Federal Budget 2017: key takeaways for small business

The Federal Government has delivered a Budget with some decent wins for small business.

Although it may not reach the heights of last year’s promised tax cuts, businesses and operators of any size will surely be happy with what the government has delivered.

Here are the key takeaways for the 2017 Federal Budget:

Extending the $20,000 instant asset write-off to 30 June 2018

The write-off is here for another year. Even more businesses will get to benefit from this one, with the government now allowing businesses with revenue of up to $10 million to access the write-off.

Previously that threshold was only $2 million, so now even more businesses will be able to access this benefit.

Cutting red tape

The states will get $300 million as an incentive to reduce red tape compliance.

For instance, getting sign-offs on building requirements could be a part of these reforms. As we all know, getting a business off the ground can be a trying process – these reforms will make it easier to get started.

READ: Federal Budget 2017: Government cutting red tape with digitisation

Company tax

The company tax cuts were already confirmed before the Federal Budget, but the government has taken the opportunity to reconfirm its intention to make tax cuts available to all businesses, not just SMEs.

Simplifying business registration

Last year the Government pledged to simplify the BAS registration process.

This year, the Federal Government has introduced new funds to help simplify the business registration and licensing services across Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.

That means you’ll be able to access registration and licensing services on government websites, or on business.gov.au.

Cracking down on the black economy

The government is keen to use technology to improve the integrity of the tax system. The key measures that will impact small businesses in this area are:

  • The taxable payments reporting system will be extended to the courier and cleaning industries, with reporting to start from July 2018 and the first reports due in August 2019.
  • Small business capital gains tax concessions will be changed so they can only be accessed for assets related to their business to help them reinvest and grow.

Housing affordability

There’s a range of measures included in the Budget for housing affordability.

These include the release of a substantial amount of land across the country for development, along with a crackdown on foreign investors who leave their properties vacant.

The bigger two takeaways are:

  • First home buyers will now be able to use any money they salary sacrifice into superannuation accounts as money for a deposit.
  • People aged over 65+ will be able to use profits from the downsizing of their home to contribute to their superannuation without breaching non-concessional caps.

READ: Federal Budget 2017: Is this a circuit-breaker on housing?

Skills and visas

The Government will provide another $1.5 billion over four years from 2017-18 to establish a new Skilling Australians Fund.

This will help prioritise apprenticeships and traineeships for occupations in high demand, occupations with a reliance on skilled migration pathways, industries and sectors of future growth, trade apprenticeships, and apprenticeships and traineeships in regional and rural areas.

Additionally, the Government’s previously announced changes to the 457 visas were confirmed – the visas were scrapped and the introduction of two new skills-based visas will take their place.

Crowd-sourced funding

A new Crowd‑Sourced Equity Framework (CSEF) regime for proprietary companies will be introduced.

This will allow individuals to make financial contributions to a company via online fundraising in exchange for an equity stake.

Regional development

Regional areas will receive a huge amount of infrastructure, with a Regional Growth Fund worth $472 million to help fund projects that assist regional areas in adapting to changes in the economy.

READ: Federal Budget 2017: Boost for regional Australia?

The Federal Government will also change the existing Incubator Support element of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme to provide extra support for regional businesses. This measure will include additional regional incubator facilitators and provide grants to support the establishment of regional business incubators.