​Budget 2015: AU$7.8m for crowdfunding framework

The Australian government is putting ASIC in charge of AU$7.8 million to establish a crowdsourced equity funding regulatory framework.

Over the next four years from 2015-16, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will receive AU$7.8 million from the federal government to implement and monitor a regulatory framework to facilitate the use of crowdsourced equity funding (CSEF).

Under the new framework, ASIC will also regulate and monitor simplified reporting and disclosure requirements of CSEF.

The initiative comes under one of the key focuses for the federal government's 2015 Budget: To provide major incentives for businesses, particularly small businesses, to invest, hire, and grow under its AU$5.5 billion Jobs and Small Business package.

"CSEF is an emerging form of funding that allows entrepreneurs to raise funds online from a large number of small investors, and has the potential to increase funding options available for entrepreneurs to assist in the development of their business," the government announced in the Budget.

"The government's Growing Jobs and Small Business package will help small business invest more, grow, and employ more Australians."

As part of the Jobs and Small Business package, small businesses will also be able to begin immediately deducting a range of professional-related expenses associated with starting a new business, such as professional, legal, and accounting advice, valued at under AU$20,000.

"Currently, some professional costs associated with a new business startup are deducted over a five-year period. Allowing startups to immediately deduct these expenses will provide much-needed cash flow for these new businesses," the government said.

In addition, from July 1, 2015, all small businesses -- whether they are incorporated or not -- are expected to receive a tax cut. Small corporations will benefit from a 1.5 percent cut, while unincorporated small businesses will receive a 5 percent tax discount of up to AU$1,000 per annum.