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Tax bonus to help small business through the crisis, says Rudd

ABOUT 1.3 million small business owners will get a New Year tax bonus worth $440 million in the latest government response to the global financial crisis.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is expected to unveil a 20 per cent cut to small business pay-as-you-go installments for the first quarter of next year.

The waiver is designed to help small businesses who are expecting revenue to fall in the next few months, and will be available to enterprises with a turnover of less than $2 million.

The small business waiver is the latest installment in the Government’s response to the economic crisis and follows the $10.4 billion economic security strategy.

Mr. Rudd will argue that the package will provide much-needed relief to the “backbone of our economy” and is designed to bolster confidence in the face of flagging economies overseas.

The tax break comes on the back of the latest unemployment data, which shows businesses are so far reluctant to shed full-time staff.

Jobs figures from the Bureau of Statistics for November show a slight increase in the unemployment rate from 4.3 per cent to 4.4 per cent – a loss of 15,600 jobs.

Full-time jobs actually rose by 8800, and economists say reliable core workers are being kept on.
But after Rio Tinto said it would shed 14,000 jobs worldwide, sackings are expected to increase in the next few months.

“The risk is for further substantial declines as large employers shed staff and cut costs to remain competitive in what will be a difficult operating environment in 2009,” TD Securities senior strategist Joshua Williamson said.
Mr. Rudd said Rio Tinto’s decision was a reminder of the tough times ahead.
Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull said the Government had to focus all of its energy on keeping people in jobs.
“Every aspect of government policy – every element, every program, every priority – must be focused on jobs,” Mr. Turnbull said.

*source- Herald Sun