Fringe Benefits Tax on all portable devices used for work abolished

Kye White /

Startups and small businesses that supply their employees with portable devices like laptop and tablets will no longer need to pay Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) on either device.

Previously, businesses may have been unable to obtain a FBT exemption on such devices because a laptop and a tablet could be considered to have “substantially identical functions”. So a startup that supplied an employee with an Apple Mac and an iPad would need to pay Fringe Benefits Tax on one of those two devices.

The exemption will apply from April 1 2016 to small businesses and startups with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $2 million that provide employees with more than one qualifying work-related portable electronic device, where the devices have similar functions.

According to budget papers, the measure is expected to have a small but unquantifiable impact on the budget. The measure is a small part of the government’s $5.5 billion Growing Jobs and Small Business package.

In a joint statement detailing the package, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson said the changes to the FBT will help “reduce the red tape and regulatory impediments that hinder small business growth. It’s also intended to help small business employees stay connected in the digital economy”.

In his budget speech, Treasurer Joe Hockey said the policy is “just common sense in the digital age”.

Kye White

Kye began his career at a Fairfax daily on the North-West Coast of Tasmania. He has since taken his belongings, and keen interest in technology, to Melbourne. He has a bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science from the University of Tasmania and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from RMIT University.

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