A key part of the government’s economic response to the coronavirus is to support business investment and cashflow by increasing the instant asset write off threshold and eligibility rules.
Claiming an immediate deduction
Put simply, the IAW provisions allow your business to claim an immediate tax deduction for the full cost of a business asset you buy. Normal depreciation requires you to deduct the cost against your business profits over several tax years.
Under the new rules, you can claim a tax deduction in the same financial year you purchase new or second-hand plant and equipment costing under $150,000.
The IAW is not a cash refund. You don’t get the amount you spend back from the ATO, but instead get the advantage of bringing forward a tax deduction you would normally receive over several tax years.
A simple example is a plumber who buys a new $16,000 trailer for his company. Using the IAW he can claim an immediate tax deduction of $16,000, which in turn reduces his business profit so he pays less tax.
Rules for the IAW
Each asset must be under the threshold, but there’s no limit to the total amount your business can claim.
If your business is registered for GST, the IAW threshold excludes GST. Otherwise, the threshold includes GST.
From 12 March 2020, businesses with an aggregate turnover of up to $500 million are eligible for the IAW, up from $50 million previously.
Eligible assets for the IAW
What you can purchase ranges from furniture through to computers and IT equipment, that may be required to enable staff to work remotely.
Industry specific kit such as new tools for tradies, or POS devices and security systems for a retail store also meet the rules.
Although the IAW is generous, assets such as horticultural plants and in house software are ineligible.
Watch out for the traps
To claim the deduction, your new asset must be fully installed and ready for use before the end of the financial year in which you lodge your claim.
If you are a sole trader, you also need to apportion any private use. For example, if you purchase a new car and use it for business purposes 70 per cent of the time, you can only claim 70 per cent of the cost.
You are not permitted to reduce the asset’s price with a trade-in or personal use apportionment to get under the current $150,000 threshold. For example, if your new equipment costs $210,000 and business use is 70 per cent (leaving a claimable amount of $147,000), you can’t claim the IAW as the original cost is still over the threshold.
If your business is structured as a partnership, it’s important to remember the partnership owns the asset – not the individual partners – so there’s no double-dipping. If a partner buys the asset in their own name and doesn’t qualify as a small business taxpayer personally, they can’t claim the write-off.
Using simple depreciation
If your business buys an asset valued over the IAW threshold, you can’t claim the immediate deduction. You can, however, allocate it to your general small business pool and use the simplified depreciation rules.
Using a general small business pool allows you to combine the business portion of higher cost assets and claim a 15 per cent deduction in the financial year you start using them, then 30 per cent each year after that.
Accelerated depreciation initiative
As part of the government’s coronavirus response, medium businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million can use accelerated depreciation rules to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation. Normal depreciation rules apply to the balance of the asset’s cost.
In these unprecedented times, we are to assist you. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions about the instant asset write off or any aspect of the broader stimulus package.
Chartered Accountant, Chartered Tax Adviser, Registered Tax Agent, Former AGPAL Surveyor 10 years of service
David Dahm is CEO and founder of the national medical and healthcare chartered accounting firm Health and Life and global Founder and CEO of the not for profit project the International Healthcare Standards and Ethics Board (www.ihseb.org)
After a serious work related car accident in 1989, and nine operations later I continue to be a patient and provider advocate. I enter my third decade as a national Chartered Accountant for Medical and Healthcare practices in Australia. I am a former 10-year Australian General Practice Accreditation surveyor. I come from a medico family. I have served on the AAPM national Board and was the inaugural national Chair of the Certified Practice Manager CPM post nominal. I continue to provide accounting tax and practice management advice to many practices all over Australia.
You know who you are and I thank you for this real honour and privilege to serve you and your community through you. Note, I am not a lawyer please seek appropriate legal and accounting advice. This information is for general information and discussion only.