Small businesses are getting more than $1.5 billion in tax breaks for going digital and training workers, but some say the budget misses the mark on big challenges facing the economy.
“Small and family businesses are at the heart of our economy and local communities – they employ nearly eight million Australians,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Tuesday.
Effective immediately, for every $100 a small business spends on training, they will get a $120 tax deduction – capped at $100,000 per year and costing taxpayers $550 million.
Spending on cloud computing, e-invoicing, cyber security and web design also attract the tax deduction, for costs incurred from budget night onwards, providing a further $1 billion in tax relief.
Business Council CEO Jennifer Westacott said the investment allowance for small business will help give them the tools and incentives they need to support the recovery.
“These measures recognise that small businesses have borne the brunt of COVID,” she said.
But Council of Small Business Organisations Australia CEO Alexi Boyd said the budget failed to address the number one issue for small businesses – workforce shortages.
Manufacturing businesses have been targeted for federal support during a period of heightened global uncertainty.
More than $1 billion in new spending includes $200 for the regional accelerator program, on top of an initial $1.5 billion already committed to modern manufacturing.
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Some $750 million will entice private sector investment in large projects, while $53.9 million will help small and medium manufacturers adopt new technologies, scale up and potentially compete overseas.
There is $4.7 million to support women to build a career in Australian manufacturing.
Some $38.6 million will also encourage more women to begin and complete apprenticeships in male-dominated trades like plumbing and bricklaying.
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Andrew McKellar said the budget doesn’t address some challenges facing the economy, including a far-reaching agenda for tax reform, rebuilding business investment, supply chain capability and productivity.
“Presumably, these will have to wait until next year,” he said.
Providing $1.85 billion in cash flow support, the so-called GDP uplift rate that applies to PAYG income tax and GST instalments will be reduced to two per cent for the 2022/23 income year.
This will mean lower tax instalments for 2.3 million small to medium businesses, sole traders and others who use the instalment amount method.
Other measures include $10.4 million to overhaul the Payment Times Reporting Portal and Register to make it easier to see which of Australia’s largest organisations pay their invoices on time.
Some $8 million goes to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman so firms can access more advice.
Mental health support also gets a boost with $4.6 million to extend Beyond Blue’s NewAccess for Small Business Owners program.
Financial Counselling Australia’s Small Business Debt Helpline recieves $2.1 million to help more small business owners receive financial advice.
But the ability to instantly write-off assets will end on June 30, 2023, despite calls for it to be made permanent.