Five things SMEs would love to see in the budget and what they are likely to get

Tomorrow morning, the SmartCompany team is flying up to Canberra to cover the budget for you as it happens.

We’ll be in the “budget lock up” where all journalists are locked in rooms underneath Parliament House for a few hours to get our hands on the budget papers to analyse them and write about them before they are released to the nation.

Yes, this is voluntary and, yes, they do confiscate all mobile phones and block all internet reception.

As always, there’s a big list of items that small to medium businesses would love to see from this year’s budget.

Here’s the top five:

1. Company tax cut

Number one on the wish list has to be the company tax cut which was promised by the government last year and then abandoned.

A company tax cut would encourage businesses and spur growth onward, but given the lack of money in this year’s budget there’s little hope of this happening.

2. Less red tape

According to a survey of small businesses last week, 40% of businesses are hoping for a reduction in government red tape.

The government knows this is a key concern for all businesses, and almost without fail every year, the government promises to cut red tape.

It then creates more red tape to replace the red tape which has been cut. Not quite what business is hoping for.

3. Reduce the low value threshold

Retailers are desperate for a reduction in the low value threshold (LVT) to enable them to compete more easily with overseas retailers.

Currently, the LVT sits at $1000 and retailers would like to see a reduction in this to as little as $50, but the government has already made it clear it has no plans to change the threshold.

4. Relaxed import and export restrictions

On the subject of importing, small businesses would love to see some relaxing of import and export restrictions in the budget to help them expand into overseas markets.

Peter Strong, the executive director of the Council of Small Business, told SmartCompany this morning “we would like some help for small business to get into Asia”.

5. Get rid of the carbon tax

While the impact of the carbon tax has not been as bad as many businesses feared, it’s still not a popular tax with SMEs and many would love to see it abolished.

As the government’s flagship policy, there’s no chance this will happen in the budget but Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is still promising that he will get rid of the tax if elected in September.

What small business is likely to get

While small business may have a wish list, the reality is there is likely to be little or nothing for small business in tomorrow’s budget.

There’s simply no money for handouts and no budget surplus in sight.

It looks like the main promise Treasurer Wayne Swan will be able to make to small business is that conditions will be as favourable as possible for some more rate cuts following the Reserve Bank’s cut last week.

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