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2017-18 Federal Budget summary

12 May 2017

Bridges Financial Services provides a clear, concise and informative breakdown of the key changes outlined in the 2017-18 Federal Budget.

What is the Federal Budget?

Presented annually, on the second Tuesday of May, the Federal Budget explains to the Australian public how the government intends to manage the nation’s finances. It outlines how they plan to tax and spend not only during the next financial year but into the future as well. Just like a personal or household budget, the Federal Budget forecasts revenue and expenses to determine whether there is a surplus or deficit. It’s also a political statement setting out the Government’s intentions, priorities and new policy initiatives.

Federal Budget Guide

What’s in this year’s Budget?

The Government stuck closely to its pre-Budget announcement themes of infrastructure and housing affordability and, on the whole, the proposed changes were expected and mostly welcome.

Below is a summary of the key points from the Budget - from Bridges, our financial planning partner.

Please remember that these are only proposals and are subject to the passing of legislation.

Key points:

  • the Pensioner Concession Card will be returned to those people who lost it following the 1 January 2017 changes to the assets test
  • those over 65 years of age are able to contribute up to $300,000 to their super from the sale of the family home
  • tax deductions for travel expenses relating to rental properties will end
  • the Temporary Budget Repair Levy will end from 1 July 2017
  • First Home Super Saver Scheme of up to $30,000 for first home buyers.

Super

Contribute the proceeds of downsizing to your super

From 1 July 2018, if you are over age 65 and sell your family home, you may have the opportunity to make a one-off contribution of up to $300,000 to your super. You will not be required to meet the work test and the normal after-tax contribution limit will not apply. To qualify, you must have lived in the home as your main residence for at least ten years. If your home is owned jointly as a couple, each of you will be able to contribute up to $300,000 to your super.

Taxation

Medicare Levy Rate increases

From 1 July 2019, the Government will increase the Medicare Levy by half a per cent from 2.0 to 2.5 per cent. This is to ensure the National Disability Insurance Scheme is fully funded and to future-guarantee the Medicare system.

Low-income earners will continue to receive relief from the Medicare Levy through the low-income thresholds for singles, families, seniors and pensioners. The current exemptions from the Medicare Levy will also remain in place.

Temporary Budget Repair Levy ceases

If you are a high income earner, the Budget Repair Levy has not been extended and ceases from 1 July 2017.

Disallow the deduction for residential rental property travel expenses

From 1 July 2017, if you have a residential rental property, you will no longer be able to claim tax deductions for travel expenses related to inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent. Additionally, the rules around claiming depreciation will change so that deductions for plant and equipment will only be allowed where an expense has actually been incurred by you. This change will not prevent you from engaging third parties such as real estate agents for property management services. These expenses will remain deductible. 

Social Security

Reinstatement of the Pensioner Concession Card

The Government plans to re-issue the Pensioner Concession Card if you lost your entitlement as a result of the asset test changes introduced from 1 January 2017.

New activity requirements from 20 September 2018

The following changes may affect you if you receive income support from the government: 

  • Participation requirements for people aged between 30 to 49 will align with those aged under 30. This means the activity requirement will increase from 15 hours to 25 hours per week.
  • Recipients aged 55 to 59 will only be able to meet their participation requirements with 50 per cent volunteer activities. Currently 100 per cent of their participation requirements can be met via volunteering
  • Recipients aged between 60 and Age Pension age are required to meet a 5 hours per week activity requirement, but this can be met through volunteering. Currently the activity requirement is 15 hours per week.

Housing

First Home Super Saver Scheme

From 1 July 2017, super can be used to assist with saving for a first home. If you’re saving for your first home you can make voluntary contributions to super – taking advantage of the tax benefits of super – and then withdraw the money to buy your first home. 

You can contribute up to $15,000 per year (from both pre and post income tax money) up to a maximum  amount of $30,000 in total. Earnings can be withdrawn along with the contributions when a home is purchased.

On withdrawal, concessional contributions and earnings will be taxed at the individual’s marginal tax rate, less a 30 per cent tax rebate. Non-concessional contributions are withdrawn tax-free. First Home Super Saver accounts are created on an individual basis – meaning each member of a couple can have their own account. Importantly, the release of funds to purchase a home will not count as income for certain tests, such as HELP/HECS repayments, family tax benefits or child care benefits.

 

 Take the next step

To discuss your financial situation, make an appointment with a Bridges financial planner.

We have an established alliance with Bridges, to provide our customers with financial advice. Bridges has been helping Australians with financial advice for 30 years.

A Bridges financial planner will develop a plan specifically for you; one that’s tailored to your needs and circumstances to help you achieve your goals.

To make an appointment with a Bridges financial planner, call 1800 645 303. The initial consultation is complimentary and obligation free.

 

Bridges Financial Services Pty Ltd (Bridges). ABN 60 003 474 977. ASX Participant. AFSL 240837. This is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making an investment decision based on this information, you should assess your own circumstances or consult a financial planner or a registered tax agent. Examples are illustrative only and are subject to the assumptions and qualifications disclosed. Part of the IOOF group. In referring customers to Bridges, Credit Union SA does not accept responsibility for any acts, omissions or advice of Bridges and its authorised representatives.