My Business exclusive: Small Business Minister Bruce Billson responds to Budget 2015

In an exclusive column for My Business, Small Business Minister Bruce Billson responds to Budget 2015 and its, “rocket fuel for the small business tank”.

In an exclusive column for My Business, Small Business Minister Bruce Billson responds to Budget 2015 and its, “rocket fuel for the small business tank”.

Every month I have the privilege of contributing a column to My Business. When it comes out and I flick through the pages, I am always inspired by the ideas and enthusiasm from contributors and the enterprising men and women they write about.

I was thinking of these men and women on Budget night when the biggest small business package our nation has ever seen was announced. The measures are designed to give small business owners and budding entrepreneurs the confidence to invest more, grow more and create more.

They are about giving the two million small businesses in Australia the tools to succeed, which in turn will create jobs and boost our economy. Put simply, the Budget’s small business package is rocket fuel in the tank of small business.

The potential benefits for our country are significant, because 96 per cent of all Australia’s businesses are small businesses, and they employ over 4.5 million people.

It has been an honour to craft the package hand in hand with small business owners and industry and with support from the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Finance Minister. The 1.5 per cent tax cut for small business companies was known well before the Budget because it was flagged by the Prime Minister in his National Press Club speech. The discount will apply to the nearly one third of small businesses that are incorporated.

I have been saying for some time that it is critical all small businesses are included in the Budget measures. That is why the other two-thirds that are unincorporated will benefit from a five per cent tax discount, providing these businesses with up to an extra $1,000 per year income tax savings.

From Budget night until June 31, 2017, small businesses are also now able to immediately deduct as an expense any asset they buy for their business under $20,000. There is no limit to how many items under this amount they can claim, as long as the business is actively trading with a turnover under $2 million per year and the asset will directly benefit the business.

These tax savings are a great bonus, but we know that they are not the whole answer. The Government needs to give small businesses a range of tools to succeed. We have already slashed more than $2.5 billion in red tape to reduce regulation so businesses can focus on growing. Budget measures to continue on this path include changes to the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) system and improving access to work-related exemptions.

I have talked before in My Business about how the Government is unashamedly targeting start-ups in a bid to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship, and there are measures in the Budget that will benefit them in particular. From July 2016, new start-ups will be able to immediately write off professional costs associated with starting a business, rather than writing them off over five years. 

Business registration will be streamlined with a single online registration site, which will fix the current fragmented and complex process, saving time and money. Small business owners will also be able to change the legal structure of their business without incurring a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) liability. This will reduce some of the complexity of starting a new business and provide established business owners with more flexibility to determine how they grow. 

We confirmed in this Budget that we are on track to remove obstacles to crowd-sourced equity funding this year. This will complement the expanded tax concessions for Employee Share Schemes currently before Parliament.

The Government will also consult in the coming months on the current framework that guides the establishment and regulation of corporations. The consultation will investigate whether some of the regulatory requirements can be removed or relaxed to reduce compliance costs and to make incorporation more attractive to small enterprises.

All of these initiatives build on the range of others we have introduced or are being developed to make Australia the best place to start and grow a business. The extension of unfair contract protections, the Single Business Service and the creation of a Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman are just a few.

These measures are putting fuel in the tank of small business, and the Budget’s historic small business package just upped it to rocket fuel. As I have said before, I am completely committed to energising enterprise.

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