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Australian innovators seek even playing field in attempt to reverse the brain drain

Australian innovators seek even playing field in attempt to reverse the brain drain

Australian innovators could be set to gain an advantage that will harness the right talent and facilitate growth within the local ICT sector as the Federal Government considers easing the rules on employee share schemes, aiding in a reversal of Australia’s brain drain.

“As the Federal Government considers changes to the employee share scheme rules, it’s imperative we see a significant revamp to the structure that extends to improving the growth conditions for mid-size technology businesses,” said Simon Coulton, National Head of Technology & Media, Grant Thornton Australia.

Mid-size technology businesses would considerably benefit from the use of a globally competitive employee share scheme as an important vehicle to combat wage inflation, while securing the best talent to grow with the business.

“We’re advocating for rules that will allow employees of mid-size businesses to elect when they are taxed. Such an amendment to our taxation legislation would result in a globally competitive situation where tax is payable at the time when employees exercise their rights to the share and have the opportunity to realise any gains, which coincides with a point in time where there is actually a tangible asset to tax.

“Mid-size technology businesses are at a crucial stage of growth and are often missing out on retaining key executives because the current rules are a huge disincentive to providing “skin the game” to employees who have skills attractive to a world-wide market. Changing the rules is an important step to creating an even playing field for our local ICT sector.

“We welcome an initiative that will help our technology businesses grow and prosper in the local market, instead of moving offshore to seek more competitive tax environments for both the business and its employees,” said Mr Coulton.

Anticipated changes to the current rules are expected following the release of the National Industry Investment and Competitiveness Agenda later this year. Businesses should consider current employee share scheme structures against any rule changes announced.


For more information, please contact:

Helina Lilley
National Public Relations Manager
T  +61 2 8297 2421
M  0437 725 520

About Grant Thornton
Grant Thornton Australia has more than 1,300 people working in offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. We are focussed on meeting the needs of dynamic, middle market clients and combine service breadth, depth of expertise and industry insight with an approachable “client first” mindset and a broad commercial perspective.

Grant Thornton is one of the world's leading organisations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms. More than 35,000 Grant Thornton people, across over 100 countries, are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work. A firm recognised locally and globally:

  • 2014 Best managed international firm: MPF Awards For Management Excellence (Grant Thornton International) 
  • 2013 Advisory Team of the Year: Thomson Reuters (Grant Thornton Australia) 
  • 2013 Global Firm of the Year: British Accountancy Awards (Grant Thornton UK)
  • 2013 Network of the Year: International Accounting Bulletin (Grant Thornton International)