Depreciation assistance for real estate professionals

To make a sale, real estate agents need to rely on cold hard facts. Their clients need assurances that the property they’re seeing is the best investment for them. It doesn’t matter if the property is a commercial building or a home; if there’s benefits available, it’s music to anyone’s ears.

 

There’s two classes in a depreciation schedule: capital works, and plant & equipment. Capital works are things the ATO considers permanently fixed to the building (bricks, mortar, wiring etc). Plant and equipment is a different matter. Items in this category are things that can easily be removed from the building such as carpet, furniture, and even the smoke alarms. Thanks to age and general wear, the items in both categories will lose value over time. This creates an amount that can get claimed on a tax return every year.

 

Having access to ATO-approved depreciation schedules almost on-demand is a great asset for real estate agents and property managers. They can present tangible tax benefits to their clients during a sit-down meeting or even during a property inspection.

 

Real estate agents know that their clients are looking for the best deal. Presenting the depreciation schedule is a huge advantage in helping them close a sale. Depreciation is essentially the same as savings, or money back from a PAYG statement. It shows the property’s earning potential and can be the difference between a negative-geared asset and turning a profit every week.

 

Property managers will also benefit from professional depreciation assistance. If their client is unsure of the tax breaks their property can provide, managers can look up a deprecation report just as easily as a real estate agent. Oftentimes the investor doesn’t know they can order the depreciation report themselves and turns to their manager for help.

 

The benefits that real estate agents and property managers can reap from depreciation assistance are numerous. They don’t just build trust with their client by providing the basis for sound advice. They’ll net a sale and gain a reputation for handling properties with amazing tax benefits.

FAQs on capital gains tax

Capital gains tax is one of the complicated terms in the investment world. It’s essential, though, to understand it when it’s time to sell your investment property. We break down some of the frequently asked questions about capital gains tax here.

 

  • What does it mean?

Capital gain means you sell your asset for a profit. This includes investment properties and shares. Selling an asset for a capital loss is when you lose money on that asset come sale time.

 

  • What’s excluded from CGT?

Capital gains tax only applies to your assets, not your personal property. Your personal home, car, and collectables are excluded from taxation. According to the ATO website, depreciating items don’t count in calculating capital gains tax. This is usually plant & equipment in your rental property portfolio. Also excluded are:

  • Injury compensation
  • Personal assets like boats and furniture
  • Anything bought before September 20th, 1985 (pre-CGT)
  • Winnings or losses from gambling

 

  • Do rates vary?

That depends if you’re an individual or a business. The rate paid to you is the same as that of your income tax rate the year of your return. The way capital gains tax is calculated remains the same. The most common method is subtracting your cost base from the sale price of your property.

 

The cost base is how much you bought the property for, plus any associated expenses. This includes stamp duty, plus legal and incidental costs. You also must subtract depreciating items. Finder.com visualising the calculations like this:
capital gains tax

 

  • Can I get a discount on my capital gains tax?

Yes, you can get a discount on your tax, but only if you’ve held the asset for more than 12 months. You can also claim a discount for the amount of time the asset was used for personal reasons.

 

If you’re not sure about your capital gains tax, there’s free calculators available from investment websites like Your Investment Property.

This is how to get your best tax return yet

Tax-time isn’t something to fear if you have your affairs in order. At the end of it you get something even better: a tax refund! The ease of filing your your tax return depends on you and how you handle your affairs. The amount you get back depends on what you know you can claim. We have some advice to help you handle both.

 

Deppro handles property depreciation reports, not tax, but we know a thing or two about the latter. ‘Tax depreciation’ is the same thing as property depreciation. It’s part of your annual taxable income.

 

The cost of a depreciation schedule is actually fully deductible, along with whatever depreciation amount you can claim that year. That’s more money going back into your bank account!

 

Investment property is a source of income, and you must list it on your tax return. Depreciation is the ‘extra’ essential that can push you further to your goal. Imagine paying off your loan or now having the potential to buy another property. Depreciation earns investors tens of thousands of dollars over the time they hold the assets in their portfolio. That’s just for one property. Imagine being in the 1% club and having six or more.

 

To get your best-ever tax return, you need your accountant on your side. You would’ve handed over your tax depreciation report to them, anyway. It’s their job to file a return that gets you the best amount back possible.

