Politics

Budget 2015: Greens back small business tax cut if loss carry-back and instant asset write-offs are reinstated

Eloise Keating /

The Australian Greens will support Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s proposed small business tax cut if the Coalition also reinstates two small business measures it scrapped when it did away with the mining tax.

Launching the Greens’ small business package today, Greens Senator and small business spokesperson Peter Whish-Wilson says his party will “provide the pathway through the Senate” if the federal government will use next month’s budget to “undo” the damage it did to small businesses by scrapping the loss carry-back scheme and slashing the instant asset write-off in 2014.

Whish-Wilson, who worked as an economist before entering politics and owns the Three Wishes winery in Tasmania, said along with a 2% tax cut for small businesses, the Greens want the government to re-introduce an instant asset write-off scheme with an increased threshold of $10,000 and restore the loss carry-back scheme that allowed companies to carry-back up to $300,000 as a refundable tax offset for up to two years.

Describing the party’s “three-pronged approach to helping small businesses in Australia”, Whish-Wilson said in a statement issued to SmartCompany, the Greens are asking the government to go further to help SMEs.

“When the Abbott government axed the mining tax, they also brought down an axe upon small business by removing provisions that supported them,” Whish-Wilson says.

“If the government is looking to use the upcoming budget to undo this damage to small business, then the Greens could provide the pathway through the Senate to pass a comprehensive package of support.”

Ultimately, the Greens want to see the Abbott government “shift the burden from small business to big business”, said Greens leader Christine Milne in the same statement.

“The Greens are open to a two-tiered company tax system if the Abbott government is willing to help shift the burden from small business to big business,” Milne said.

“We have to shift the burden and raise revenue from those who can afford it – the big end of town.”

“If the Abbott government wasn’t to shift the tax burden from small business to big business, the Greens are open to it as part of a comprehensive package.”

The Greens proposed tax cut of 2% would apply to companies with turnover of under $2 million and would encourage more Australians to enter into the small business sector.

But as it stands, the benefit may not be substantial for companies with turnover above that amount, while those that are not incorporated would not necessarily benefit at all.

However, Small Business Minister Bruce Billson has previously said the government plans to make sure all small businesses, including those that are not incorporated, will benefit from a company tax cut of at least 1.5%.

Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, told SmartCompany he supports the push to reinstate both the loss carry-back scheme and instant asset write-off.

In fact, given the federal government chose to back-date the removal of both measures following the repeal of the mining tax, Strong says the government should also “back-date the reinstatement”.

And while Strong admits he is somewhat surprised to see the Greens launch a dedicated small business package, he says he is not surprised to see it come from Whish-Wilson.

“Peter Whish-Wilson is the one who gets business and small business,” Strong says.

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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