FARMERS STRUGGLING: Pursehouse Rural manager Ben Ree said tax breaks in the Federal Budget won't help his business much. The drought hit his customers hard and most farmers are not paying tax, so they cannot claim a concession.
FARMERS STRUGGLING: Pursehouse Rural manager Ben Ree said tax breaks in the Federal Budget won't help his business much. The drought hit his customers hard and most farmers are not paying tax, so they cannot claim a concession. Michael Nolan

Tax breaks bring no relief to those doing it hardest

THERE is not a lot for Southern Downs businesses to get excited about in the Federal Budget, with most economic sweeteners delayed until 2024.

Warwick Chamber of Commerce treasurer Jane Pollard said it is a very boring document.

"Bigger picture, the government is trying to transform the $4.2billion deficit into a $7.1billion surplus,” she said.

"That's why it is so conservative.”

She said the only benefit for businesses is in changes to the immediate tax discount for eligible assets.

Business with an annual turnover up to $50 million can claim the full cost of purchases to $30,000, up from $20,000.

"More assets qualify and that would probably support the car sellers and the agribusinesses that sell large harvesting equipment and farm supplies,” she said.

However, the scheme has drawbacks.

Mrs Pollard said businesses and farmers lose claims on long-term asset depreciation and it could push some to take on unnecessary debt, as they rush to claim the deduction.

"It is only a good thing for people trying to save tax this year,” she said.

With the drought dragging down the local economy there are doubts the tax break will be claimed by many individuals.

Farmers can get it - but Pursehouse Rural manager Ben Ree said most of his customers do not need a tax break because they are not paying much tax.

"The government is doing it to get brownie points and get some more spending going, but I don't think the money is there to spend,” he said.

”I've spoken to farmers that have never spent so much money and got into so much debt to feed cattle.

"They are quite wary of spending non-essential money to get a tax break.”

There are real concerns about changes to electronic payroll reporting that start on July 1.

They force employers to report payroll and superannuation contributions each time they pay an employee.

Mrs Pollard said this will burden small and family owned businesses.

"There is more pressure and more red tape,” she said.

"It is creating a massive database of who is getting paid what.

"It is Big Brother to the extreme but it creates more complexities that have to be planned for whereas we used to be able to fix up (payroll differences) at the end of the year.”



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