parliament canberra

2024–25 Federal Budget Highlights

Budget 2024–25 key measures you must know

Described as a “responsible Budget that helps people under pressure today”, the Treasurer has forecast a second consecutive surplus of $9.3 billion.

The main priorities of the government, as reflected in the Budget, are helping with the cost of living, building more housing, investing in skills and education, strengthening Medicare and responsible economic management to help fight inflation.

The key tax measures announced in the Budget include extending the $20,000 instant asset write-off for eligible businesses by 12 months until 30 June 2025, introducing tax incentives for hydrogen production and critical minerals production, strengthening foreign resident CGT rules and penalising multinationals that seek to avoid paying Australian royalty withholding tax.

The Budget also includes various amendments to previously announced measures, as well as a number of income tax measures that have already been enacted prior to the Budget announcement, including:

These enacted measures have not been discussed in detail in our summary report:

Income tax

The tax, superannuation and social security highlights are set out below. The government anticipates that the tax measures put forward will collectively improve the Budget position by $3.1 billion over a 5-year period to 2027–28.

  • The instant asset write-off threshold of $20,000 for small businesses applying the simplified depreciation rules will be extended for 12 months until 30 June 2025
  • The foreign resident CGT regime will be strengthened for CGT events commencing on or after 1 July 2025
  • A critical minerals production tax incentive will be available from 2027–28 to 2040–41 to support downstream refining and processing of critical minerals
  • A hydrogen production tax incentive will be available from 2027–28 to 2040–41 to producers of renewable hydrogen
  • The minimum length requirements for content and the above-the-line cap of 20% for total qualifying production expenditure for the producer tax offset will be removed
  • A new penalty will be introduced from 1 July 2026 for taxpayers who are part of a group with more than $1 billion in annual global turnover that are found to have mischaracterised or undervalued royalty payments
  • The Labor government’s 2022–23 Budget measure to deny deductions for payments relating to intangibles held in low- or no-tax jurisdictions is being discontinued
  • The start date of a 2023–24 Budget measure to expand the scope of the Pt IVA general anti-avoidance rule will be deferred to income years commencing on or after assent of enabling legislation
  • Income tax exemptions for World Rugby and/or related entities for income derived in relation to the Rugby World Cup 2027 (men’s) and Rugby World Cup 2029 (women’s)
  • Deductible gift recipients list to be updated.

Superannuation

  • Superannuation will be paid on government-funded paid parental leave (PPL) for parents of babies born or adopted on or after 1 July 2025
  • The Fair Entitlements Guarantee Recovery Program will be recalibrated to pursue unpaid superannuation entitlements owed by employers in liquidation or bankruptcy from 1 July 2024
  • Prior to the Budget the draft of the $3 million super tax legislation was given Senate go-ahead and remains unchanged — it will include the taxing of unrealised gains and no indexation. Read more »

Tax administration

  • The ATO will be given a statutory discretion to not use a taxpayer’s refund to offset old tax debts on hold
  • Indexation of the Higher Education Loan Program (and other student loans) debt will be limited to the lower of either the Consumer Price Index or the Wage Price Index, effective from 1 June 2023
  • A pilot program of matching income and employment data of migrant workers will be conducted between the Department of Home Affairs and the ATO
  • A new ATO compliance taskforce will be established to recover tax revenue lost to fraud while existing compliance programs will be extended.

GST

  • Refunds of indirect tax (including GST, fuel and alcohol taxes) will be extended under the Indirect Tax Concession Scheme.

Small business depreciation — instant asset write-off threshold of $20,000 extended to 2024–25

The instant asset write-off threshold of $20,000 for small businesses applying the simplified depreciation rules will be extended for 12 months until 30 June 2025.

Small businesses (aggregated annual turnover less than $10 million) may choose to calculate capital allowances for depreciating assets under a simplified regime in Subdiv 328-D of ITAA 1997. Under these simplified depreciation rules, an immediate write-off applies for low-cost depreciating assets. The measure will apply a $20,000 threshold for the immediate write-off, applicable to eligible assets costing less than $20,000 that are first used or installed ready for use by 30 June 2025.

