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Three reasons this year’s federal budget is advantageous for small business owners

After the Federal Budget was announced on Tuesday, 9 May, small business owners will be trying to work out what matters most to them. Here are three main things we have been reviewing that may impact how small business do business – and it is mostly for the better.

1. LESS RED TAPE

It is exciting to see the $300 million allocated to State governments to reduce compliance burdens for smaller businesses. While it’s not entirely clear yet where the newly-formed National Partnership on Regulatory Reform (NPRR) will focus first, the immediate priority appear to be removing duplicated regulations. The Budget also came with funds to simplify business registration and licensing processes throughout Australia, including making such processes fully available online. Small business owners will want to keep their ears peeled for further developments from the NPRR, and stay in close consultation with their tax agents and company secretaries to make sure they are taking advantage of these new developments.

2. MORE INVESTMENT IN INNOVATION AND TRAINING

Last year’s Budget put the spotlight firmly on innovation, with the Federal Government unveiling a range of incentives to encourage more innovative practices in small and large businesses alike. The 2017 Federal Budget has brought in greater support for innovative business practices including, amongst others, allowing all proprietary companies to take advantage of crowd-sourced equity funding. This means small business owners can raise capital from issuing shares, but without needing the scale – and the requirements – for much larger public listings on the stock exchange.

The Budget also dedicated an extra $1.5 billion to upgrading skills for Australians, making it easier to get funding for apprentices, trainees, and employees with “high-level skills” for the next four years. However, SMBs employing foreign employees may need to act quickly on changing their visas: the popular 457 visa was replaced in this year’s Budget with the Temporary Skill Shortage visa, which comes with a higher levy on employers. SMB owners will want to reassess the costs and risks associated with these visa changes, and make staffing decisions on what work best for their business.

3. MORE FLEXIBILITY WITH CLAIMS

One of the 2016 Budget’s highlights was how it simplified and expanded the claims that SMBs could make on equipment and other capital expenses – including software and other digital assets. This year’s Budget has extended that scheme by at least another year, albeit with the same $20,000 threshold on claimed expenditure items. For SMB owners, that means greater incentive to invest in business infrastructure, particularly digital assets that could help them better extend their reach overseas or improve margins with online sales.

SMBs can take advantage of numerous incentives and subsidies in this year’s Budget – many of which have slipped under the radar for many small business owners. There’s never been a better time for SMBs to step out and embrace new ideas, innovation, and new technologies – all of which could help them grow for a long future ahead.


About the author

Tara Commerford is Vice President and Country Manager (ANZ) with SMB tech provider GoDaddy. See also: Very small businesses not growth-focused and not using govt support, recent survey shows.

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