In the prior year (2020/21) Federal Budget, the Government announced amendments to allow businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $5 billion to access a new temporary full expensing of eligible depreciating assets until 30 June 2022. Temporary full expensing became law when Treasury Laws Amendment (A Tax Plan for the COVID-19 Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 received Royal Assent on 14 October 2020.
In the 2021/22 Federal Budget, the Government has announced that temporary full expensing will be extended by 12 months to allow eligible businesses with aggregated annual turnover or the total income of less than $5 billion to deduct the full cost of eligible depreciable assets of any value, acquired from 7:30pm AEDT on 6 October 2020 and first used or installed ready for use by 30 June 2023. All other elements of temporary full expensing will remain unchanged, including the alternative eligibility test based on total income, which will continue to be available to businesses.
In the prior year (2020/21) Federal Budget, the Government announced amendments to introduce a temporary loss carry-back measure. Broadly, this initial measure allowed ‘corporate tax entities’ with an aggregated turnover of less than $5 billion to carry back tax losses made in the 2020, 2021 and/or 2022 income years to claim a refund of tax paid (by way of a tax offset) in relation to the 2019, 2020 and/or 2021 income years. The rules relating to the temporary loss carry-back regime have been enacted and are contained in Division 160 of the ITAA 1997.
In the 2021/22 Federal Budget, the Government has announced that the loss carry-back measure will be extended to allow eligible companies (i.e., with aggregated turnover of less than $5 billion) to also carry back (utilise) tax losses from the 2023 income year to offset previously taxed profits as far back as the 2019 income year when they lodge their tax return for the 2023 income year.
Consistent with the current law, the tax refund available under this measure is limited by requiring that the amount carried back is not more than the earlier taxed profits and does not generate a franking account deficit. Companies that do not elect to carry back losses under this measure can still carry losses forward as normal.
The Government will provide $1.2 billion over six years from 2022 for the Digital Economy Strategy, to support Australia to be a leading digital economy and society by 2030. From an income tax, investment incentive perspective, the Digital Economy Strategy includes the following:
(a) The Government will allow taxpayers to self-assess the tax effective lives of eligible intangible depreciating assets, such as patents, registered designs, copyrights and in-house software. This measure will apply to assets acquired from 1 July 2023, after the temporary full expensing regime has concluded.
The tax effective lives of such assets are currently set by statute. Allowing taxpayers to self- assess the tax effective life of an asset will allow for a better alignment of tax outcomes with the underlying economic benefits provided by the asset. It will also align the tax treatment of these assets with that of most tangible assets.
Taxpayers will continue to have the option of applying the existing statutory effective life to depreciate these assets.
(b) The Government will provide $18.8 million over four years from 2022 for a Digital Games Tax Offset to provide a 30% refundable tax offset for qualifying Australian digital games expenditure ongoing from 1 July 2022, with the criteria and definition of qualifying expenditure to be determined through industry consultation.
(c) The Government will provide $200.1 million over two years from the 2022 income year to develop and transition government services to a new, enhanced myGov platform, providing a central place for Australians to find information and services online.
The Government has announced that it will allow small business entities (including individuals carrying on a business) with an aggregated turnover of less than $10 million per year to apply to the Small Business Taxation Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (the ‘Tribunal’) to pause or modify ATO debt recovery actions, such as garnishee notices and the recovery of general interest charge or related penalties, where the debt is being disputed in the Tribunal.
Currently, small businesses are only able to pause or modify ATO debt recovery actions through the court system, which can be costly and time consuming. It is expected that applying to the Tribunal instead of the courts will save small businesses at least several thousands of dollars in court and legal fees and as much as 60 days of waiting for a decision.
These new powers for the Tribunal will be available in respect of proceedings commenced on or after the date of Royal Assent of the enabling legislation.
The Government will provide an income tax exemption for qualifying grants made to primary producers and small businesses affected by the storms and floods in Australia.
Qualifying grants are Category D grants provided under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements 2018, where those grants relate to the storms and floods in Australia that occurred due to rainfall events between 19 February 2021 and 31 March 2021. These include small business recovery grants of up to $50,000 and primary producer recovery grants of up to $75,000. The grants will be made non-assessable non-exempt income for tax purposes.