Update on the tax status of laptops

Michael Davies pointed out in email that the changes to laptop purchases and taxation have already taken effect, there is no window of opportunity to buy a new private-use laptop and still salary sacrifice it. Depreciation on existing laptops purchased via salary sacrifice can be claimed for the 2007/2008 tax year, but that’s the last time.

The Government will tighten the current fringe benefit tax (FBT) exemption for certain work‑related items (including laptop computers, personal digital assistants and tools of trade) by ensuring the exemption only applies where these items are used primarily for work purposes… The measure will apply to items purchased after 7.30 pm (AEST) on 13 May 2008. The measure reduces the FBT concession and tax expenditure for work‑related items…

The Government will also deny employees depreciation deductions for FBT exempt items (that is, items purchased primarily for work purposes) purchased from 7.30 pm (AEST) on 13 May 2008. For items purchased before that time, employees will be denied depreciation deductions for the 2008‑09 and later income years. This measure will ensure that employees are no longer able to gain a double benefit by obtaining an FBT exempt item (such as a laptop computer) from their pre‑tax income, and then claim a deduction for depreciation.

Budget Paper No. 2 > Part 1: Revenue Measures > Treasury