If small Australian businesses were expecting a tax cut, they will most certainly have been disappointed, given the outcome of the 2013–14 budget released by Treasurer Wayne Swan on 14 May.
The latest budget has really focused on reforms that affect individuals, as well as tax hits on large multinational companies; leaving small businesses virtually unchanged. Below are a few changes that may impact your small business depending on the industry you work in.
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Small business owners will also have potential to access $7.2 million worth of funding over three years to improve the capacity of their companies to engage in the digital economy and take advantage of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
Changes to the 457 visa
If you employ workers holding a 457 visa, be certain they are working in their nominated occupations and are receiving market rates of pay. The budget has set aside $3.4 million over four years to allow the Fair Work Ombudsman to monitor and enforce the compliance with the tighter 457 visa conditions introduced by the Gillard Government. As of 1 July, 2013, anyone wishing to apply for a 457 visa will be charged $900.
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Regional funding for apprentices
Businesses looking for apprentices and Australians looking for work in regional areas will benefit from $19.2 billion from the Australian government to better link job seekers with employers.
- $3.5 million has been set aside to help job seekers, before 30 June, 2014, relocate and take up employment and apprenticeship opportunities in industries and regions facing significant skills shortages.
- The government is also giving $15.7 million for 10 additional jobs and skills expos and to support 20 local employment co-ordinators until 30 June next year.
The government is also investing $378.6 million to encourage private sector investment in entrepreneurial SMEs. To stimulate investment, the government will:
- improve tax arrangements to encourage investors to support Australian businesses
- launch a new program to assist SMEs bid for public sector work
- provide $350 million for a new round of the Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) program to stimulate venture capital investment
- promote success stories in the Australian innovation system.
Overall, there aren’t many changes that will benefit small businesses in the 2013–14 budget.
What are your thoughts on this budget, and what it means for your business?