 

Before you meet with them, it’s possible to estimate how much you’ll get back. The ATO releases a new edition of their tax return estimator every year, and it’s free to use. You need:

  • Your PAYG statement (for gross income and tax withheld)
  • A list of your tax offsets and what you can claim
  • Calculation of your Medicare levy
  • To know your residency

If your numbers are accurate and you have the correct information, what you get from your accountant won’t be much different. If at all.

 

To get your best-ever tax return, you must be organised. When the end of financial year comes, you need these tools in order to claim:

  • Your accountant
  • PAYG statement
  • Depreciation report
  • List of tax offsets

Not all tools are free, but they pay for themselves in the end thanks to that amazing tax refund!

Tying your depreciation schedule to your tax return in Australia

Your depreciation and tax return in Australia is your best asset for putting money away into your bank account. It doesn’t matter if you live and work overseas. Your Australian revenue is guaranteed when you have investment properties and professionals taking care of them.

 

When you purchase investment properties, whether commercial or residential, you must always declare the income they bring you. Returns are minor in the beginning thanks to negative gearing. This happens when the overall expense of maintaining the property costs more than your rental income. But you’ll get your money back over time thanks to depreciation and claiming other items on tax.

 

As your property, and the items in it, depreciate over time, it equals more money in your bank account. You’ll receive the maximum benefit when you get a depreciation schedule from a professional. We have a lot of clients asking about this process and how it works. This is what we tell them:

 

  • Buy the property and finalise the settlement
  • Call Deppro and schedule a visit
  • The quantity surveyor visits the property, takes pictures, and makes notes
  • Answer any questions the surveyor has and provide the necessary documents
  • Your depreciation schedule arrives

 

When you receive your depreciation report, hand it over to your accountant who manages your tax return in Australia. They’ll amend past returns and use the report to get you the best amount back on future ones.

 

It’s easier than you might think to tie your depreciation schedule to your tax return in Australia. Of course you’ll be affected by negative gearing (unless you snapped up an amazing property), but depreciation and other tax deductions over time will earn your money back. Once the quantity surveyor has done their job and the report is yours, hand it over to your accountant. They’ll make sure your investment pays off.

5 ways to find the best property investment

The idea of property investment is exciting. Whether you’re looking to expand your business or you’re an investor wanting to add another portfolio, the anticipation outweighs the dread…most of the time. People who are new to the property game often find themselves disappointed and reaching too far outside their budget. How do you avoid this yourself?

 

  • Be realistic

You have dreams, but reality will give you a rude awakening if you’re not careful. Working towards a goal slowly and steadily ensures stable growth. If you peak too high, too fast it will all come crashing down. Not meeting payments, having bad tenants, or finding faults with the property after purchase are all possibilities if you rush into buying.

 

  • Hunt everywhere

Even though most people still look for their next property investment online, the newspaper listings are still a valuable resource.

When we say hunt everywhere, we also mean broaden your search radius. Seasoned property investors and business owners have places all around Australia. Search online for the best growth suburbs in Australia, you’re bound to see something that ticks the boxes. Which leads us to the next point.

 

  • Write a list

This will keep you on track, and honest. Whether you call it a purchase plan, a property checklist, or something else, make sure it’s on hand when you’re looking at places. If you’re concerned about depreciation, add these to the list:

  • Has any renovation work been done recently?
  • Are the fixtures in good condition?
  • Will this still give me income X years from now?
  • What’s the area in meters squared?

 

  • Turn off your emotions

This step is crucial. Letting your emotions get into the mix leads to burnout and heartache. When things don’t turn out the way you hope (you lose the bid, offer rejected, etc) of course it’s disappointing. But you keep your chin up and carry on. The best property investment for you is out there; you just have to look a little harder.

This point ties into point number one about realism. If you’re an investor looking for rental properties, don’t think about the hunt as looking for your dream home. Not even if it’s ten years down the track. You’re looking for a place that will attract tenants and generate income for you. The best property investment for you might be a home or an apartment that doesn’t  suit your tastes, but will be perfect for someone who rents it from you.

 

  • Get the professionals on your side

As soon as the property is settled, call Deppro to have a quantity surveyor inspect the property. You’ll receive the best, most accurate depreciation schedule if they see the place in its original condition.

Also invest in a property manager to find tenants (again, avoiding emotional investment). They’ll manage the bulk of caring for your portfolio. After you receive your tax depreciation report, hand it over to your accountant. They’ll make sure you get the maximum refund every year, contributing to your coffers so you can keep growing.

