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Federal Budget 2020: What it means for you and me

The Federal Treasurer, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, delivered the 2020 Federal Budget on 6 October 2020.

As widely anticipated, the announcement included bringing forward personal income tax cuts already legislated. Together, these changes deliver tax relief to low- and middle-income earners for the 2020-21 income year of up to $2,745 for individuals and up to $5,490 for dual income families.

The Treasurer also announced a range of taxation benefits for small and medium businesses, intended to stimulate the business sector leading to jobs growth.

The winners from the 2020 federal budget

Taxpayers: The government wants to backdate legislated personal income tax cuts to July 1, and will offer a one-off benefit from the low and middle income tax offset in 2020-21.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said low and middle income earners would receive relief of up to $2,745 for singles and up to $5490 for dual income families compared with 2017 – 18.

First home buyers: The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme is being extended for another 10,000 Australians who are buying an eligible new or newly built home.

They will only have to save a deposit of as little as five per cent under the scheme which is available to 30 June next year.

The manufacturing sector: A $1.3 billion initiative under the federal government’s manufacturing strategy will invest in projects across six priorities areas – food and drink, mining, medical products, recycling and clean energy, defence and space.

Age pensioners: After receiving $750 payments in April and July, age pensioners will get another $250 in December and March.

Young jobseekers: A new JobMaker hiring credit aims to encourage businesses to employ young Australians aged 16-35 on JobSeeker.

The credit will be paid at a rate of $200 a week for those aged under 30 and $100 a week for those between 30-35, with the new hires required to work at least 20 hours a week.

Women: A $240 million package will aim to boost women’s participation in the workforce and financial independence in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than $25 million of this funding will go towards new cadetships and apprenticeships in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Mental health: The number of Medicare-subsidised psychological sessions Australians can access per year will be doubled from 10 to 20, as an extra $148 million to be spent on mental health services this financial year. Money will also go toward 15 “enhanced mental health clinics”, as well as Beyond Blue, Lifeline, Kids Helpline and Headspace.

Universities: An additional $1 billion in research funding has been earmarked for the university sector in 2020-21, building on the previously announced almost $300 million to support more than 12,000 new undergraduate places.

The losers from the 2020 federal budget

Migrants with kids: Family visas will be capped at 77,300 places for the 2020-21 financial year, but that includes 72,300 in the partner visa category, meaning there are only 5,000 places for families with children.

Partner visa applications and their sponsors will now also need to pass an English language test in order to migrate to Australia.

Non-skilled migrants: Of new people coming into Australia once international borders reopen, the government estimates approximately two-thirds will be on skilled visas as they seek to attract the “best and brightest” migrants to aid in the country’s economic recovery.

Off-shore migrants: The government has also said they will prioritise onshore visa applicants who live in designated regional areas, or partner visa applicants whose sponsor lives outside of the major cities.

Asylum seekers: The Humanitarian visa program capped at 13,750 places. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has also committed to continuing Operation Sovereign Borders, which blocks asylum seekers who travel illegally to Australia by boat from permanently settling in the country. An additional $41.4 million in funding has been allocated to Australia’s Regional Cooperation Arrangement in Indonesia, which helps to enforce the policy.

The economy: With a record-breaking deficit of $213.7 billion, debt set to peak at $966 billion in June 2024, the first recession in almost 30 years, the lowest population growth in more than 100 years, and unemployment forecast to hit 8 per cent in December, Australia is facing a once-in-a-lifetime economic crisis.

This summary provides coverage of the key issues of most interest to you.


Personal income tax

Immediate personal tax relief for individuals

Exempting granny flat arrangements from capital gains tax

Business owners

Extension of the provision allowing small business to instantly write-off asset purchases

Temporary loss carry-back to support cash flow

Covid-19 response package – Victorian Government grants

JobMaker hiring credit


Superannuation reform

Social Security

Covid-19 response package – further economic support payments

Personal income tax

The Government will bring forward the second stage of its Personal Income Tax Plan by two years to 1 July 2020 while retaining the low and middle income tax offset (LAMITO) for 2020-21. The changes will provide immediate tax relief to individuals and support the economic recovery and jobs by boosting consumption.

Bringing forward the second stage of the Personal Income Tax Plan

The following changes have been announced:

The top threshold of the 19 per cent personal income tax bracket will increase from $37,000 to $45,000.

The low income tax offset (LITO) will increase from $445 to $700. The increased LITO will be withdrawn at a rate of 5 cents per dollar between taxable incomes of $37,500 and $45,000. The LITO will then be withdrawn at a rate of 1.5 cents per dollar between taxable incomes of $45,000 and $66,667.

The top threshold of the 32.5 per cent personal income tax bracket will increase from $90,000 to $120,000.

