2021-22 Federal Budget Update

James Murphy Tax



The 2021-22 Budget outlines the Morrison Government’s plan for recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic focused on growing the economy and creating jobs for Australians.

On 11 May 2021, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down his second “pandemic budget” amidst a backdrop of continuing uncertainty. Acknowledging that the virus is a continuing threat to lives and livelihoods, this budget is again framed to prioritise jobs and investment.

As well as stimulus measures, the focus has been on structural reforms across many of the government portfolios. Skills, infrastructure, deregulation, and digital transformation are all featured, together with a continued emphasis on services.

Federal Budget 2021-22            

The key announcements were:

The Federal Budget has a clear focus on creating jobs and rebuilding the economy.

As usual we confine our analysis to taxation measures, government incentives and tax planning opportunities.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Please read on for your copy of our budget summary 2021-22.

Tax Cuts to Create Jobs

The Government is delivering a further $7.8 billion in personal income tax cuts to support more than 10 million low- and middle-income earners worth up to $1,080 for individuals or up to $2,160 for couples.

This is on top of the $25.1 billion of announced tax cuts flowing to households in 2021-22 under the legislated Personal Income Tax (PIT) Plan.

With the additional year of the low and middle tax offset (LMITO), the Plan will provide tax cuts of up to $7,020 for individuals, and up to $14,040 for couples, in total over the period from 2018-19 to 2021-22.

Treasury estimates that extending the LMITO will boost GDP by around $4.5 billion in 2022-23 and will create an additional 20,000 jobs by the end of 2022-23.

When Stage 3 is implemented in 2024-25, around 95 per cent of taxpayers will face a marginal tax rate of 30 per cent or less.

An individual’s effective tax-free income threshold for 2021-22 financial year remains the same compared with the current financial year. An individual who is not eligible for seniors and pensioners tax offset can effectively have taxable income of up to $23,226 without having to pay income tax.

The LMITO is a non-refundable tax offset. An individual who is eligible for LMITO is not required to complete a section in their tax return. The ATO will work out the LMITO once the tax return is lodged.

Tax Cuts for Small and Medium Businesses

The Government will deliver more than $16 billion in tax cuts to small and medium businesses by 2023-24 with around $1.5 billion flowing in 2019-20.

This includes reducing the tax rate for small and medium companies, from 30 per cent in 2014-15 to 25 per cent from 1 July 2021.

Extending Tax Incentives for Businesses That Invest

The Government is supporting business investment by extending temporary full expensing and temporary loss-back for an additional year.

This extension will enable businesses experiencing COVID-19 related supply disruptions, or considering investing in projects requiring longer planning times, to take advantage of the incentives.

The Government maintains its business tax incentives are working. In the December quarter, investment in machinery and equipment increased at the fastest quarterly rate in nearly seven years as firms took advantage of the Government’s tax incentives. Firms’ capital investment intentions for 2021-22 have also strengthened.

The temporary full expensing and temporary loss carry-back measures are estimated to boost GDP by around $2.5 billion in 2020-21, $7.5 billion in 2021-22, and $8 billion in 2022-23, and create around 60,000 jobs by the end of 2022-23.

Case Study 1

In December 2021, Emu Deliveries Pty Ltd (Emu) plans a business expansion and would like to use temporary full expensing for $2.5 million worth of assets, which would result in a $500,000 loss. The time it would take to obtain approvals and contractors means Emu will not install the assets until March 2023. Emu also wants to take advantage of loss carry-back to offset the $500,000 loss in 2022-23 against tax it paid in 2018-19, resulting in a tax refund of $125,000. Without the extension of the incentives, Emu would pay around $400,000 in tax in 2022-23 after the expansion, making it unaffordable.

Case Study 2

The owners of Fleur’s Flour, a food manufacturing company, decide in July 2021 to expand its operations and buy a new milling machine. Unexpected disruptions to global trade routes mean that the milling machine ordered from overseas will not arrive until April 2023. Fleur’s Flour is relying on being able to fully expense the cost of the milling machine, to lower the cost of investing to expand. Without the extension of temporary full expensing to 30 June 2023, Fleur’s Flour would not be able to benefit from the full expensing.

