Small business tax reforms
Small businesses will experience a range of benefits from this year’s Budget.
- The small business entity turnover threshold will increase to $10 million from 1 July 2016 for the purposes of certain tax benefits, including: the lower small business corporate tax rate (27.5 per cent), accelerated depreciation and depreciation pooling provisions, simplified trading stock rules, simplified PAYG payment arrangements and other concessions.
- The threshold for access to the tax discount for unincorporated small businesses will be increased from $2 million to $5 million from 1 July 2016 and the tax discount will be increased over 10 years, in line with staggered cuts in the corporate tax rate (discussed above).
- Amendments will be made to Division 7A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 from 1 July 2018. The amendments will clarify the rules and ease the compliance burden for taxpayers.
- There will be simplified BAS reporting requirements for small businesses.
Personal tax rates
The Government will increase the Medicare levy low income threshold for certain taxpayers. The Government will also provide targeted personal income tax relief by increasing the 32.5 per cent personal income tax threshold from $80,000 to $87,000 from 1 July 2016.
Prior to releasing the Budget, the Government had foreshadowed significant changes to superannuation and confirmed that wealthy Australians will pay more tax on their superannuation. The Budget releases some of the detail around those announcements, and also contains many other measures that, when taken together, result in major changes to the superannuation system. The changes are:
- The Government will introduce a $1.6 million transfer balance cap on the total amount of accumulated superannuation an individual can transfer into the retirement phase. This capped amount plus earnings will continue to be tax free in retirement. However, earnings on amounts above this cap will be subject to tax within the super fund. The change will be applied to both current and future retirees.
- The Government will lower the Division 293 threshold from $300,000 to $250,000. A 30 per cent tax applies to concessional contributions made by individuals with a combined income and superannuation contributions above this threshold.
- From 1 July 2017, the annual cap on concessional superannuation contributions will be reduced to $25,000.
- There will be a lifetime non concessional contributions cap of $500,000. This applies to all non concessional contributions made on or after 1 July 2007. Excess contributions will need to be removed or subject to penalty tax.
- Broadly commensurate treatment will apply to defined benefit arrangements.
- Individuals with a superannuation balance of less than $500,000 will be able to make additional concessional contributions where they have not reached their concessional contributions cap in previous years.
- Low income earners will get a low income superannuation tax offset to reduce tax on superannuation contributions, up to a cap of $500.
- From 1 July 2017, all individuals aged up to 75 may claim an income tax deduction for personal superannuation contributions, regardless of their circumstances.
- The income threshold for a low income spouse will be raised from $10,800 to $37,000, increasing access to the low income spouse superannuation tax offset. A contributing spouse will be eligible for an 18 per cent offset worth up to $540 for contributions made to an eligible spouse’s superannuation account.
- It will be easier for people aged 65 to 74 to make superannuation contributions. They will also be able to receive contributions from their spouses and no longer have to satisfy a work test.
- The tax exemption on earnings of assets supporting transition to retirement income streams will be removed.
- The anti detriment provision will be removed. From 1 July 2017 the Government will no longer allow funds to claim this as a deduction. This will ensure consistent treatment of lump sum death benefits across all superannuation which aligns with the treatment of bequests outside of superannuation.
- From 1 July 2017, the tax exemption on earnings in the retirement phase will be extended to products such as deferred lifetime annuities and group self-annuitisation products. The Government will also consult on how these products will be treated under the Age Pension means test.
The GST will be extended to low value goods imported by consumers from 1 July 2017. This will result in low value goods imported by consumers facing the same tax regime as goods that are sourced domestically.