Taxable income

Stage 2:

Tax payable1 (residents)

Up to $18,200: Nil

$18,201 - $45,000: Nil + 19%

$45,001 - $120,000: $5,092 + 32.5%

120,001 - $180,000: $29,467 + 37%

Above $180,000: $51,667 + 45%

Supporting Older Australians — exempting granny flat arrangements from capital gains tax

The Government will provide a targeted capital gains tax (CGT) exemption for granny flat arrangements where there is a formal written agreement. The exemption will apply to arrangements with older Australians or those with a disability. The measure will have effect from the first income year after the date of Royal Assent of the enabling legislation.

CGT consequences are currently an impediment to the creation of formal and legally enforceable granny flat arrangements. When faced with a potentially significant CGT liability, families often opt for informal arrangements, which can lead to financial abuse and exploitation in the event that the family relationship breaks down. This measure will remove the CGT impediments, reducing the risk of abuse to vulnerable Australians.

1Plus Medicare levy.

Business owners

Temporary full expensing to support investment and jobs

The Government will support businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $5 billion by enabling them to deduct the full cost of eligible capital assets acquired from 7:30pm AEDT on 6 October 2020 (Budget night) and first used or installed by 30 June 2022. It will improve cash flow for qualifying businesses that purchase eligible assets and bring forward new investment to support the economic recovery.

Full expensing in the year of first use will apply to new depreciable assets and the cost of improvements to existing eligible assets. For small and medium sized businesses (with aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million), full expensing also applies to second-hand assets.

Temporary loss carry-back to support cash flow

The Government will allow eligible companies to carry back tax losses from the 2019-20, 2020-21 or 2021-22 income years to offset previously taxed profits in 2018-19 or later income years.

Corporate tax entities with an aggregated turnover of less than $5 billion can apply tax losses against taxed profits in a previous year, generating a refundable tax offset in the year in which the loss is made. The tax refund would be limited by requiring that the amount carried back is not more than the earlier taxed profits and that the carry back does not generate a franking account deficit. The tax refund will be available on election by eligible businesses when they lodge their 2020-21 and 2021-22 tax returns.

Currently, companies are required to carry losses forward to offset profits in future years. Companies that do not elect to carry back losses under this measure can still carry losses forward as normal.

COVID-19 Response Package — making Victoria’s business support grants non-assessable, non-exempt income for tax purposes

The Government will make the Victorian Government’s business support grants for small and medium business as announced on 13 September 2020 non-assessable, non-exempt (NANE) income for tax purposes.

State-based grants such as the Business Support Grants are generally considered taxable income by the Commonwealth. Given COVID-19 and the exceptional circumstances Victorian businesses face, providing this additional concessional treatment will assist in their recovery.

The Commonwealth will extend this arrangement to all States and Territories on an application basis. Eligibility would be restricted to future grants program announcements for small and medium businesses facing similar circumstances to Victorian businesses.

The Government will introduce a new power in the income tax laws to make regulations to ensure that specified state and territory COVID-19 business support grant payments are NANE income.

Eligibility for this treatment will be limited to grants announced on or after 13 September 2020 and for payments made between 13 September 2020 and 30 June 2021.

JobMaker Hiring Credit

The Government will provide $4.0 billion over three years from 2020-21 to accelerate employment growth by supporting organisations to take on additional employees through a hiring credit. The JobMaker Hiring Credit will be available to eligible employers over 12 months from 7 October 2020 for each additional new job they create for an eligible employee.

Eligible employers who can demonstrate that the new employee will increase overall employee headcount and payroll will receive $200 per week if they hire an eligible employee aged 16 to 29 years or $100 per week if they hire an eligible employee aged 30 to 35 years. The JobMaker Hiring Credit will be available for up to 12 months from the date of employment of the eligible employee with a maximum amount of $10,400 per additional new position created.

To be eligible, the employee will need to have worked for a minimum of 20 hours per week, averaged over a quarter, and received the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance (other) or Parenting Payment for at least one month out of the three months prior to when they are hired.


Superannuation Reform

The Government will provide $159.6 million over four years from 2020-21 to implement reforms to superannuation to improve outcomes for superannuation fund members. The reforms, which will reduce the number of duplicate accounts held by employees as a result of changes in employment and prevent new members joining underperforming funds, include:

the Australian Taxation Office will develop systems so that new employees will be able to select a superannuation product from a table of MySuper products through the YourSuper portal an existing superannuation account will be ‘stapled’ to a member to avoid the creation of a new account when that person changes their employment. Future enhancements will enable payroll software developers to build systems to simplify the process of selecting a superannuation product for both employees and employers through automated provision of information to employers from July 2021 the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority will conduct benchmarking tests on the net investment performance of MySuper products, with products that have underperformed over two consecutive annual tests prohibited from receiving new members until a further annual test that shows they are no longer underperforming.

Social security

COVID-19 Response Package — further economic support payments

The Government will provide $2.6 billion over three years from 2020-21 to provide two separate $250 economic support payments, to be made from November 2020 and early 2021 to eligible recipients and health care card holders. These payments are exempt from taxation and will not count as income support for the purposes of any income support payment.

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