No.31: Federal Budget Summary 2015

Download the Federal Budget Tax Bulletin 2015-16

The Federal Budget for 2015/16 was handed down by the Treasurer, Mr Joe Hockey, at 7.30 pm (AEST) on 12 May 2015.


The key tax and superannuation highlights from the Budget are summarised below. A detailed Chartered Accountants summary can be found at the link above.


  • No change to personal income tax rates and no extension to the 2% budget deficit levy on incomes over $180,000 beyond 30 June 2017
  • Top total tax rate to remain at 49% until 30 June 2017
  • From 1 July 2015 two methods for calculating work-related car expenses to be discontinued (12% of cost of car and one-third of actual running costs) leaving only the log book method and cents per kilometre method which is to be changed from the three current rates based on engine size to one rate of 66 cents per kilometre for all motor vehicles
  • Medicare levy low income thresholds to increase to $20,896 for singles / $34,367 couples
  • Remote areas zone tax offset to be unavailable to fly-in fly-out and drive-in drive-out employees
  • Temporary working holiday makers no longer able to access tax free threshold so will be taxed at 32.5% from their first dollar of income
  • Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) debts to be repaid by Australians residing overseas commencing 1 July 2017


  • Company tax rate to decrease by 1.5% (to 28.5%) from 1 July 2015 for incorporated small businesses (aggregated annual turnover less than $2M)
  • Tax discount for unincorporated small businesses (aggregated annual turnover less than $2M) of 5% of income tax payable on business income capped at $1,000
  • Small businesses (turnover less than $2M) eligible to immediately write-off assets costing less than $20,000 (up from $1,000) for assets acquired and installed ready for use between 7.30pm (AEST) 12 May 2015 to 30 June 2017
  • Immediate write-off of professional costs associated with starting a new business rather than over five years
  • Capital Gains Tax roll-over relief for small businesses (aggregated annual turnover less than $2M) to change entity structure from 1 July 2016
  • No Fringe Benefits Tax for small businesses (aggregated annual turnover less than $2M) on more than one qualifying work-related portable electronic device even where items have substantially similar functions (eg tablets and laptops)
  • GST to be applied to offshore intangible supplies (including electronic game downloads, software, digital content (netflix, iTunes etc)) to Australian consumers of all values from 1 July 2017
  • No change to the low-value GST threshold of $1,000 for imported goods
  • Commencing 1 April 2016 salary sacrificed Fringe Benefits Tax meal and entertainment concessions to be capped for employees in the public benevolent institutions and eligible not-for-profit sectors at a grossed-up cap of $5,000 per year
  • The proposed new tax regime for Managed Investment Trusts to be deferred again (from 1 July 2015) to 1 July 2016
  • No changes to the Dividend imputation system
  • Further changes to the recently announced Employee Share Scheme tax rules supporting start-up companies
  • No Australian “Google tax” but Part IVA anti-avoidance rules to be strengthened in relation to companies trying to avoid a taxable presence (Permanent Establishment) in Australia
  • Public tax transparency disclosures for large corporates to be drafted by the Board of Taxation


  • No changes to superannuation taxes
  • Loophole to be closed on pension income tests for defined benefit superannuation schemes
  • No changes yet to SMSFs and Limited Recourse Borrowings
  • Improved early access to superannuation for people with a terminal medical condition

Other taxes / payments

  • Major changes to childcare payments
  • New childcare safety net
  • Paid parental leave double dipping to be eliminated to stop claiming from both the Government and employers
  • Age pension asset test threshold to be increased but taper rate tightened
  • Changes to passport fees and allowing children to be issued 10 year passports (up from 5 year)
  • Accelerated depreciation for Primary Producers for fencing and water facilities