Sick of that crappy laptop or tablet that work gave you? Start drafting an email to your IT guy: it just became cheaper than ever for a small business to buy new gadgets thanks to a fringe benefits tax change in the Federal Budget.
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey announced in his Budget speech a “a further new policy initiative which is just common sense in the digital age” by “abolishing Fringe Benefits Tax on all portable electronic devices used for work, like mobile phones, laptops and tablets”.
Budget papers reveal more information about the plan, showing that the FBT exemption applies from 1 April 2016 and only applies to small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million.
The Fringe Benefit Tax normally means that an employer has to pay a percentage of tax on an item provided to an employee on top of a salary. An example of a fringe benefit is a a laptop or phone included as part of an employment package. The new exemption means these items will be tax free from next year.
You don’t have to be limited to just one, either. The Budget paper notes that employees can have “more than one qualifying work-related portable electronic device, even where the items have substantially similar functions”. Basically that means your employer won’t get hit with FBT for giving you a phone, laptop and tablet which you can also use for personal tasks.