Pulse Alert – News Pulse for April 4, 2019

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Open banking push on track

There were predictable howls of protest from the fintech community late last year when the federal Treasury pushed back the deadline for the introduction of some important open banking initiatives by eight months.

Despite the setback, a key member of the Federal Government’s open banking advisory committee will tell the world’s leading fintech conference in Singapore on Wednesday that Australia remains at the forefront of countries determined to disrupt incumbent banks’ stranglehold on data.

Budget pledges more investment into tax avoidance taskforce

The Federal Government has decided to extend the funding for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO Australian Taxation Office) Tax Avoidance Taskforce.

With a focus on multinationals, the Government will provide $1 billion over four years from 2019-20, including $6.5 million in capital funding, to the ATO Australian Taxation Office to extend the operation of the Tax Avoidance Taskforce and to expand the Taskforce’s programs and market coverage.

Budget 2019: What’s in it for SMEs?

The federal government has handed down its pre-election budget, with plenty of measures designed to lure swinging voters. Here’s a breakdown of what’s in it for small and medium-sized businesses.

In his first budget since becoming Treasurer in August last year, Josh FrydenbergThe Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Federal Member for Kooyong Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia from 21.9.15 (pictured) opened his budget speech by stating that “for the first time in 12 years, our nation is again paying its own way”.

Multinational tax crackdown popular with voters

Tax advisers said the budget’s exemption of small business from any extra Tax Office scrutiny would be popular with voters, and help a government that “needs as many votes as they can get”.

Tuesday’s federal budget included a $1 billion crackdown on tax avoidance by multinational groups, wealthy families, private groups and trusts, which aims to raise a net $3.6 billion.

Budget a ‘stunning lost opportunity’ says Bill Ferris

The budget was a “stunning lost opportunity” to drive innovation, said Bill Ferris, the veteran venture capitalist charged by former leader Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15 with running the Coaliton government’s now abandoned National Innovation Agenda in 2015.

The Morrison government’s pre-election budget omitted any mention of innovation and squeezed another $1.35 billion from the R&D tax incentive program over the four year budget window via administrative tightening.

CEO of MYOB commends budget as long as action is taken

We like what we see, but turn words into action to benefit small business

MYOB commends the Federal Government for returning the budget to surplus and for highlighting the importance of small business to the economy.

MYOB particularly welcomes increasing the instant asset write-off to $30,000 and raising the threshold to $50 million.

Small business wants $30,000 tax break made permanent

Small businesses and their advisers said the $30,000 tax write-off, which Treasurer Josh FrydenbergThe Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Federal Member for Kooyong Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia from 21.9.15 hopes will be spent on “fridges, grills and vans” should be made permanent.

Mr Frydenberg used Tuesday’s budget to increase the immediate deduction for plant and equipment costing up to $30,000, up from $25,000, for businesses with sales up to $50 million, instead of $10 million.

Small business crucial to budget

As we head into the budget with a focus on tackling big problems like low wages growth and a sluggish economy, it’s vital to consider the impact that small businesses have on the nation’s productivity and growth. After all, the small business sector is the true engine of the economy, with more than 2.2 million businesses making up 99.8 per cent of businesses and employing more than 68 per cent of Australians, or 10.9 million people.

Even small, seemingly insignificant changes to the adoption of technology translate into major productivity levers for the Australian economy.

‘Mean-spirited’: Start-ups slam budget cuts to R&D

Technology leaders said the federal government’s $4 billion cut to the research and development tax break , over the last two budgets, was shortsighted and would force start-ups offshore.

Chief executive of online jobs marketplace Freelancer Matt Barrie said the budget, which cut tax breaks for innovation but added a $500 million fund for car parks , was about “buying more votes for the election”.

Startups wanted more: SMEs welcome budget tax relief but say innovation support is lacking

Treasurer Josh FrydenbergThe Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Federal Member for Kooyong Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia from 21.9.15’s pre-election tax pitch has been welcomed by small business, but with a cash splash taking priority, startups say innovation has taken a back seat.

The coalition revealed last night it will head into the 2019 federal election promising small business an increase in the instant asset write-off cap from the legislated $20,000 to $30,000.

Proposals to reduce costs of employee share scheme for small businesses | The Hon Stuart Robert MP

The Morrison Government has today released a consultation paper on proposed reforms to encourage small businesses to offer employee share schemes to help them attract, retain employees and grow their businesses.

The proposals in the consultation paper will make it more attractive for businesses to offer an employee share scheme by simplifying, consolidating and expanding the current regulatory framework, and reducing the time and cost burden for businesses offering employee share schemes.

‘Disappointed’: Key MYOB shareholder gives in to KKR’s takeover bid

Accounting software firm MYOB Group’s second-biggest shareholder has reluctantly agreed to vote in favour of US private-equity firm KKR’s $1.6 billion takeover bid but has declared it is “very disappointed” about the situation.

Manikay Partners owns 16 per cent of the small business accounting firm and had previously told management it believed a takeover offer at $3.40 a share was undervaluing the operation.

Small business is ‘clear battleground’ for election: Michaelia Cash

The Morrison government plans to use the instant asset write-off announced in Tuesday’s federal budget as its sales pitch for votes from small business owners.

Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash said the Coalition sees the sector as a “clear battleground” in the upcoming election, which is expected to be called on Friday.

StartupAUS chief describes Budget as a ‘missed opportunity’

The head of Australia’s national start-up advocacCommunications Access Co-ordinatory group has described Tuesday’s Federal Budget as a “missed opportunity” to provide strategic vision on the role that technology will play in Australia’s economy.

StartupAUS chief executive Alex McCauley said in a statement that the provision of $60 million over three years for the Export Market Development Grant was welcome.

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