The 120% technology and skills & training costs deduction for small and medium business have passed Parliament. Over the next two weeks we’ll show you how to maximise your deductions.
Almost a year after the 2022-23 Federal Budget announcement, the 120% tax deduction for expenditure by small and medium businesses (SME) on technology, or skills and training for their staff, is finally law. But there are a few complexities in the timing – to utilise the technology investment boost, you had to of purchased the technology and when it comes to acquiring eligible assets, installed it ready for use by 30 June 2023; that’s just seven days from the date the legislation passed Parliament.
Who can access the boosts?
The 120% skills and training, and technology boosts are available to small business entities (individual sole traders, partnership, company or trading trust) with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million. Aggregated turnover is the turnover of your business and that of your affiliates and connected entities.
$20k technology investment boost
The Technology Investment Boost provides SMEs with a bonus deduction for expenses and depreciating assets for digital operations or digitising from 7:30pm (AEST) on 29 March 2022 until 30 June 2023.
You ‘incur’ an expense when you are in debt for it; this might be a tax invoice or it might be a contract where you are legally liable for the cost.
For depreciating assets, like computer hardware, there is an extra step. The technology needs to have been purchased and installed ready for use. For example, if you ordered 10 computers, you need to have received the computers and had them set up ready to use by at least 30 June 2023. Ordering them on 29 June won’t be enough to claim the boost if you did not receive them.
The types of expenses that might be eligible for the technology boost include:
- Digital enabling items – computer and telecommunications hardware and equipment, software, internet costs, systems and services that form and facilitate the use of computer networks;
- Digital media and marketing – audio and visual content that can be created, accessed, stored or viewed on digital devices, including web page design;
- E-commerce – goods or services supporting digitally ordered or platform-enabled online transactions, portable payment devices, digital inventory management, subscriptions to cloud-based services, and advice on digital operations or digitising operations, such as advice about digital tools to support business continuity and growth; or
- Cyber security – cyber security systems, backup management and monitoring services.
The technology also must be “wholly or substantially for the purposes of an entity’s digital operations or digitising the entity’s operations”. That is, there must be a direct link to your business’s digital operations. For example, claiming the drone you bought at say Christmas 2022 won’t be deductible unless your business is, for example, a real estate agency that needed a drone to take aerial images of client homes to market on their website. The expense needs to relate to how the business earns its income, in particular its digital operations.
Repair and maintenance costs can be claimed as long as the expenses meet the eligibility criteria.
Where the expenditure has mixed use (i.e., partly private), the bonus deduction applies to the proportion of the expenditure that is for business use.
There are a few costs that the technology boost won’t cover such as costs relating to employing staff, raising capital, construction of business premises, and the cost of goods and services the business sells. The boost will not apply to:
- Assets that you purchased but then sold within the relevant period (e.g., on or prior to 30 June 2023).
- Capital works costs (for example, improvements to a building used as business premises).
- Financing costs such as interest expenses.
- Salary or wage costs.
- Training or education costs, that is, training staff on software or technology won’t qualify (see Skills and Training Boost – our next week’s blog).
- Trading stock or the cost of trading stock.
Let’s look at the example of A Co Pty Ltd (A Co) that purchased multiple laptops on 15 July 2022 to help its employees to work from home. The total cost was $100,000. The laptops were delivered on 19 July 2022 and immediately issued to staff entirely for business use.
As the holder of the assets, A Co is entitled to claim a deduction for the depreciation of a capital expense. A Co can claim the cost of the laptops ($100,000) as a deduction under the temporary full expensing in its 2022-23 income tax return. It can also claim the maximum $20,000 bonus deduction in its 2022-23 income tax return.
The $20,000 bonus deduction is not paid to the business in cash but is used to offset against A Co’s assessable income. If the company is in a loss position, then the bonus deduction would increase the tax loss. The cash value to the business of the bonus deduction will depend on whether it generates a taxable profit or loss during the relevant year and the rate of tax that applies.
The good news for many eligible small and medium businesses is that your technology subscriptions and other products you use in your business might qualify for the boost.
The boost is claimed in your tax return with the extra 20% sitting on top your normal claim. That is, however the way the expense or asset is claimed (immediately or over time), the bonus 20% applies in the same way.