What the 2017 Federal Budget Means for Your Small Business Dream

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Here's what's good.

A portable cake stand manned by a woman

Bleary-eyed from an exciting evening packed with late-night budget crunching? Yeah, we didn’t think so. While you may not have been all that keen to stay awake into the early hours of this morning to gauge just where the money is headed next financial year, you’re likely very interested in how this year’s federal budget will affect your job and your small business aspirations.

Not into numbers? We’ve done the maths for you.

What does the 2017 Federal budget actually mean for my small business?

Considering the government made a point of saying they’ll be “backing” small business, you’d hope there’d be a little something under the tree for small business owners. And there was: most notably, small businesses will enjoy an extension to the much-appreciated instant asset tax write-off scheme. Here’s how it works: businesses with an annual turnover of up to $10 million (the threshold was $2 million at the previous budget) will now have until June 30, 2018, to immediately deduct eligible assets up to the value of $20,000. What classifies as an eligible asset? Things like equipment, software and vehicles that help you run your business. So, if you’ve had that $6,000 toaster on your wish list (and you know we have, Kelly O’Dwyer!), now’s the time to grab it.

I’ve heard rumbles about reducing red tape for SMBs – where do we stand on this?

The rumbles are $300 million strong in this budget. Over the next two years, the Government will be pumping these funds into developing ways for individual States to chip in and ease the regulatory burdens of federal bureaucracy. Meaning? Well, as an example, current local council restrictions mean that a café takes up to 18 months to get going – any reduction in that time would be welcome for those keen to bring coffee to the masses.

The idea is to cut “red tape” for small business owners in order for them to spend less time filling out forms, and more time working on their business. (No details for exactly how that $300 million will cut down on time, but, hey, it’s a start, right?)

Any particular focus on startups in this year’s budget?

Well, sort of. One thing of note is that equity crowdfunding will now extend to private companies, not just unlisted public companies, as previously. $4.5 million of the budget has been allocated to help “implement and monitor” this addition.

While there’s some boost for advanced manufacturing and research sectors (more than $100 million in additional funding, to be exact), and a bit of buzz from fintech startups thanks to the elimination of double taxation for digital currencies like Bitcoin, there hasn’t quite been the momentum for startup innovation entrepreneurs we were hoping for.

“[This] budget lacks investment into future,” Tony Wu of WePloy explains. “Tech is the future. If you neglect that, you’re not motivating people to innovate.

“If we want to create businesses of global scale, global reach and solve global problems, we need to create much stronger policies to support this. This budget shows how much tech is talked about but not properly backed up. We need more action, and action means cash.”

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