4 common rental property depreciation questions

We answer rental property depreciation questions on a daily basis here at Deppro, and some have popped up more than others. If you’re new to the tax depreciation world, or just need a refresher to jog your memory, read on.

 

 

  • What’s the difference between ongoing and capital expenses?

 

When you hire a property manager, pay for advertising and cleaning, alongside various fees and rates for council and the like, they’re ongoing expenses.

Capital expenses contribute directly to your rental property depreciation. Capital works like the rendering of the building, any electrical work or appliances installed are eligible.

 

 

  • How can I measure depreciation potential?

 

You can go the old fashioned route and crunch the numbers yourself, but what’s the point if you don’t have to? Deppro has a free online depreciation estimate tool that’s trusted by investors, tax agents, and real estate professionals. You’ll need the following information:

  • Date of construction
  • Purchase price
  • Floor area
  • Location
  • Type of structure

 

 

  • Can I claim depreciation on previous renovations?

 

Yes you can! The beauty of rental property depreciation is you can claim existing works on any structure built after 1987, regardless of who completed them. You own the building after settlement, so the plant & equipment and capital works depreciation are yours.

 

 

  • What can I deduct at tax time?

 

This is one of the rental property depreciation questions we can’t answer. If you’re looking to claim deductions for your tax return, it’s better to ask your accountant. They’ll have your existing portfolio, previous tax history, and the other information they need to give you a better answer.

What you can depreciate is another matter. For example, if a tenant has caused damage to the property and you need to conduct capital works to fix them. You’ll have to make adjustments to the depreciation schedule, but you can claim depreciation on the works for as long as you own the property.

 

Customers rely on Deppro to answer their rental property depreciation questions before and after adding to their portfolios. Our blog has extensive advice on a range of topics and we’re available anytime over phone, or at our offices in capital cities around Australia.

3 real estate strategies to build the ultimate portfolio

Commercial, residential, apartments, houses, duplexes; the potential in real estate is endless. There’s different real estate strategies that investors can use for any of the above. Each approach has its pros, cons, and methods that will build your portfolio into something amazing.

 

Commercial property

There’s more differences between commercial and residential real estate than just the name. When placing a deposit on a commercial property, expect to put down up to 30% of the settlement price. You’ll also need a tenant that guarantees income no matter how competitive the market.

Lots of work goes into researching commercial real estate. Investors must look at demographics, market potential, spending habits of residents, and the like to make sure they get the best return. When the tenant signs the lease, the contract will last a long time compared to a residential one. Think between three and ten years.

 

Capital growth

You put a lot of work into finding a good piece of real estate, so it should work for you in return. Capital growth means you hold onto the home for a while, expecting it to make a nice profit when the time comes to sell. The resale price is affected thanks to area profile like access to schools, public transport and shopping.

Investors using this strategy must have patience if they want to see the benefits. Working a depreciation schedule into this will also help you net a larger profit. When the building depreciates, so does the cost base. Lower cost base (aka lower worth at resale) means less capital gains tax to pay.

 

Surrounding suburbs

It’s oh so tempting to buy in a capital city, but it costs more money and there’s often too much competition. The Australian apartment glut means investors are snapping up properties in bulk, almost suffocating each other in one suburb or just one building.

Popular growth areas aren’t just suburbs in the city. Regional, outlying real estate is great for negative gearing, with the eventual goal of a profit at resale. This is because investors see the potential in the homes and the general area and have the patience to wait for the right time to sell.

5 types of property investor

There’s a common perception that a property investor lives the high life. Their portfolio rakes in hundreds of thousands of dollars that funds an extravagant lifestyle others can only dream of. This is true, but only for a small number of them. One type of property investor likes to boast about their success, others prefer to keep it quiet. Do any of these traits look familiar?

 

The dreamer: This type of property investor has big visions of wealth, owning a large portfolio, and making it in the ‘big leagues’. You’ll find them constantly looking at property listings and researching suburbs with good growth. It’s good that this investor does their homework, but their dream might cost them if they put down a deposit they can’t afford. In property, you must spend money before you can make it, something that this type forgets.

