The federal budget has been described by commentators as containing few surprises.

Some of the key takeaways for business include:

  • tax relief for individuals – this is intended to be delivered in three stages over seven years - with immediate relief to low and middle income earners, measures to protect against "bracket creep" and steps taken to make personal taxes "simpler" and "flatter"
  • tax relief for businesses - the Government is legislating tax cuts for all businesses, prioritising small to medium businesses
  • superannuation – new rules will be implemented to limit fees charged and to restrict the provision of services that are not required
  • incentives will be available for businesses - the Government will overhaul research and development tax incentives. The Government will target incentives to promote research, development and new technology. Importantly, the Government has extended the current $20,000 instant asset write-off. Further export support has been announced focused on agriculture and defence
  • investment in infrastructure will continue - the Government has outlined a commitment to delivering transport infrastructure, innovation and science research infrastructure and supercomputing capacities, all of which are intended to support industries and jobs
  • significant funding will be made for hospitals and schools and guaranteed funding will be committed for disability services. Funding will also be channelled to a "21st century Medical Industry Growth Plan" intended to support Australia as a global health industry leader in medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals
  • border security (including at airports) and biosecurity will be funded. Government borrowings are intended to continue to fund critical infrastructure and defence spending
  • businesses will need to deal with a new "consumer data right" which has been mentioned. This right is intended to "revolutionise the provision of data services in Australia by giving Australians the ability to take control of their personal data and share it safely with trusted and accredited service providers." This follows the lead of changes to data laws in the European Union
  • multiple tax integrity measures are to be introduced including:
    • the extension of anti-avoidance rules for circular trust distributions to family trusts
    • tightening access to concessional tax rates for minors receiving income from testamentary trusts
    • removing small business CGT concessions for the assignment of partnership rights
    • amending the thin capitalisation rules to ensure that inbound investors cannot access tests that are only intended for outbound investors.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.