2013/14 Budget Review

Small businesses have come through the Labor Government’s latest budget unscathed, escaping the cuts that fell on big business.

However, the government’s crackdown on tax loopholes used by bigger business, including thin capitalisation rules and practices relating to ‘dividend washing’, will have an impact throughout the country.

“The government has targeted a series of reforms at perceived loopholes that are supposedly being widely exploited by multinational and other large corporations,” said Stephen O’Flynn, head of tax at Moore Stephens Melbourne.

“The government has largely spared small business from revenue raising measures contained in this year’s budget.”

Despite this, the government’s cutting of the baby bonus and delaying of tax cuts related to the carbon tax mean that there’s not much for retailers to look forward to.

“You can’t avoid the economic fact that taking money out of consumers’ pockets means they’ll be spending less in store,” says Simon Trivett, national retail industry leader at Grant Thornton Australia.

“The theme of driving productivity within the economy continued with no changes to the current GST threshold for goods purchased online and important, despite consistent lobbying from retailers.”

It’s not all gloomy for business, with the government also announcing an additional $21.4 million in funding to the Fair Work Commission.

This will allow Fair Work to implement the Government’s plans to ensure workers have a quick way to resolve and prevent bullying at work.

“The government’s investment in addressing bullying complaints quickly and effectively through the Fair Work Commission is a step in the right direction in addressing the impact of bullying on productivity, but more needs to done,” says Scott Hartley, public sector lead at Grant Thornton Australia.

“The risk is that the process for resolution of complaints via the Commission becomes overly onerous and costly for the employer, the right balance between regulatory burden and productivity improvements needs to be achieved,” says Hartley.

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