Federal Budget 2019: What happened last year, and what can we expect this year?

Another year, another Federal Budget. Though this one’s at least a little interesting: with the federal election looming, who knows what Scott Morrison and Co. will pull out in their bid to stay in Canberra for another three years?

A year ago seems like such a long time, doesn’t it? The Federal Budget 2018 was filled with a few bits and pieces for small businesses, though you may not be able to recall just what they were.

We’re guessing this year’s budget will have a bunch of spending in it to woo voters. But that’s why we’ll be on the ground in Canberra on Tuesday night, ready to give you all the updates at 7.30pm as they’re published live (be sure to come back here or check out our social accounts then.)

In the meantime, here’s a look back at last year’s budget announcements, what actually happened to them, and what we can expect in a few days’ time.


Extension of the $20,000 asset write-off


Huzzah! Businesses were hoping this would happen, and it did. The Morrison government extended the $20,000 instant asset write-off through the 2018-19 year.

What’s happening with it now?

In a pre-budget announcement, the Government has actually extended the asset write-off again. Now the benefit will be available through the 2019-20 year. Though Morrison has rejected claims so far to make the benefit permanent, though at this point it’s been extended so much…why not?


Personal tax cuts


Last year, the Federal Government announced some key tax changes:

  • Raising the $87,000 threshold to $90,000
  • Raising the 32.5% threshold from $37,000 to $41,000 in 2022-23
  • Raising the 37% threshold from $90,000 to $120,000 in 2022-23
  • Scrapping the 37% bracket completely in 2024-25

What’s happening with it now?

The $90,000 change was made immediately and applies in the current year. As for the rest of the tax cuts, nothing’s happened on those. Well, not quite. They’ve passed Parliament, but with the changes not due until 2022 anything could happen if a Labor government wants to reverse them (unlikely).

READ: Federal Budget 2019  What small business advisors want


Changes to the research and development offset scheme


This one got a lot of people mad! The Morrison government announced a split in the offset into two tiers:

  1. For companies over $20 million:
    • The R&D premium will tie the rate of offset to the intensity of expenditure. Four percentage points for R&D expenditure between 0–2 percent, 6.5 points for between 2–5 percent, 9 points for 5–10 percent and 12 points for 10 percent and above
    • The maximum amount of R&D expenditure eligible for offsets will rise from $100 million to $150 million
  2. For companies $20 million and under:
    • The offset is a premium of 13.5 percentage points above a claimant’s company tax rate
    • Cash refunds are capped at $4 million per year
    • Offsets that can’t be refunded will be carried forwarded as non-refundable tax offsets

What’s happening with it now?

Nothing! It hasn’t passed parliament, and a Senate Committee recommended in February that the changes be delayed “until the impact of the changes are better understood”. Breathe easy.


Crackdown on the black economy: taxable reporting and cash payments


Cash money, yo. Big changes here.

The first was the extension of taxable payments reporting to new industries:

  • Security and investigation services
  • Road freight transport
  • Computer system design and related services

What’s happening with it now?

Payment tracking needs to start from 1 July 2019, with the first annual report required in August 2020.

The second initiative is eliminating cash payments over $10,000. The government is funding the move away from cash payments to stamp out illegal activity, including tax avoidance.

What’s happening with it now?

The payments reporting starts on July 1, but the cash payments rule is still in the consultation phase. It’s due to start 1 July 2020, pending legislation.


What can we expect in 2019?


We’ve already seen an announcement about extending the $20,000 instant asset write-off. But what else will we see this year?

It’s impossible to say with much certainty, but there are some general ideas being discussed:

  • Some more personal income tax cuts. Tax receipts are higher compared to actual income, so the government may want to offer more relief
  • Extra funding for the Export Market Development Grant
  • A bunch of infrastructure spending (because this always happens)
  • Extensions to regulatory frameworks like the payments reporting system. We expect this will grow to more industries

Apart from that, who knows? This year’s Federal Budget is likely to be a stimulatory one given the upcoming election, but until next week we’re in the dark.

Fortunately, we’ll be on the ground in Canberra in the lock-up ready to give you every piece of news as it comes out. Tune in here at The Pulse or on MYOB social media accounts at 7.30pm on Tuesday night, 2 April, to find out more.

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