Small businesses are staying turtled, refusing to take advantage of the government’s $20,000 instant asset tax write-off.

In a Galaxy Research poll of 500 small business owners (conducted on behalf of Optus) it was found 59 per cent of businesses employing 20 or fewer people hadn’t taken the offer. 29 per cent of businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50,000 had availed themselves of the write-off; while 51 per cent of those with a turnover in excess of $200,000 had jumped at the free money.

Of those who have used the government’s grant, 28 per cent of businesses in metropolitan areas used the cash for tools and equipment, while 23 per cent invested in technology. 23 per cent of businesses in regional areas invested in new tools and equipment, while only 14 per cent spent the money on technology.

It was found the most likely business to make an investment are those employing 6 to 19 people (60 per cent), those employing 2 to 5 people took up the offer 41 per cent of the time; while only 35 per cent of sole traders availed themselves of the opportunity.

The government is desperate to incentivise businesses to invest in research and development, to take some risks, and find new markets. This instant tax write-off was to accomplish just that; it appears to have failed.

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