Attracting Talent

The Government has introduced a new Global Talent visa and Temporary Activity visa and will modernise the framework for individual tax residency, to encourage highly skilled individuals to relocate to Australia.

Providing Australians With A Share in The Economic Recovery

The Government will make it easier for businesses to offer employee share schemes (ESS) to provide more Australians with a share in the economic value they create through their hard work. The Government will remove red tape and ensure that regulatory settings drive higher take‑up.

The Government will modernise the tax treatment of ESS by removing the cessation of employment taxing point for tax deferred ESS.

These changes will see more Australians benefit from our economic recovery and help businesses attract the best and brightest from Australia and around the world.


Encouraging Australian Medical and Biotech Innovation

The Government is encouraging investment in Australian medical and biotech technologies by introducing a patent box. The patent box will reduce taxes on income from innovative research to encourage businesses to undertake their R&D in Australia and keep patents here. The Government will consult closely with industry on the design of the patent box and explore whether expanding the patent box would be an effective way of supporting clean energy.

This measure will complement the Government’s $2 billion investment in the Research and Development Tax Incentive (R&DTI) which was announced in the 2020‑21 Budget. The Government has asked the Board of Taxation to review the administrative framework of the R&DTI before the end of 2021.

Stimulating Innovation in Australian Businesses

The Government will allow businesses to self‑assess the economic life of certain intangible assets (such as patents) for tax depreciation purposes. This will encourage investment and hiring in innovative activity.

Growing the Australian Digital Games Industry

The global digital gaming industry provides significant opportunities for Australia. The Government will support the growth of Australia’s digital games industry by cutting the cost of game development in Australia. Digital game developers will receive a 30 per cent refundable tax offset, capped at $20 million per year, for qualifying Australian games expenditure.

Increasing Training Places

The Government will commit an additional $500 million, to be matched by state and territory governments, to expand the JobTrainer Fund by a further 163,000 places and extend the program until 31 December 2022. The Fund will support training in digital skills and upskilling in critical industries like aged care.

The JobTrainer Fund was launched in 2020 and will support hundreds of thousands of job seekers, school leavers and young people by providing access to free or low-fee training places in areas of skills shortages.

Supporting Apprenticeships

The Government is spending an additional $2.7 billion to extend the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program.

The demand-driven program is expected to support more than 170,000 new apprentices and trainees by paying businesses a 50 per cent wage subsidy over 12 months for newly commencing apprentices or trainees signed up by 31 March 2022. The subsidy will be capped at $7,000 per quarter per apprentice or trainee.

The extension will deliver on the Government’s commitment to building a pipeline of skilled workers by further supporting growing businesses to take on new apprentices and trainees.

This Government is also delivering pathway services for 5,000 women to commence in a non-traditional apprenticeship.

Skilling Aged Care Workers to Deliver Quality and Safe Care

The Government is supporting an additional 33,800 training places provided through JobTrainer to enable existing and new care workers to improve their qualifications. This will help deliver 80,000 additional Home Care Packages in this Budget.

An additional $216.7 million is being provided for additional training and financial support to encourage registered nurses to choose a career in aged care.

Expanding the Care Workforce

In this Budget, the Government is reducing red tape across care sector jobs by aligning provider regulation and worker screening. This will make it easier for carers to work across the sector, develop their careers, and meet the sector’s demand for jobs.

The Government is also providing an additional $13.2 billion to the National Disability Insurance Scheme which supports thousands of disability care jobs.

COVID‑19’s Impact on Women

Women were heavily affected by job losses due to COVID‑19 restrictions and lockdowns. At its lowest point, female employment had fallen by around 470,000 or 8 per cent. Women were also far more likely than men to face reduced working hours, including from having to shoulder more of the burden of unpaid work associated with school closures.

Since the peak of COVID‑19 restrictions, the labour market has recovered strongly with female employment now 1.2 per cent higher than it was in March 2020 and more women in work than ever before.

