Retailers welcome Budget asset tax deduction, but mixed response

The 2015-16 Budget’s $5.5 billion Jobs and Small Business Package’s up to $20,000 asset tax deduction for small businesses (under $2 million turnover) has been the main incentive for the broader grocery and convenience and petrol convenience market that offers some retailers an opportunity to invest in or expand their business.

The Australian Tax Office, said on the issue of whether petrol retailers’ petrol sales are exempted from the $2 million threshold, that for the purposes of calculating its annual turnover, an entity disregards any income derived from the sale of retail fuel.

At Cowes Newspower, Victoria, newsagent owner David Mogford welcomed the asset write off for spending of up to $20,000 and has his eyes on buying a delivery van for the business.

“The van will allow the business to expand into more office supplies, and also to employ a driver,” he said. “The tax cut is also certainly helpful. While low interest rates, not directly linked to the Budget, could help a broader business expansion.”

George Nesbitt, an independent petrol and convenience retailer of BP Placid Ark at Coolup, near the south-east coast of Western Australia, said the business recently spent over $200,000 on upgrading fuel pumps and toilets.

“But the asset deduction will make a difference and possibly, the job hiring incentive. We will have to examine it,” he said.

At Peak Hill Friendly Grocer in far-western NSW, Sam El Durani wasn’t sure if the store would utilise the asset tax deduction as the family had only purchased the business two years ago and spent up on new refrigeration and equipment.

Samantha Moore of Balaclava Friendly Store of Earlville, near Cairns, thought that the asset tax deduction in the Budget was a great idea. “It will be helpful to go ahead with solar energy panels for the store to save on electricity bills, used in refrigeration of chilled beverages and food, produce, milk, and for ice cream freezers,” she said.

But Ms Moore said that the store cannot afford to employ more people with more supermarket and convenience store competition in the area. The business recently invested in a new POS system that was looked at during the C&I Expo.

At the Laurieton Convenience Store on the NSW mid-north coast, owner Michael O’Hara could not see much benefit from the Small Business Package. “We’re only a small business in a small town and won’t be able to take advantage of the tax asset deduction,” he said.

Mr O’Hara said that he wouldn’t be able to hire more staff, with more competition coming from big retailers at Port Macquarie about 30 minutes away, but that he’s trying to adapt and introduced home deliveries.

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