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Farm Management Deposit enhancements a key focus of the Agribusiness White Paper

“Stronger Farmers, Stronger Economy”, the federal government’s long anticipated white paper on Agribusiness, will be welcomed by the bush, says Brad Ivens, Principal – Tax Advisory, Crowe Horwath.

At the individual agribusiness enterprise level the key focus for most is likely to be the planned changes to tax arrangements that supplement those already announced in the May Budget, particularly those relating to Farm Management Deposits says Mr Ivens.

“The agribusiness white paper is the result of extensive consultation with the sector, with more than 1000 submissions received.”

“It contains previously announced measures relating to the $20,000 small business write-off and is an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary document, insofar a tax is concerned.”

“Three of the five main new taxation related initiatives concern enhancements to Farm Management Deposits (FMDs) which can be a very useful financial management tool.”

FMDs involve placing funds, usually earned in a good year, on deposits in a special FMD bank account to act as a buffer for any lean years down the track.

“The tax advantage is derived because those monies are not taxable in the year they are earned, but rather, are taxed when they are drawn down, which is usually in a year of low or negative income, when the top marginal tax rate is not incurred.”

“On top of the taxation advantage there is the benefit of peace of mind associated with this government sponsored prudence.”

“The other two measures involve changes to the income tax averaging regime and new ATO assistance for drought affected communities.”

The specific changes to the FMD regime involve a doubling of the amount of funds able to be invested in and FMD from $400,000 to $800,000.

“As well, early access provisions will be introduced for FMDs in times of drought, without affecting tax concessions.”

And, finally, current restrictions on financial institutions which prevent FMD accounts being used as a loan offset will be removed.

“These three reforms make an already attractive financial and risk management tool even more appealing for primary producers.”

The other major tax concessions announced are:

  • Primary producers will be able to opt back into the income tax averaging regime 10 years after they have elected to exit the scheme
  • Taxpayers in drought-affected communities will be able to discuss extended payment or lodgement arrangements and interest-free payment plans with the ATO, who will proactively contact taxpayers in those areas with offers of support

“In our view these are the five new taxation changes that will be noticed almost immediately by the sector and its difficult

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to imagine anything but universal support for them.”

“As largest provider of financial services to the agribusiness sector both in Australia and New Zealand Crowe Horwath has a special relation with the sector based on the breadth of our reach in the bush and our depth of experience,” Mr Ivens said.


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About Crowe Horwath

Crowe Horwath Australasia is the largest provider of practical accounting, audit, tax, business and financial advice to individuals and small and medium enterprises from a comprehensive network of over 100 offices. The team includes approximately 3,000 principals, professionals and support staff located in Australia and New Zealand. Crowe Horwath Australasia was formally privatised and inducted into the Findex Group on 6 January, 2015.Crowe Horwath International is ranked amongst the top 10 global accounting networks, and is known for delivering quality audit, tax and advisory services in more than 100 countries worldwide.

About Findex

Findex is one of Australia’s largest non-aligned financial advisory and accounting groups. It has businesses across the spectrum of the financial advice and accounting industry including middle range, high net worth, public sector and online, with more than $17 billion under management.

The Findex brands include Crowe Horwath (Australia and New Zealand), Centric Wealth, Financial Index Wealth Accountants, Prescott Securities, MBP Advisory, Civic Financial Planning and MOVO

online advice, looking after the needs of around 250,000 clients. It employees over 3000 finance professionals from 120 capital city and regional offices.

Findex has been awarded the IFA Excellence Awards for Dealer Group of the Year 2014 and listed in the BRW 2014 Most Innovative Companies list. It is the only financial services company of any scale to have the highest internationally recognised quality standard for service and process, ISO 9001 across multiple brands and offices, including Financial Index Wealth Accountants and MOVO.

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