Assets valued at $20,000 or more (which cannot be immediately deducted) can continue to be placed into the small business simplified depreciation pool and depreciated at 15% in the first income year and 30% each income year thereafter. The provisions that prevent small businesses from re-entering the simplified depreciation regime for 5 years if they opt-out will also continue to be suspended until 30 June 2025.

The measure extends a 2023–24 Budget measure to increase the instant asset write-off threshold to $20,000 for the 2023–24 income year. A Bill containing amendments to increase the instant asset write-off threshold for 2023–24 is currently before Parliament. The Bill was amended by the Senate to increase the instant asset write-off threshold for 2023–24 to $30,000 and extend access to the instant asset write-off to entities that are not small business entities but would be if the aggregated turnover threshold were $50 million.

Tax administration

Statutory discretion for ATO to deal with tax refunds and debts on hold

The Commissioner of Taxation will be given the discretion to not use a taxpayer’s refund to offset old tax debts where that debt had been put on hold before 1 January 2017. The tax law will be amended to provide for this ATO discretion which will apply to individuals, small businesses and not-for-profits. The discretion will maintain the ATO’s current administrative approach to such debts.

Student loans indexation reform

Indexation of the Higher Education Loan Program (and other student loans) debt will be limited to the lower of either the Consumer Price Index or the Wage Price Index, effective from 1 June 2023, subject to the passage of legislation. The measure will apply retrospectively.

Data matching program for migrant workers’ income and employment

A pilot program matching income and employment data will be conducted between the Department of Home Affairs and the ATO to mitigate the exploitation of migrant workers and abuse of Australia’s labour market and migration system. This measure forms part of broader reforms to the migration system.

Strengthening ATO ability to combat fraud and extension of compliance programs

The ATO will be provided additional funding to continue various compliance programs. The current ATO Personal Income Tax Compliance Program will be extended for another year from 1 July 2027 to enable the ATO to continue its focus on emerging risks to the tax system. The Shadow Economy Compliance Program and the Tax Avoidance Taskforce will be extended for 2 years from 1 July 2026.

Funding will be provided to the ATO to improve its detection of tax and superannuation fraud, including to upgrade its information and communications technologies to be able to identify and block suspicious activity in real time. A new compliance task force will also be established to recover lost revenue and block attempts to obtain refunds fraudulently. Funding will also be provided to improve ATO’s management and governance of its counter-fraud activities.

The ATO will also be given additional time within which to notify a taxpayer if it intends to retain a business activity statement (BAS) refund for further investigation. The current required notification period of 14 days will be extended to 30 days, aligning it with time limits for non-BAS refunds. This measure will take effect from the start of the first financial year after assent of the enabling legislation.

2019-20 Budget measure on black economy will not proceed

The 2019–20 Budget measure “Black Economy — Strengthening the Australian Business Number system” will not proceed as integrity issues are being addressed through enhanced administrative processes implemented by the ATO.

GST

Refunds of indirect tax extended under Indirect Tax Concession Scheme

Refunds of indirect tax (including GST, fuel and alcohol taxes) will be extended under the Indirect Tax Concession Scheme (ITCS).

The Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) will have ITCS access upgraded for additional concessions to be claimed for the purchase of vehicles for personal use by SKAO officials or a member of their family. Additional concessions for commercial rent will also be formalised for existing ITCS packages for Bangladesh, Costa Rica, El Salvador and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office. Construction and renovation concessions will be formalised for the existing ITCS package for the Netherlands. Concessions for both commercial rent and construction and renovation will be formalised for the existing ITCS package for Pacific Trade Invest.

Superannuation

Super to be paid on government-funded paid parental leave

Superannuation will be paid on government-funded paid parental leave (PPL) for parents of babies born or adopted on or after 1 July 2025. Eligible parents will receive an additional payment based on the superannuation guarantee (12% of their PPL payments), as a contribution to their superannuation fund. Payments will be made annually to individuals’ superannuation funds from 1 July 2026.

