Federal Budget 2020: What you need to know

Budget 2020 – what you need to know

This is without doubt one of the most exciting times of the year, well at least for some of us. Last night the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, released the Government’s highly-anticipated 2020-21 Budget, featuring the bringing forward of tax cuts, superannuation reforms, measures for Centrelink clients and additional aged care funding.  After going into a record deficit of $213.7 billion to support individuals and businesses during the Coronavirus crisis, the focus of this year’s Budget is to regrow the economy by creating job opportunities and encouraging spending.

Pekada’s team have reviewed the Budget and prepared a summary of the key measures for you, and will be updating our the Federal Budget 2020 page here throughout the day.

NOTE: It’s important to remember that the Budget announcements are still only proposals at this stage. Each of the proposals must be passed by Parliament before they’re legislated – and could change.

 

TAX CHANGES

Personal tax cuts
The Government has announced that it will bring forward stage two of the previously legislated tax cuts that were due to take effect from 1 July 2022 by two years. As a result, from 1 July 2020:

  • the Low Income Tax Offset (LITO) will increase from $445 to $700. The increased LITO will be reduced at a rate of 5 cents per dollar between taxable incomes of $37,500 and
    $45,000. The LITO will then be reduced at a rate of 1.5 cents per dollar between taxable incomes of $45,000 and $66,667.
  • the top threshold of the 19% tax rate will increase from $37,000 to $45,000, and
  • the top threshold of the 32.5% tax rate will increase from $90,000 to $120,000.

What this could mean for you

  • The following chart shows the tax cuts you might receive this financial year based on your income levels and the amount of tax you’re currently paying.

Low and Middle Income Tax Offset
The Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO) was introduced in the 2018 Budget, to complement the existing Low Income Tax Offset (LITO). In 2019, the base rate for the LMITO increased from $200 to $255 and the maximum payment increased from $530 to $1,080. The Government had planned to discontinue the LMITO when the stage two cuts were to be introduced in mid-2022. However, even though the stage two cuts have been moved forward to the current financial year, the LMITO will also remain in place for the
2020–21 financial year.

What this could mean for you

  • If you qualify for LMITO you will receive payment after you submit your next tax return. Depending on your income, the maximum LMITO you can receive is $1,080. However, the LMITO is scheduled to cease next year. This means you could end up paying more tax in the 2021–22 financial year than in 2020–21. Dual income couples can both be eligible for the LMITO, up to a combined total of $2,160.

 

SUPERANNUATION CHANGES

Default super accounts
Currently, if you start a new job and you don’t let your employer know where you want them to pay your super contributions, they will open a super account for you. The account will be in your employer’s default super fund. This may result in you having multiple super accounts.

By 1 July 2021, your employer will be able to obtain information about your existing super account from the ATO. They will then pay your super contributions into this account, unless you instruct them to pay it to a different account.

For people who don’t yet have a super account, their employer will be able to open an account for them in their default
super fund.

What this could mean for you

  • Over 4 million Australians currently have multiple super accounts, and this means they’re paying more than one set of super fees and possibly multiple insurance premiums as well. The Government estimates that this is costing Australians $450 million each year. The intention of this change is to keep people’s super accounts attached to them, so they can take them from job to job.
  • By having only one super account, you can stop paying unnecessary fees and insurance premiums that may be eroding your super balance. Having all your super together can also help your super savings accumulate faster.

Performance testing for MySuper products
MySuper products follow a strict set of government guidelines. They tend to offer their members lower fees, simple features and limited investment options.

The Government feels there are too many underperforming super funds in the market, and this is impacting members’ retirement savings. From 1 July 2021, MySuper products will be subject to an annual benchmarking test. If the fund is found to be underperforming, it will need to inform its members by
1 October 2021.

Further, if a fund is found to underperform for two consecutive years, they won’t be permitted to accept new members until their performance improves.
By 1 July 2022, all super funds will need to do the annual benchmarking test – not just MySuper products.
What this could mean for you

  • How your super fund performs can make a big difference to the amount of money you have when you retire. This change means that your super fund will need to tell you if your fund has underperformed compared to other super funds. You can then make a decision about whether you want to stay with your fund or change to another fund.

YourSuper online comparison tool
To help members easily compare super funds, the Government will release an interactive online comparison tool called YourSuper by 1 July 2021 which will:

  • rank MySuper products by fees and investment returns
  • provide links to super fund websites
  • show if you have more than one super account so you can consider consolidating them.

What this could mean for you

  • Choosing a super fund can be daunting. This comparison tool will make it easier to see what each super fund charges in fees and how they have been performing. However, it’s important to remember that past performance is not always an indication of future performance.

 

HEALTH, WELFARE AND JOBS

Additional support payments for welfare recipients
Government support recipients will receive two separate economic support payments of $250, to be paid progressively from December 2020 and March 2021.

This follows two previous payments of $750 to eligible recipients, with the new payments estimated to cost a total of $2.6 billion.
What this could mean for you

You may be eligible for the two payments of $250 if you’re currently receiving:

  • Age Pension (including Age Pension (Blind))
  • Carer Allowance*
  • Carer Payment
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • Disability Support Pension (including Disability Support Pension (Blind))
  • Double Orphan Pension*
  • DVA Gold card
  • DVA Payments
  • DVA Seniors Card
  • Family Tax Benefit (fortnightly recipients)*
  • Family Tax Benefit (lump sum recipients)*
  • Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) holders (covers non- income and asset test PCC holders and people who have an extended entitlement to a PCC even though their payment has stopped).

 

Health services
Coronavirus has taken its toll on the mental health of many Australians. Therefore, the number of psychological services funded by Medicare will be doubled from 10 to 20, effective immediately.

The NDIS will also receive additional funding of almost $4 billion, to provide essential support to Australians living with a disability.

Women facing ovarian cancer will now be able to access the drug Lynparza through the PBS. Rather than costing $140,000 per course, general patients will now pay around $41 for a script while concession card holders will be charged $6.60.

What this could mean for you

  • If you currently access any of these services, or think you may need to in the future, it’s important to understand what you’re eligible for. As the first step, we recommend you speak with your doctor.

New jobs in key industries
The Government is committing $1.5 billion over five years from 2020–21 to support the building of competitiveness, scale and resilience in the Australian manufacturing sector. It will focus on six key industries of strategic interest:

  • defence
  • space
  • medicine and medical products
  • food and beverages
  • resources technology
  • recycling and clean energy.

Rural communities will benefit from $2 billion in funding over 10 years to improve water infrastructure, while regional businesses will benefit from an expansion of the instant asset write-off scheme. Regions that rely on international tourism will benefit from their share of $51 million in funding over two years to diversify their markets.

While the Budget doesn’t offer much financial relief to female workers currently impacted by Coronavirus, the government is committing $240 million over four years towards a range of employment initiatives for women. These include increasing female workforce participation in male-dominated industries such as construction.

What this could mean for you

  • With the pandemic causing massive job losses around the country, these measures are designed to get as many Australians back to work as possible. While some industries may currently offer more opportunities than others, it’s likely that many industries will be in a state of flux for years to come.

 

We are here to help

For our ongoing service package clients, your adviser will be in touch with any specific actions or impacts to your situation.

If you have any queries in the interim or would like further clarification in regards to any of the above measures outlined in the 2020-21 Federal Budget, please feel free to give me a call to arrange a time to meet so that we can discuss your particular requirements in more detail.