While for women the labour market has recovered quickly from the COVID‑19 shock, and the gender pay gap is at a record low of 13.4 per cent, there is still progress to be made. Women’s workforce participation remains around 10 percentage points lower than men’s, and women continue to have low representation in leadership positions, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. That is why the Government is taking action so more women can get back into the workforce.


More Affordable Childcare Will Support More Parents into Work

At 61.8 per cent in March 2021, the women’s participation rate is the highest on record, above its pre-COVID high of 61.5 per cent.

The Government is investing $1.7 billion to make childcare more affordable and lift women’s workforce participation. By reducing disincentives to work, the investment will add up to 300,000 hours of work per week, which is the equivalent of around 40,000 women working an extra day per week. This will be good for the economy and boost the level of GDP by up to $1.5 billion per year.

Households with young children can face particularly high workforce disincentive rates for the secondary earner with respect to the fourth or fifth day of work in a week.

The Child Care Subsidy will be increased by 30 percentage points for the second or subsequent child, up to a cap of 95 per cent. This will ease cost of living pressures for over 250,000 Australian families and address the higher out of pocket costs faced by families with multiple young children.

The removal of the Child Care Subsidy annual cap will also reduce barriers to working. With these changes, families are not penalised by hitting the cap.

These reforms will ensure that the Child Care Subsidy helps families to make employment and care choices that work best for them.


The Government will replace the individual tax residency rules with a new, modernized framework. The primary test will be a simple ‘bright line’ test – a person who is physically present in Australia for 183 days or more in any income year will be an Australian tax resident. Individuals who do not meet the primary test will be subject to secondary test that depend on a combination of physical presence and measurable, objective criteria. The measure will have effect from the first income year after the date of Royal Assent of the enabling legislation.

Australia’s current tax residency rules are difficult to apply in practice, creating uncertainty and resulting in high compliance costs for individuals and their employers.

The new framework, based on recommendations made by the Board of Taxation in its 2019 report to Government Reforming individual tax residency rules – a model for modernisation, will be easier to understand and apply in practice, deliver greater certainty, and lower compliance costs for globally mobile individuals and their employers.

Reducing Compliance Costs for Individuals Claiming Self-Education Expense Deductions

The Government will remove the exclusion of the first $250 of deductions per prescribed course of education. The measure will have effect from the first income year after the date of Royal Assent of the enabling legislation.

The first $250 of a prescribed course of education expense is currently not deductible. Removing the $250 exclusion for prescribed course of education will reduce compliance costs for individuals claiming self-education expense deductions.

Removing The $450 Per Month Threshold for Superannuation Guarantee Eligibility

The Government will remove the current $450 per month minimum income threshold, under which employees do not have to be paid the superannuation guarantee by their employer. The measure will have effect from the start of the first financial year after Royal Assent of the enabling legislation, which the Government expects to have occurred prior to 1 July 2022.

This measure will improve equity in the superannuation system by expanding the superannuation guarantee coverage for cohorts with lower incomes. The Retirement Income Review estimated that around 300,000 individuals would receive additional superannuation guarantee payments each month, 63 per cent of whom are women.

Temporary Loss Carry-Back Extension

The Government will further support Australia’s economic recovery and business investment by extending the 2020-21 Budget measure titled JobMaker Plan — temporary loss carry-back to support cash flow. The extension will allow eligible companies to carry back (utilise) tax losses from the 2022-23 income year to offset previously taxed profits as far back as the 2018-19 income year when they lodge their 2022-23 tax return. Loss carry-back encourages businesses to invest, utilising the 2021-22 Budget measure titled Temporary full expensing extension by providing eligible companies earlier access to the tax value of losses generated by full expensing deductions.

Companies with aggregated turnover of less than $5 billion are eligible for temporary loss carry-back. The tax refund is limited by requiring that the amount carried back is not more than the earlier taxed profits and that the carry-back does not generate a franking account deficit. Companies that do not elect to carry back losses under this measure can still carry losses forward as normal.

Patent Box — Tax Concession for Australian Medical and Biotechnology Innovations

The Government will introduce a patent box tax regime to further encourage innovation in Australia by taxing corporate income derived from patents at a concessional effective corporate tax rate of 17 per cent, with the concession applying from income years starting on or after 1 July 2022.

