The Federal Government has released plans to introduce a small business energy incentive to help small and medium businesses electrify and save on their energy bills. The proposal was in the consultation stage until late July, but once implemented it may see businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million gain access to a bonus 20% tax deduction for the cost of eligible depreciating assets that support electrification and more efficient use of energy. It is projected to apply for the 2023–2024 income year.

Eligible depreciating assets would include any asset that:

  • uses electricity and there is a new reasonably comparable asset that uses a fossil fuel available in the market – for example, a electric reverse cycle air-conditioner in place of a gas heater may considered to be a eligible depreciating asset;
  • uses electricity and is more energy efficient than the asset it is replacing or, if not a replacement, a new reasonably comparable asset available in the market – an asset that uses electricity may be eligible for the bonus deduction even if there is no comparable asset available on the market which uses a fossil fuel, in which case the energy efficiency of the asset will determine its eligibility. Otherwise the energy rating label could be used the compare energy efficiency; or
  • is an energy storage, demand management or efficiency-improving asset – an asset may be eligible for the bonus deduction if it enables the storage of electricity, or the storage of energy that is generated from a renewable source (eg batteries). Assets can also qualify if they allow energy to be used at a different time (eg time-shifting devices) or are used in monitoring energy use (eg data-logging devices).

In order to claim the bonus deduction, the business must make the expenditure for a taxable purpose; therefore, costs will need to be apportioned if the asset has a mix of private and business use.

If both the small business and the asset meets eligibility requirements, the amount of bonus deduction is 20% of the total eligible cost, up to a maximum of $20,000 across the bonus period.