Last weeks Federal Budget announcements contained some important implications for the Digital Industry. The Digital Mantra blog outlines some of these here:
The 2015 budget proposes a reduction in tax rate by 1.5% for small businesses (<$2mn) and an immediate tax write-off for individual assets that cost less than $20,000 apiece. This will provide a fillip to small businesses that increasingly turn to digital for visibility and automation. Tech start-ups that are a sub-set of the small business community may also benefit through these incentives.
The budget attempts to deter families (via penalties) from accessing both government and employer parental incentives adding to the burden of families already struggling with childcare costs. More needs to be done to facilitate the re-entry of highly experienced digital women back into the workplace. An industry synonymous with long hours and that already struggles with high churn rates and a shortage of talent must work with the larger business community to find work-family life balance solutions.
Eligible start-ups can now offer employees share options that will be taxable only at sale. Start-ups can now use this as a sweetener to attract talent and also as a motivator to retain existing employees.
Changes to tax laws mean anyone on a working holiday visa will now have to pay tax from their first dollar earned, rather than their first $18,200 of earnings being tax-free. Many overseas digital specialists are usually on these visas when they first join Australian companies, a situation that works well for both parties. Local companies can fill vacant roles quickly and the candidates get to audition their skills in the hope of getting a permanent work sponsorship before their working holiday visa runs out.
New tax initiatives for startups were announced, specifically around crowdfunding. $7.8 million over four years will be spent getting the Australian Securities and Investments commission to work up and implement a new regulatory framework for crowdfunding money raised by startups. This is a step in the right direction and will hopefully offer a simplified yet more varied funding landscape for start-ups.
The above piece is of a general nature only reflecting the personal opinion of the author and must not be construed as professional financial or tax advice.