID grants become non-assessable, non-exempt to 30 June 2022
  7. Childcare and mental health gain targeted spending

As expected in the lead up to a Federal Election, tonight’s announcements featured a little bit of something for just about everyone, including the much-discussed prospect of a one-off cash handout of $250 to those on the pension, as well as the expansion of the low-to-middle income tax offset.

But when it comes to business owners and operators, here are the main items you’ll want to be aware of.

1. Temporary halving of fuel excise to fight rising costs

The Government has confirmed the petrol and diesel excise will be slashed by half for six months,

“For the next six months, Australians will save 22 cents a litre every time they fill up their car,” Frydenberg announced.

“A family with two cars who fill up once a week could save around $30 a week or around $700 over the next six months.”

The cut to the fuel excise takes effect tonight and is expected to begin impacting the cost of petrol in the next fortnight, without impacting costs to funding and maintaining roads.

2. Further encouragement of consumer spending

A number of initiatives have been announced to reduce the cost of living pressures, which will in turn have an impact on consumers’ spending ability – likely to be welcome news for businesses of all sizes.

These include:

  • $420 one-off tax offset for over 10 million low-and-middle income earners
  • Expansion of the low and middle income tax offset of $1500 for singles and $3000 for couples from 1 July 2022
  • $250 ‘Cost of Living Payment’ to be delivered within weeks to six million ‘pensioners, carers, veterans, job seekers, eligible self-funded retirees and concession card holders’

“Together, with existing indexation arrangements, this will see a single pensioner receive more than $500 in additional support over the next six months, just when they need it most,” the Treasurer said.

3. $1.3 billion for regional communications

The government is spending $480 million on the National Broadband Network in what is likely to spell great news for regional investment, as well as the delivery of products and services online.

Up to one million households and businesses in regional, rural and remote Australia will have access to higher speeds on NBN fixed wireless services or greater data limits on Sky Muster services.

The measure comes as part of the Treasurer’s announcement to deliver “a new $1.3 billion telecommunications package to expand mobile coverage across 8,000 kilometres of regional transport routes.”

The package also includes $811.8 million over five years to expand mobile coverage, connectivity, resilience and affordability in regional Australia.

There’s also a review into mobile tower access fees that will cost $1.8 million to deliver.

4. Smarter reporting for TPAR, trust incomes

The Taxable Payments Reporting System looks set for an overhaul and businesses will now have the option to report it via their accounting software on the same lodgment cycle as their Business Activity Statements.

While the Government says systems will be in place to support this by 31 December 2023 and will commence on 1 January 2024, MYOB systems are already prepared to make this change, which aims to increase the accuracy and timeliness of reporting while lowering the compliance cost to businesses.

Similarly, the digitisation of trust and beneficiary income reporting and processing has also been announced, allowing all trust tax return filers the option to lodge income tax returns electronically, so increasing pre-filling of data and assisting the automation of ATO assurance.

5. Modernisation of PAYG instalment systems

Companies that choose to have Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments calculated on current financial performance will be able to have the information extracted from their accounting software with some tax adjustments.

The move provides incentive for small business to digitise their accounting to reduce set PAYG tax for reduced business performance each BAS quarter.

While the Government is still to consult with impacted stakeholders, including tax practitioners and digital service providers such as MYOB, the intention is to have this measure take effect by 1 January 2024.

6. COVID business grants to become non-assessable, non-exempt

This announcement will enable payments from certain State and Territory business support programs to be made non-assessable and non-exempt for income tax purposes until 30 June this year.

Eligibility is limited to grant programs directed at businesses impacted directly by public health directives and were significantly disrupted as a result, and includes the following:

  • NSW Accommodation Support Grant, Commercial Landlord Hardship Grant, Performing Arts Relaunch Package, Festival Relaunch Package, 2022 Small Business Supports Program
  • QLD COVID-19 2021 Business Support Grant
  • SA COVID-19 Tourism and Hospitality Support Grant, and COVID-19 Business Hardship Grant

Childcare and mental health investment

The Government announced $19.4 million in spending over the next five years to support the establishment of new childcare services in rural, remote and regional areas where there is limited supply of existing childcare services.

A critical factor for any employer of parents, childcare funding is seen as absolutely critical for the availability of workers and in this sense, every little bit helps. However, we can expect business owners are probably looking for more funding in this direction.

Another key issue for worker support mental health spending includes specific measures to support mental health for adults and children in flood affected regions.

This is an important recognition of the recent challenges faced by Australians, and it is something that we know impacts both small and large businesses, their managers and their operations..

In MYOB’s January 2022 Business Monitor survey of 1000 SME owners and operators found that in the last 12 months 54 percent had experienced stress, 45 percent had experienced anxiety, and 24 percent had experienced depression resulting from running their business.

Join She’s on the Money’s Victoria Devine in unpacking key announcements from this year’s Federal Budget with the help of ASBFEO’s Bruce Billson, MYOB’s Helen Lea and Madebox’s Samantha Finnegan in a webinar scheduled to occur at 3pm AEDT, Thursday 31 March. Hosted by MYOB, you can register to attend the webinar here.