Close to 40% of small and medium-sized businesses believe next month’s federal budget will not include measures beneficial to their business, according to research published this week.
A study by accounting network Bentleys found 39% of Aussie SMEs believe Malcolm Turnbull’s first budget will not include small-business sweeteners applicable to their business.
In contrast, 23% of the 350 small and medium businesses surveyed across the country thought this year’s budget would be beneficial to them.
Medium businesses are more likely to be optimistic about the upcoming budget than their small and micro counterparts, according to the study, along with businesses based in cities.
The overwhelming majority of the SMEs surveyed said they want government to get out of the way of their day-to-day operations, with simplified compliance and reporting processes at the top of most budget wish lists (64%).
In addition, 58% of SMEs want a cut to the corporate tax rate, while the same number want to see an extension for the $20,000 instant asset write-off scheme, which was announced in last year’s budget.
Fifty-seven percent of businesses, meanwhile, want more incentives to innovate.
Interestingly, government subsidies for employing people who are aged 50 and older also ranked highly on people’s budget wish lists, with 53% of SMEs nominating this as an important policy.
Dean Steer, tax partner for Bentleys, said in a statement it’s understandable SMEs are uncertain about whether there will be beneficial policies in the 2016 budget given there has been a “lack of clarity” from the Turnbull government.
The Turnbull government has previously floated increasing the GST, cutting company tax, and allowing the states to levy income tax, but has since backed down on these measures.
“The fact that the majority of SMEs don’t believe the budget will contain beneficial measures for their business … is worrying,” Steer said.
“It raises questions about the SME community’s confidence in the support they will get from government.”
Small businesses want modest tax changes and for the instant asset write-off to stay
Matt Nash, founder of Melbourne construction business Prestige Surfaces, told SmartCompany this morning he is hoping for “sensible” tax changes in the May budget.
Nash, who founded his business in 2010 and employees seven people, also hopes any increases to superannuation for employees are modest, so as to strike the balance between workers being more prepared for retirement while not hitting his business’s bottom line too hard.
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“Also, it’d be good if money is spent on infrastructure for better roads,” Nash says.
“Melbourne’s a really good state in terms of getting from one place to another, but there’s always room for improvement. As a services-based business, I want to make sure my guys are in traffic for as little time as possible.”
Nash recently used the government’s instant asset write-off scheme to claim the purchase of a new van and says he’d love for this policy to be extended beyond next financial year if possible.
“Hopefully it does stick around,” he says.