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Stimulus package to drive ‘big-ticket’ purchases

The Federal Government’s vast expansion the instant asset write-off threshold to $150,000 as part of its coronavirus stimulus package is set to benefit eyecare professionals seeking high value equipment.

The $17.6 billion initiative was unveiled last week as the government aims to support small and medium sized businesses during potential economic hardships caused by the coronavirus.

It is made up of four parts, which includes supporting business investment, providing cash flow assistance to small and medium sized businesses, targeted support for severely affected sectors, regions and communities and household stimulus payments to benefit the entire economy.

Specifically, the government will spend $700 million to increase the instant asset write off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 (per asset).

It will also expand access to the scheme by including businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million. This is compared with the previous cap of $50 million.

Ophthalmic equipment manufacturers and distributors, including Zeiss, have moved notify customers that any asset – new or second-hand – purchased before the end of the financial year will fall under the expanded thresholds.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Australian tax leader Mr Michael Croker said the economic stimulus package presents a unique chance for small to medium sized businesses to take the economic fight to coronavirus.

“This is a big win for Australian businesses and the economy and will drive purchases of more big-ticket items,” he said.

“The question now becomes one of confidence: will businesses open their cheque books in the current economic environment? Will lenders provide loans if needed to fund the purchases?”

In addition, $6.7 billion will be spent to boost cash flow for employers by up to $25,000 with a minimum payment of $2000 for eligible small and medium sized businesses.

This payment will be tax free and aims to benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people.

Small businesses that support the jobs of apprentices and trainees will also be eligible to apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of the apprentice’s or trainees wages for up to nine months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020, due to a $1.3 billion investment.