The patent box will apply to income derived from Australian medical and biotechnology patents. The Government will also consult on whether a patent box would be an effective way of supporting the clean energy sector.

Australia currently taxes profits generated by patents at the headline corporate rate (30 per cent for large businesses and 25 per cent for small to medium enterprises from 1 July 2021). The patent box will offer a competitive tax rate for profits generated from Australian owned and developed patents.

The requirement for domestic development will encourage additional investment and hiring in research and development activity and encourage companies to develop and apply their innovations in Australia.

The Government will consult with industry before settling the detailed design of the patent box.

Personal Income Tax — Increasing the Medicare Levy Low-Income Thresholds

The Government will increase the Medicare levy low-income thresholds for singles, families, and seniors and pensioners from 1 July 2020 to take account of recent movements in the CPI so that low-income taxpayers generally continue to be exempt from paying the Medicare levy.

The threshold for singles will be increased from $22,801 to $23,226. The family threshold will be increased from $38,474 to $39,167. For single seniors and pensioners, the threshold will be increased from $36,056 to $36,705. The family threshold for seniors and pensioners will be increased from $50,191 to $51,094. For each dependent child or student, the family income thresholds increase by a further $3,597 instead of the previous amount of $3,533.

Self-Managed Superannuation Funds — Relaxing Residency Requirements

The Government will relax residency requirements for self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) and small APRA-regulated funds (SAFs) by extending the central control and management test safe harbour from two to five years for SMSFs and removing the active member test for both fund types. The measure will have effect from the start of the first financial year after Royal Assent of the enabling legislation, which the Government expects to have occurred prior to 1 July 2022.

This measure will allow SMSF and SAF members to continue to contribute to their superannuation fund whilst temporarily overseas, ensuring parity with members of large APRA-regulated funds. This will provide SMSF and SAF members the flexibility to keep and continue to contribute to their preferred fund while undertaking overseas work and education opportunities.

Contrary to some expectations…

It is important to note that the legislated increases to superannuation guarantee were not amended in the Budget. Therefore, rate of superannuation guarantee will increase to 10% from 1.7.2021, as previously legislated.

In addition, the government did not announce an extension of the halving of the account-based pension minimums. As a result, the standard minimum drawdown requirements will apply from 1.7.2021.


The 2021-22 Budget is giving older Australians, including self-funded retirees, greater flexibility to contribute to their superannuation and access their housing wealth if they choose to by:

From 1 July 2022, individuals aged 67 to 74 will no longer be required to meet the work test when making, or receiving, non-concessional superannuation contributions or salary sacrificed contributions. These individuals will also be able to access the non-concessional bring forward arrangement, subject to meeting the relevant eligibility criteria.

The existing $1.6 million cap on lifetime superannuation contributions will continue to apply (increasing to $1.7 million from 1 July 2021). The annual concessional and non-concessional caps will also continue to apply.

Access to concessional personal deductible contributions for individuals aged 67 to 74 will still be subject to meeting the work test.

This change builds on the Government’s previous reforms to the age rules on superannuation contributions, further increasing the ability of older Australians to make contributions to their superannuation.

The Bring-Forward Rule and Removal Of The Work Test

The Government has confirmed that people aged 67-74 making non-concessional contributions will still be subject to existing contributions caps.

Therefore, a client who was under age 67 at the start of the year has since turned 67 will be able to make a non-concessional contribution of up to $110,000 without first needing to satisfy the work test (or up to $330,000 under a proposal to extend the bring-forward rule to people under age 67 that is yet to be legislated).

Improving the Pension Loans Scheme

The Government is increasing the flexibility and attractiveness of the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS) for senior Australians.

From 1 July 2022, the Government will introduce a No Negative Equity Guarantee for PLS loans and allow people access to a capped advance payment in the form of a lump sum.

No Negative Equity Guarantee

A No Negative Equity Guarantee will mean that borrowers under the PLS, or their estate, will not owe more than the market value of their property, in the rare circumstances where their accrued PLS debt exceeds their property value. This brings the PLS in line with private sector reverse mortgages.