Recovery of unpaid super from liquidated or bankrupt employers

The Fair Entitlements Guarantee Recovery Program will be recalibrated to pursue unpaid superannuation entitlements owed by employers in liquidation or bankruptcy from 1 July 2024.

To discuss how these Budget measures impact you or your business, please contact your Allan Hall Advisor.

Full Budget papers are available at budget.gov.au and the Treasury ministers’ media releases are available at ministers.treasury.gov.au.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL BUSINESS ADVISORS

house key

Foreign residents selling property in Australia

Foreign resident capital gains withholding (FRCGW) of 12.5% applies for all property sales of AUD$750,000 or more.

At a minimum, that is AUD$93,750 being withheld from the sale and paid to the Australian Tax Office, unless there is an approved variation.

The most common reasons why a seller may apply for a variation include:

  • making a capital loss
  • not having an income tax liability
  • foreclosure.

In 2023 over 60% of applications for variations were lodged late, affecting settlement. When clients are too late in applying, the conveyancer or solicitor has no choice but to withhold 12.5%.

Tips

  • Include the sales contracts with the variation application
  • Variations must be lodged online at least 28 days before property settlement to ensure processing time
  • The main residence exemption doesn’t apply to foreign residents
  • Australian residents for tax purposes must have a clearance certificate before settlement to prove their residency for tax purposes, so no withholding occurs.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL INTERNATIONAL SERVICES

payroll

Small Business Superannuation Clearing House Changes

Actionable Update to SMSF Bank Account Validation

ATO update introduces SMSF bank account validation aimed at improving the precision and security of superannuation contributions

Given the proximity of the next SG contribution deadline on 28 April 2024, it is important to take action ahead of this date to prevent potential compliance issues.

Key points

  • The ATO implemented a pivotal update within the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (SBSCH) on 15 March 2024
  • This new system feature affects all small employers who use the SBSCH to pay superannuation to employee SMSFs
  • The ATO’s validation process requires small employers using the SBSCH to ensure perfect alignment between their employees’ SMSF bank account details and the corresponding fund bank account details recorded by the ATO
  • The validation focuses on the BSB and account number as registered under the SMSF’s Superannuation Role within ATO systems. For any employee where there is no exact match, the SBSCH will not process their superannuation payment.

Action Required: Review Employee Records

The ATO is contacting small employers likely to be impacted by the new SBSCH SMSF bank account validation process.

However, with SG obligations for the March 2024 quarter due no later than 28 April 2024, it is important for small businesses to act proactively.

If you are a small business using the SBSCH, it is important that you contact your employees to confirm that the SMSF bank account they pay superannuation contributions to, is the same as the SMSF bank account registered against the superannuation role with the ATO.

Where employees are unsure how to check if the bank account their employer makes super contributions to is the same as the one registered with the ATO, please contact Allan Hall for assistance on 02 9981 2300.

Should there be a need for an employee to amend SMSF bank details held by the ATO, it is crucial to communicate these changes to all fund members as the ATO will issue email or text alerts to ensure all fund members are informed.

Small employers delaying the review and update of their employees’ SMSF bank records risk facing SG shortfalls and potential penalties as there may be insufficient time to rectify a discrepancy.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL ACCOUNTANTS & BUSINESS ADVISORS

audit & assurance

Safeguarding SMSF Members in an Aging Demographic

Navigating Incapacity

The rising number of older individuals managing their own Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs) highlights the importance to address potential issues related to incapacity within this demographic.

The Auditors Institute has stressed the likelihood of an increase in conversations about capacity issues, in particular about establishing processes to address scenarios proactively such as:

  • SMSF members expressing concerns about their own or their spouse’s ability to comprehend complex superannuation concepts should prompt advisers to consider incapacity safeguards
  • The importance of having mechanisms such as a well-defined trust deed, enduring powers of attorney (EPOA) and legal representatives in place to mitigate risks associated with potential incapacity among SMSF members.

The substantial size of SMSF portfolios, with an average balance of approximately $1.39 million, and the collective responsibility held by over a million SMSF members, with an average balance of $745,000, underscores the necessity for proactive discussions surrounding incapacity.

