Federal Budget

Federal Budget 2023–24: Cost of living measures welcome, light on tax measures

SYDNEY, 9 May 2023: The Tax Institute welcomes the cost-of-living relief provided in the Federal Budget announced tonight and says the next priority must be ensuring the tax system is robust to secure economic stability in the future.

Scott Treatt, General Manager of Tax Policy and Advocacy at The Tax Institute, says, ‘As expected, the Federal Budget was largely concerned with relieving cost-of-living pressures. This will surely be welcomed by many families and people who may be in a vulnerable financial position.’ be

‘It’s encouraging to see tax measures aimed at supporting small businesses, including an increase in the instant asset write-off threshold and a reduction of the GDP adjustment rate to 6%. The Small Business Energy Incentive is also a welcome measure.'

In recent months, the conversation around the need for meaningful tax reform has gained momentum, so the lack of substantial tax measures in the Budget falls flat.

‘It’s not unexpected that tax has taken a backseat in this Federal Budget and the tax measures that were announced are light on detail – as they traditionally are. However, the near future provides the platform for mature discussions on tax reform. The Treasurer acknowledged that ‘there are genuine structural challenges facing us into the future’. Economic progress won’t be sustainable without substantial tax reform,’ says Scott.

‘Our next priority should be action toward systemic fairness and efficiency in the systems that underpin our economy and, in particular, in our tax and superannuation systems. Only when our systems work at their best can we be confident in growing and supporting our economy.’

Tax measures announced in the Budget included:

  • A temporary increase in the instant asset write-off threshold to $20,000, from 1 July 2023 until 30 June 2024 (without this change, the threshold would have reverted to the standard legislated threshold of $1,000 from 1 July 2023).
  • A proposed amendment to the law to set the GDP adjustment factor for pay as you go (PAYG) and GST instalments at 6% for the 2023–24 income year (rather than the legislated 12%)
  • An annual increase in the Medicare levy low-income thresholds for singles, families and seniors and pensioners from 1 July 2022. Also, eligible lump sum payments in arrears will be exempted from the Medicare levy from 1 July 2024.
  • ATO funding will be provided over 4 years from 1 July 2023 to enable more effective engagement with businesses to address the growth of tax and superannuation liabilities.
  • A lodgment penalty amnesty program for small businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $10 million. The amnesty will remit failure-to-lodge penalties for outstanding tax statements lodged in the period from 1 June 2023 to 31 December 2023 that were originally due during the period from 1 December 2019 to 29 February 2022.

‘The tax system underpins our economy. If we want to ensure financial stability for our children and for future generations, it’s important we get it right now,’ says Scott.

‘To sustainably support a growing Australia and ensure we can all live comfortably, it’s so vital that our tax system functions efficiently and fairly. We’re pleased to see a pickup in public awareness of the need for tax reform and that our political leaders are starting to pay attention – now it’s up to government to determine what concrete actions we can take to improve the system for all taxpayers.’

The Tax Institute will hold two webinars on Wednesday 10 May and Tuesday 11 May for its members, further analysing the tax and superannuation measures announced in the Federal Budget. More information can be found here.

Scott Treatt, along with The Tax Institute’s Senior Advocate, Robyn Jacobson, and Senior Tax Counsel, Julie Abdalla, are available for expert commentary on the tax measures announced in the Budget and their impact.

  • Federal Budget

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