Immediate Access to Lump Sums Under The PLS

Eligible people will be able to receive a maximum lump sum advance payment equal to 50 per cent of the maximum Age Pension. Based on current Age Pension rates, this is around $12,385 per year for singles, while couples combined could receive around $18,670.

A maximum of two advances totalling up to the cap amount are permitted in a year, for those who do not want to take an advance in one instalment.

Background on the PLS

The PLS is a voluntary, reverse mortgage type loan available to assist older Australians who wish to boost their retirement income by unlocking equity in their real estate assets.

Through the PLS, people can receive additional regular fortnightly payments with the payments accruing as a debt secured against their Australian property.

The PLS allows a fortnightly loan of up to 150 per cent of the maximum rate of Age Pension and an interest rate, currently set as 4.5 per cent, is charged.

PLS and Age Pensioners

Under the existing PLS, those with a full-rate Age Pension can get an annual income boost worth 50 per cent of a full Age Pension representing around $12,385 per year for singles and around $18,670 for couples. This is on top of receiving a full Age Pension.

The increased flexibility from 1 July 2022 will allow a full-rate age pensioner to access their entire annual PLS amount as a lump sum. This is on top of receiving a full-rate Age Pension.

Those with a part-rate Age Pension will also be able to access a lump sum worth 50 per cent of a full Age Pension. They will continue to be able to use the PLS to top-up their fortnightly pension through the PLS, such that their combined Age Pension plus PLS benefit (both lump sums and income stream) is up to 1.5 times a full-rate Age Pension payment.

PLS and Self-Funded Retirees

Under the existing PLS, self-funded retirees of Age Pension age who do not receive any Age Pension can get an income boost over a year worth 1.5 times a full rate Age Pension payment. This represents around $37,155 per year for singles and around $56,011 per year for couples.

The increased flexibility from 1 July 2022 will allow a self-funded retiree to get a lump sum payment worth up to 50 per cent of a full rate Age Pension, representing around $12,385 per year for singles and around $18,670 for couples under the PLS each year.

This is on top of the other amounts they would receive under the PLS up to the maximum annual amount and means they will be able to bring forward one third of their maximum PLS payments if they choose to do so.

Extending Access to Downsizer Contributions

From 1 July 2022, the minimum age for the downsizer contribution will be lowered from 65 to 60. This will allow Australians nearing retirement to make a one-off post-tax contribution of up to $300,000 per person (or $600,000 per couple) when they sell their family home.

This improves the flexibility for Australians to contribute to their superannuation savings and may encourage people to downsize sooner and increase the supply of family homes.

Downsizer contributions can be made after the sale of a person’s principal place of residence, held for a minimum of 10 years.

Downsizer contributions do not count towards the concessional and non-concessional contributions caps. People with balances over the transfer balance cap (which is $1.7 million from 1 July 2021) are also able to make a downsizer contribution, however the downsizer amount will count towards that cap when savings are converted to the retirement phase.

Reducing the eligibility age for downsizer contributions to age 60 could allow an eligible couple in their early sixties to sell their home and contribute up to $1.26m to super in a year by each making a $300,000 downsizer and a $330,000 non-concessional contribution.


As part of the 2021-22 Budget, the Government will:

  • Establish the Family Home Guarantee with 10,000 guarantees made available over four years to single parents with dependants. The Family Home Guarantee allows them to purchase a home sooner with a deposit of as little as two per cent.
  • Expand the New Home Guarantee for a second year, providing an additional 10,000 places in 2021-22. First home buyers seeking to build a new home or purchase a newly built home will be able to do so with a deposit of as little as five per cent; and
  • Increase the maximum amount of voluntary contributions that can be released under the First Home Super Saver Scheme from $30,000 to $50,000.

The Morrison Government is also providing an additional $124.7 million in funding which will allow the states and territories to bolster public housing stocks, or to meet their social and community housing responsibilities under the 2011 Fair Work decision on Social and Community Services wages.


Small businesses will be able to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to pause or modify ATO debt recovery actions where the debt is being disputed in the AAT.