 

The renovator: This property investor looks at the old and outdated, sometimes the crumbling, and sees something beautiful: potential. Occasionally they’ll buy the home for the sake of the land because it’s in a good location, and demolish the house. They’ll build it up again into a property that will attract tenants and give them a better return. This type of property investor, though, has sometimes  watched too many renovation shows and has visions of doing everything themselves. That’ll turn the investment property into a money pit rather than an asset.

 

The silent assassin: You’ve seen agents and reps on the phone at auctions communicating with their clients and making bids. This type of property investor has the experience to know what they want. They’ll trust a rep to inspect the property on their behalf and put down money at the auction.

Another side to this investor is they’ve often got a full or part-time job that keeps them busy. They don’t boast about their property prowess. When they turn up at the auction they’ll wear sunglasses and stand at the back of the crowd. They look like a silent observer…until the bidding begins.

 

The wise: This property investor isn’t necessarily older, but they’ve got experience in the property market. They were born into it, had an early interest, or just educated themselves. The wise property investor does their research, knows the best growth suburbs, and has their property manager on speed dial.

 

The one-home ponies: This type is probably your parents, or someone else’s. After the children leave the nest, their parents move into a smaller home. Some will sell the family house, others will renovate it and lease it out to tenants. They’re an ‘accidental’ investor, and don’t think of hiring a property manager or getting a depreciation report until someone else suggests it.

What NOT to do before and after getting your property report

One of the great successes you can make as an investor is getting your property report done and dusted to accurately list all claimable tax depreciation items. By having a tax depreciation schedule, you’re getting more money in your tax returns and that can take you to your financial goals faster. But if you make mistakes like these, it’ll end up costing you instead.

 

Maintenance

Ideally, you want to have purchased a property that’s recently undergone renovations. It’s fixtures are relatively new and you can claim depreciation on work the previous owner has done.

If you did your homework before signing on the dotted line, then there’s not much cause for concern. But a crumbling, ‘project’ property will drain the money faster than you can earn it back because you’re spending it on new fittings and appliances.

 

Tenants

When you submit your property report to your accountant, the next step is to hire a property manager to look for tenants. Don’t do this job yourself; it makes the hard stuff more complicated down the road. For example, what happens after you get friendly and the tenants do something that would normally get them evicted? Are you prepared to look them in the eye and ask them to move out?

Letting a property manager choose the tenants will save you an emotional and financial headache. A good tenant won’t cost you money because they treat your property with respect and follow the rules.  

 

Investment Strategy

Like any business owner, you’re hiring professionals like depreciation specialists to take care of your property report. You’re paying property managers to handle your asset so you can focus on expanding your portfolio. All of this is part of an investment strategy. Don’t treat the property game like a hobby; it’s a business.

Having success in property investment means having a level head and doing the right things. By not buying old, crumbling buildings and by letting someone else screen tenants, you’re on your way to becoming a successful businessperson. Tax depreciation, property reports, and other formal matters are hard tasks, but worthwhile when you’re creating a successful brand. Having the professionals, like Deppro, on your side makes it easier.

How to survive investing in property

Investing in property is a path many choose to grow their wealth. Experienced investors, like those who take mentorship roles in Property Club, have a couple of dozen properties around Australia. Others are content with having just two or three in their portfolio. First-timers wonder, though: how do these experienced investors survive the game?

 

One aspect is knowing what could go wrong, and taking measures to prevent it. Investing in property isn’t a matter of ‘I’ll buy a place and hope for the best’. It’s a strategic game, and there’s every chance of losing. Dodgy tenants, bad property managers, natural disasters, and debt,  are just some of what can go wrong.

 

It’s important for investors to do their homework, and those who’ve played the game a while don’t even have to think about it. Seasoned investors look at property condition, the potential for capital gains tax, the ideal tenant for the place, and how much competition (other investors) there is in the surrounding area.

 

When you’re investing in property, you’ll also need a team of professionals on your side to handle the things you can’t. The same way you’d call a plumber to fix the pipes, you need a depreciation professional to make your depreciation schedule. Deppro’s quantity surveyors do their best work after the deal on the property is settled and they can inspect it in the condition you bought it. If you want to continue investing in property, having a depreciation schedule in hand will get you there faster.

 

To survive investing in property it’s important to know the risks, accept them, and do whatever you can to prevent them. You also need to do your homework on the house, apartment, or whatever else you want to add to your portfolio. To have a chance in the game, call on professionals like Deppro to get the ‘official business’ around your tax depreciation sorted.