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Temporary Full Expenses – Sole Trader Guide

Let’s face it, traditional asset depreciation is a headache for businesses. Filling in all those tables, schedules, and categorizations involved in traditional asset depreciation makes small businesses and solo operators overwhelmed. The Australian Government has rolled out a game-changer called Temporary Full Expensing (TFE) to simplify the whole depreciation process and make life easier for businesses like yours.

Traditional Depreciation Vs Temporary Full Expenses

Before diving into TFE, let’s understand depreciation. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) mandates depreciation for valuable assets used in business operations. Depreciation spreads the tax benefit of an asset’s cost over its useful life, reducing taxable income gradually. This administrative process entails meticulous calculations and paperwork, posing a challenge for sole traders, especially with pricier assets.

Enter TFE:

TFE revolutionizes the depreciation game for sole traders. It’s a lifeline for assets that typically undergo lengthy depreciation schedules. With TFE, you skip the paperwork and administrative hassle. Instead of spreading out deductions over several years, TFE lets you claim the full cost of eligible assets in a single financial year, just like any other business expense.

Who Is Eligible for Temporary Full Expenses?

Businesses and solo operators must meet certain requirements laid out by the Australian Government to use TFE, which include:

Annual Turnover Thresholds and Second-Hand Asset Eligibility: 

If you’re under the $5 billion mark, you’re in luck – you’re eligible for TFE. And if your turnover sits under $50 million, you can even fully expense eligible second-hand assets. Corporate tax entities that meet the alternative income test are also eligible.

Let’s suppose you’re a small business owner with an annual turnover of $40 million. Boom, you’re in the TFE club. You decide to buy a second-hand forklift for your warehouse. Thanks to TFE, you can write off the entire cost of that forklift in the year you start using it.  

Eligible Income Years:

TFE applies to the  2020–21, 2021–22, and 2022-23 income years.

Eligible Assets:

Deductions can be claimed for the business portion of the cost of eligible new assets first held, used, or installed ready for use for a taxable purpose between 7:30 pm AEDT on 6 October 2020 and 30 June 2023.

Deductions can also be claimed for eligible second-hand assets meeting specific criteria related to the holding, usage, and aggregated turnover.

Improvements incurred between 7:30 pm AEDT on 6 October 2020 and 30 June 2023 to eligible assets are eligible for deductions.

Existing assets held before 7:30 pm AEDT on 6 October 2020 may also be eligible if they meet certain conditions.

Small business entities using simplified depreciation rules and the balance of their small business pool are eligible for TFE.

How Temporary Full Expensing Works

Under TFE, eligible businesses can claim an immediate tax deduction for the full cost of eligible assets in the income year they are first used, installed, or ready for use for business purposes. This means that instead of spreading out the deduction over several years through depreciation, businesses can deduct the entire cost upfront.

What can Businesses Claim Under TFE?

TFE applies to a wide range of eligible assets, including machinery, equipment, vehicles, technology, and other tangible assets used for business operations. The assets must be acquired, installed, or first used for business purposes within specific eligibility periods outlined by the government.

  • New Assets: 

Businesses can claim the entire cost of eligible new assets that are first held, used, or installed ready for use between specific dates outlined by the government. These assets can include machinery, equipment, vehicles, and other tangible assets used for business operations.

  • Improvements to Existing Assets:

TFE allows businesses to claim the full cost of improvements made to existing assets. This could involve upgrades, enhancements, or modifications that increase the value or utility of the asset for business purposes.

  • Second-Hand Assets: 

In addition to new assets, businesses may also be able to claim the full cost of eligible second-hand assets acquired during the specified eligibility period. However, there may be additional conditions or limitations for second-hand assets, particularly regarding their condition and use.

  • Certain Capital Expenditures: 

TFE can apply to a wide range of capital expenditures related to business operations. This could include investments in technology, infrastructure, facilities, and other assets that contribute to the growth and productivity of the business.

  • Business-related Improvements and Upgrades: 

Any expenses incurred for business-related improvements and upgrades, including installation costs, transportation fees, and other expenses directly associated with acquiring and putting the asset into service, may be eligible for full expensing under TFE. Check out our full Guide to Business Related Travel Expenses.

TFE has specific eligibility periods during which businesses can claim the full deduction for eligible assets. These periods are determined by the government and may vary depending on economic conditions and policy objectives.


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    Pros and Cons of Using TFE for Depreciation: 

    Let’s weigh the options. On one hand, TFE gives you immediate tax relief and helps free up cash flow for your business. It’s like getting a financial boost when you need it most. 

    But on the flip side, claiming everything upfront could make your books look a little lopsided in the short term. 

    TFE offers speed and simplicity, but it’s important to consider the long-term implications and how it aligns with your financial strategy.

    Can you choose not to use temporary full expenses?

    Businesses have the option to opt out of TFE for an income year on an asset-by-asset basis if they are not using the simplified depreciation rules.

    TFE & Loss Carry Back Provision

    The loss carry back provision serves as a vital tool for corporate tax entities encountering tax losses attributable to Temporary Full Expensing (TFE) deductions. Here’s how it works:

    The loss carry back provision allows eligible corporate tax entities to offset current tax losses against past profits. In essence, it permits businesses to utilize recent losses to obtain tax refunds from prior years when they were profitable.

    Loss Carry Back Eligibility Criteria and Benefits:

    • To qualify, corporate tax entities must have incurred tax losses in an income year due to TFE deductions.
    • The provision provides relief by allowing businesses to smooth out financial downturns and optimize tax outcomes.
    • Eligible entities can reclaim taxes paid in previous years, thereby enhancing cash flow and providing financial relief during challenging periods.

    Let’s Take an Example 

    Scenario: A manufacturing company invests in new machinery to upgrade its production line. The total cost of the machinery is $100,000, eligible for TFE deductions.

    Application of TFE: Under TFE, the manufacturing company can immediately deduct the full $100,000 cost of the machinery from its taxable income in the year of purchase. This provides significant tax savings and enhances cash flow for the business.

    Simplify Depreciation with Taxly.Ai

    Introducing Taxly.Ai, an innovative solution designed to streamline tax and financial administration for sole traders and small businesses:

    Taxly.Ai offers a user-friendly platform that simplifies depreciation and TFE management. It automates calculations, tracks asset values, and ensures compliance with tax regulations.

    Key Features:

    • Simplifies asset depreciation calculations, saving time and reducing administrative burden.
    • Provides guidance on TFE eligibility and optimizes tax deductions for business assets.
    • Enhances financial visibility and facilitates informed decision-making for business owners.

      Join the Waitlist

      Our mobile app is currently under development but we’ve created a waitlist to let you know as soon as it comes out.

      Final Word

      TFE and simplified depreciation options offer valuable benefits for businesses seeking to optimize tax outcomes and streamline financial processes. It’s essential for businesses to explore TFE provisions and leverage tools like Taxly.Ai to simplify tax management and maximize deductions. By understanding TFE eligibility criteria, utilizing loss carry back provisions, and embracing innovative solutions, businesses can navigate the complexities of depreciation with confidence and efficiency. Remember, professional guidance is available to assist businesses in making informed decisions and achieving financial success.

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      • Jaxon Rylah

        Jaxon Rylah, an Australian of diverse heritage, brings a wealth of expertise to his role as an Author at Taxly.ai. With over 5 years of experience in the field, Jaxon's deep understanding of accounting principles and regulations allows him to provide...


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