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Australia: Boosting cash-flow for employers; instant asset write-offs (COVID-19)

Australia: Boosting cash-flow for employers

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) made announcements concerning certain tax relief measures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


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  • Employers that filed (lodged) their 2018-19 income tax return of activity statement prior to 12 March 2020, do not need to apply for the “cash-flow boost” that was enacted this week. The ATO issued a statement that cash-flow boosts will be automatically credited, but upcoming activity statements also need to be filed. For a business to be eligible, it must employ staff; have held an ABN on 12 March 2020 and continue to be active; had an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million* (generally based on prior year turnover); and made eligible payments for which it is required to withhold from (even if the amount withheld is zero).

  • Businesses can claim an immediate deduction (business-portion only) for multiple assets, new or second-hand, provided each asset costs less than $150,000. From 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, the instant asset write-off threshold amount is $150,000 (up from $30,000); and eligibility has been expanded to businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million).

  • The “backing business investment” initiative allows eligible businesses to accelerate their depreciation deductions on the purchase of certain new depreciating assets. A business is eligible for accelerated depreciation when the business has an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million; the asset is a new depreciating asset acquired and first used, or installed ready for a business use, from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2021; and the business did not already apply other depreciation deductions or the instant asset write-off.

$ = Australian dollar

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