ATO data has shown that approximately 42% of all SMSF members are aged 65 or older, with almost equal representation between males and females.

The need to consider incapacity issues in SMSF management, especially with nearly half of SMSF members being over the age of 65, was emphasised by the ATO’s SMSF statistics for the 2021-22 financial year.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL SUPERANNUATION

audit & assurance

Safeguard Your Affairs with Audit Insurance

Audit Insurance: A different perspective on a wise investment

In the dynamic world of business, facing an Australian Taxation Office (ATO) audit can be a daunting and costly experience for both business owners and individual taxpayers alike.

However, did you know that already 15% of Allan Hall business clients have chosen to secure their financial well-being by opting for audit insurance?

This strategic decision is not just about protecting finances; it’s about ensuring peace of mind during potential ATO reviews.

The Cost of an ATO Audit

The average cost for professional fees associated with a standard ATO review of a proprietary limited (Pty Ltd) company can be as high as $18,000. This figure includes the expenses incurred in navigating through the intricacies of tax regulations, responding to ATO queries, and addressing any discrepancies that may arise during the audit process.

The Affordable Solution

Enter audit insurance — a financial safety net designed to alleviate the burden of exorbitant audit-related expenses. For an average annual cost of around $600, businesses can secure comprehensive coverage that not only shields them from the financial impact of an ATO audit but also allows them to navigate the process with professional support.

Why Choose Audit Insurance?

1. Cost Mitigation:

  • Shield your business from hefty expenses associated with ATO audits, including accounting and legal fees.
  • The annual investment in audit insurance is minimal compared to the potential costs of an unexpected ATO review.

2. Peace of Mind:

  • Focus on running your business without fear of unexpected financial setbacks due to audits.
  • Audit insurance provides peace of mind, allowing you to concentrate on growth and development rather than compliance concerns.

3. Professional Support:

  • Freedom to access our team of experts to assist in handling ATO audit queries ensures that your business is in capable hands.
  • Receive guidance throughout the audit process, ensuring compliance and minimising the risk of financial penalties.

Being prepared for unforeseen challenges is a mark of a prudent entrepreneur. Audit insurance emerges as a sensible investment, providing a safety net against the potential financial impact of ATO audits.

With an average annual cost that pales in comparison to the potential expenses of an initial review or an extensive audit, business owners can make an informed decision to safeguard their financial health. In the end, the choice is yours but with audit insurance, you can make that choice with confidence and financial security.

READ MORE OR REQUEST A QUOTE

hyperlink

Removal of ATO SMS hyperlinks

ATO announces the removal of hyperlinks in SMS

The ATO is in the process of removing hyperlinks from all outbound unsolicited SMS by Tax Time 2024.

Removing hyperlinks is a scam-preventative measure. It will help protect the community by making it easier to identify legitimate ATO SMS interactions and provide trust and confidence in the ATO’s tax, superannuation and registry systems. 

There has been significant growth in the use of SMS by cybercriminals.

Throughout the 2022–23 financial year, SMS scams impersonating the ATO brand, products, services and employees increased by over 400%. 

Cybercriminals often use hyperlinks in targeted SMS phishing scams. The hyperlinks take individuals to highly sophisticated fraudulent websites (such as a fake myGov sign-in page) designed to steal their personal information or install malware.  

The ATO  may use SMS  to contact you, but will never include links to log-in pages. If you want to access the ATO’s online services, always type my.gov.au or ato.gov.au into your internet browser yourself. 

This change also serves as a timely reminder to protect your information. Do not give out your TFN, date of birth or bank details unless you trust the person you are dealing with, and they genuinely require these details. 

If you think communication such as a phone call, SMS, voicemail, email or interaction on social media claiming to be from the ATO is not genuine, do not engage with it. You should either: 

  • go to Verify or report a scam to see how to spot and report a scam 
  • phone the ATO on 1800 008 540 if you have divulged information or remitted a payment to a scammer. 

