2nd April, 2019

Federal Budget 2019 – everything small businesses need to know

An increase in the Instant Asset Write-Off from $25,000 to $30,000, extra funding for export reimbursements and personal tax cuts are the biggest takeaways from this year’s Federal Budget.

Although we are anticipating a Federal Election fairly soon, and many, if not all, of the measures announced won’t be legislated before it, the Coalition has taken a swing at keeping small businesses on board with a range of benefits. Let’s take a look at them:

The Instant Asset Write-Off gets a boost to $30,000

The big one. The Government has announced that effective from April 2, 2019 at 7.30pm, until 30 June 2020, businesses can instantly write off any asset worth up to $30,000.

The best part? The threshold for accessing the write-off has now expanded from $10 million to $50 million.

That’s a huge number of businesses that can now access this benefit that wouldn’t otherwise be able to, although it pays to note this is another temporary extension of the incentive.

All the rules for applying the write-off are the same. You need to have equipment purchased and installed by the end date. But apart from that, go nuts.

Extra $60 million for the Export Market Development Grant

Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it – it’s good. The EMDG reimburses small businesses for any spending on export activity, which includes things like research trips overseas, advertising, and so on.

If you’re a small business hoping to expand, the EMDG can be a crucial part of those efforts. You’d have an opportunity to do so, without all the risk of plunging into a new market.

Big personal tax cuts

Remember last year? The Government announced a huge number of changes to personal tax rates, some of which are scheduled for the 2024-25 year. Those were all legislated and ready to go.

Now, the Government wants to add some more.


  • Low and middle income tax offsets will be changed this year to provide a financial boost: $530 to $1080 for singles, and up to $2160 for dual income families in the 2018-19 to 2021-22 income years
  • In 2022-23, the 19% bracket threshold will rise from $41,000 to $45,000 and the low income tax offset will increase from $645 to $700
  • In 2024, the 32.5% tax rate will drop to 30%

Business owners would surely be pleased: Australians will be running around with extra money in their pockets, and there’s equally the opportunity to keep employees happy, too, as they take home more of what they earn.

Of course, all these personal tax changes mean you need payroll software that keeps you compliant. Thankfully, MYOB does it all automatically.

Expansion of the Single Touch Payroll system

The Government also proposed expanding the recently introduced Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting regime to allow the ATO and other Commonwealth agencies to collect more data on employers.

The expansion is priced in to the tune of $82.4 million, but the Government is yet to share much detail on exactly what data might be collected other than “more information about gross pay amounts”.

READ: STP is now a requirement for all businesses – here’s what you should know

The Government has also made clear that it doesn’t intend these changes to introduce more compliance complexity, or require employers to collect more details from employees than they already have.

While this may not be of primary concern for small business owners yet, STP is now mandatory, and this provides added motivation to make sure your payroll software is compliant.

New ABN regulations

Anyone with an ABN obviously needs to keep up to date with the tax records and returns. Now, the Government is cracking down on those who aren’t.

If you hold an ABN, from July 2021 the Government would make it mandatory for you to file your tax return if you have a tax obligation.

From July 2022, you’d need to provide an annual update on your ABN status and your personal details.

If you’re already lodging your tax returns, then you wouldn’t need to worry! No matter what, though, in 2022 you’ll need to start updating ABN details every year. Something to keep on the calendar.

Skills shortage payments

Fancy hiring an apprentice? A boost to Skills Shortage payments introduced in this year’s budget will pay you $8,000 for hiring one – instead of the current rate of $4,000.

It’s all part of a huge $80 million investment in skills shortages. If you were already planning on doing this, well, it could be good timing.

Other stuff in the budget you should probably know about

These might not be on your radar, but they affect business in general and you should still know about them:

  • The ATO is investing more money in cracking down on sham contracting. That is, employers wrongly calling their employees “contractors” despite making them follow rules and regulations like an employee.
  • The Government is reducing skilled migration by 120,000 places over the next four years. If you were thinking of hiring from overseas, this should be on your radar.