Australian Federal Budget: What You May Have Missed

The smaller items in a Federal Budget provide an indication of the changing landscape and dynamics within our economy and society. With so much chatter and commentary about the headlines in the Australian Federal Budget, this week’s blog further unpacks the under-the-radar line items.

Here’s some of the things you might have missed, but provide an insight into the government’s agenda, society’s values and our decision making. 

Australian Federal Budget

Lease Cost Reimbursements

Federal parliamentarians in the lower house whose electorates cover more than 25,000 square kilometres will have the ability to claim lease and operating expense reimbursements – a value projected in the budget to amount to $2.2mn over 5 years and is capped at $20,000 a year per representative.

 

ATO Superannuation Crackdown

The ATO has been provided with funding to identify forgotten ‘nest eggs’. Specifically, fees on super funds with balances under $6,000 will be capped at 3% to assist in consolidating funds into active superannuation accounts. In addition, funds will no longer be permitted to force life insurance payments for those under 25 with low balances, and exit fees on those accounts will be banned.

 

Banking and Financial Sector

As if it couldn’t get any more spotlight, the sector on everyone’s lips was hit with the news that the major bank levy recently imposed will continue – which includes the heightened focus on the accountability regime along with the penalties and enforcement against misconduct in the sector.

 

Digitisation

With the rise in digital business in Australia, a discussion paper will be funded that explores options for taking the emergence of the industry in Australia.

 

ATO Tax Evasion Mechanisms 

The ATO will receive another boost, this time funding toward ‘mobile strike teams’ to target Australian’s who are withholding on transactions and therefore avoiding tax obligations. The use of a community hotline and specialised auditors is forecasted to bring in an additional $3bn over the next four years.

 

The Local Spotlight

$140 million over four years has been allocated support the film industry through an initiative labelled the ‘Location Incentive Funding Program’, aimed at attracting international investment and supporting local jobs.

 

Spreading our Wings

In recognition of the vital importance that our proximity to Asia is to Australia’s economic and social development – the budget promised $6mn over four years to ‘expand engagement’ into the Indo-Pacific region. In the same light, the budget also contained a $19.2mn pledge over four years to open new government infrastructure in India and Tuvalu.

 

Call to action

Many of the themes in this article came from Episode 56 of the From The Trenches podcast series presented by Paul Meissner and David Boyer. Paul & David are passionate CA's who care deeply about the accounting industry.

Paul quit his accounting day job seven years ago and now owns and runs the Melbourne-based firm, 5ways Group Chartered Accountants, and his online Freedom Accounting System firm which allows him to travel and work from anywhere.

For the last 4 years, David has worked as a Virtual CFO. At the start of 2016 he co-founded the Virtual CFO Association and in December 2016 his company, Sequel VCFO began franchising to mobilise the experienced work force of accountants in industry and bring their expertise to SMEs.

Together with their impressive list of guest presenters, Paul and David are the brave souls needed to fight through the noise and give accountants in practice the support and information they deserve.

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