For information and examples of ATO impersonation scams see Scam alerts »

CONTACT ALLAN HALL BUSINESS ADVISORS

stopwatch countdown to deadline

Small business lodgement penalty amnesty deadline

Clock ticking on small business lodgement penalty amnesty

Small businesses have until the end of December 2023 to get back on track with overdue forms via the small business lodgement penalty amnesty.

Late lodgement penalties will be remitted under the amnesty which ends on 31 December 2023 for small business income tax returns, fringe benefits tax (FBT) returns and business activity statements (BAS) originally due between 1 December 2019 and 28 February 2022.

More than 14,000 small businesses have taken advantage of the amnesty since it kicked off on 1 June 2023, with more than $48 million in failure to lodge (FTL) penalties remitted.

Directors who bring their company lodgements up to date can also have FTL penalties remitted if they rely on company lodgements to finalise their tax affairs. This applies to eligible lodgments made between 1 June and 31 December 2023.

The amnesty provides an opportunity for small businesses to re-engage with their tax affairs and get back on track with their lodgement obligations without penalties.

If a small business has ceased trading, they need to advise their registered tax professional or contact the ATO directly to seek assistance with finalising their tax obligations, which may include lodging overdue returns, cancelling their ABN and paying any amounts overdue.

While penalties will be remitted under the amnesty, if a business finds themselves with a tax debt after their overdue forms are lodged, they must pay in full to avoid further interest charges or check the ATO website to see if they are eligible for a payment plan.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL BUSINESS ADVISORS

calculator on AUD$

Using business money for private purposes

2 steps to take

If you use money or assets from your company or trust for private purposes and don’t account for the transactions correctly, there can be tax consequences.

That’s why it’s important to get it right.

Business money and assets you take or use for private purposes can include:

  • salary and wages
  • director fees
  • fringe benefits, such as an employee using the company car
  • dividends paid by the company to you as a shareholder (that is, distribution of the company’s profits)
  • trust distributions if your business operates under a trust and pays you as a beneficiary
  • loans from a trust or company
  • ad hoc drawings or takings
  • allowances or reimbursements of expenses you receive from a trust or company.

If you’ve used business money or assets from a company or trust for private purposes, follow these steps to avoid unintended tax consequences:

  1. Keep accurate records of the transactions, and
  2. Account for the transactions in the company or trust tax return and your individual tax return, if applicable.

Remember, there are different reporting and record-keeping requirements for each type of transaction, so make sure you know how to keep accurate records to suit your circumstances.

You can also practise good record-keeping habits by regularly cross-checking your records against the original documents so you can fix mistakes earlier and monitor your business’s cash flow.

Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for keeping business records and what you claim in your tax returns, however Registered Tax or BAS Agents like Allan Hall on the Northern Beaches can help and advise on your tax.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL BUSINESS ADVISORS

taxation & accounting

Business income: it’s not just cash

Clothing, jewellery, gaming products, flights and crypto assets are just some of the things you might have to account for in your tax return as part of your business income.

If you received these or any other non-cash benefits instead of money for your goods or services, or as a tip or gift – you must record them as income at their market value.

This means you record the cash price that you would normally have to pay for those goods or services.

You may be able to reduce the assessable amount of a non-cash benefit you’ve received, by the amount you would have been able to claim as a deduction if you had purchased the item to be used in carrying on your business.

It’s important to report your regular forms of income

Such as:

  • cash and digital payments
  • vouchers or coupons
  • business investments
  • online and overseas business activities
  • services you provide using your personal effort and skills (personal services income)
  • the sharing economy, such as ride-sourcing
  • assessable government grants and payments
  • the value of trading stock you take for your own use
  • payments from insurance claims.

There are some payments that aren’t assessable income, so you don’t need to include them on your return, such as:

  • non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) government grants
  • bona fide gifts or inheritance
  • GST you’ve collected
  • money you’ve borrowed or contributed as the business owner.

Always keep accurate and complete records to prove the income you report and the expenses you claim as deductions.

Remember, registered tax professionals like Allan Hall in Brookvale can help and advise on your tax.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL BUSINESS ADVISORS