Currently, small businesses are only able to pause or modify ATO debt recovery actions through the court system, which can be costly and time consuming.

Applying to the AAT instead of the courts will save small businesses at least several thousands of dollars in court and legal fees and as much as 60 days of waiting for a decision.

Small business will be able effectively to pause ATO debt recovery actions until their case is decided by the AAT.

Specifically, the changes will allow the Small Business Taxation Division of the AAT to pause or modify any ATO debt recovery actions, such as garnishee notices and the recovery of General Interest Charge or related penalties until the underlying dispute is resolved by the AAT.

Small business entities (including individuals carrying on a business) with an aggregated turnover of less than $10 million per year will be eligible to use this streamlined approach. The change will bring Australia more into line with the tax systems of the United Kingdom and United States.

These new powers for the AAT will be available in respect of proceedings commenced on or after the date of Royal Assent of the legislation.


The Federal Government will invest almost $1.2 billion in Australia’s digital future through the Digital Economy Strategy.

The strategy outlines the policies and actions the Government is taking to grow Australia’s future as a modern and leading digital economy by 2030.

According to Prime Minister Scott Morrison:

  • One of our biggest challenges and opportunities turns on how we respond to the digital transformation occurring in every sector and every facet of our lives.
  • Every business in Australia is now a digital business. The tradesman or woman who seeks work through AirTasker. The landscaper who finds most of their new business through search engine placement and social media. The farmer who keeps track of their herd with electronic tags or drones. The local Thai restaurant that sells through UberEats, MenuLog, Deliveroo, or any one of half a dozen different food apps. The gym where members book their classes through an app.
  • This transformation is not merely a national one that needs to happen – it’s a global one that is happening.
  • We must keep our foot on the digital accelerator to secure our economic recovery from COVID‑19.

The Strategy targets investment in emerging technologies, building digital skills, encouraging business investment, and enhancing Government service delivery.

Through the Strategy the Federal Government is investing in jobs for Australians now and into the future with key initiatives including:

  • Over $100 million to support digital skills for Australians including a new pilot program for work‑based digital cadetships that offer a flexible way for workers to build digital skills, investments in the cyber workforce, and scholarships for emerging technology graduates.
  • Building Australia’s capability in Artificial Intelligence with $124.1 million in initiatives, including a National Artificial Intelligence Centre led by CSIRO Data 61, supported by a network of AI and Digital Capability Centres to drive adoption of AI across the economy.
  • Enhancing Government services through a $200.1 million investment to overhaul myGov, making it easier than ever for Australians to find the services they need, as well as a $301.8 million investment to enhance the My Health Record and an expansion of the digital identity system.
  • Investment incentives to support business growth, including a Digital Games Tax Offset of 30 per cent to support Australia taking a greater share of the $250 billion global game development market, and changes to the way Australian businesses can claim depreciation of intangible assets like intellectual property and in‑house software.
  • Helping small and medium businesses build their digital capacity through a $12.7 million expansion of the Digital Solutions – Australian Small Business Advisory Service, and $15.3 million to drive business uptake of e‑Invoicing.
  • $35.7 million to support emerging aviation technologies like drones, including grants to support the use of these technologies to address priority needs in regional Australia.
  • Unlocking the value of data in the economy and setting the standards for the next generation of data management, including $111.3 million to accelerate the rollout of the Consumer Data Right in banking, energy, and telecommunications.
  • Strengthening safety, security, and trust with over $50 million to enhance cyber security in government, data centres and future telecommunications networks.

The Strategy builds on the Federal Government’s investments in infrastructure, skills, cyber security, regulations, and digital trade, taking the digital economy spend to around $2 billion over the 2020‑21 and 2021‑22 Budgets, on top of the $1.67 billion Cyber Security Strategy 2020, $1 billion for JobTrainer and the $4.5 billion investment in NBN upgrades.


Small brewers and distillers will benefit from $225 million in tax relief to support more jobs and investment as part of the 2021–22 Budget.

To support jobs in this growing sector, small brewers and distillers will benefit from a tripling of the excise refund cap for small brewers and distillers from $100,000 to $350,000 per year.