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A beginner’s guide to a depreciation schedule

A depreciation schedule is a necessary tool that every property investor or business owner must have if they want to pay less tax and recover debt faster. It has been said that in some circles up to 80% of investors don’t know that they can depreciate their investment property, some don’t even understand what depreciation is.

 

Claiming the property and the items inside it on your tax return will give you a higher return, but not straight away. Items depreciate over time, and their depreciation costs will increase the longer an investor owns them because they’re given a ‘lifespan’ for their usefulness. Any item, from the fire alarm in the ceiling to the carpet on the floor, depreciates in value. Items under $300 are instant write-offs.

 

The depreciation schedule

It always contains two categories: capital works, and plant and equipment. Capital works are part of the property itself and any renovations done to the structure. Work done to the kitchen, the carpets, and even the patio gets included in capital works depreciation.

 

The plant and equipment category is comprised of items that can easily be moved out of the home or commercial premises. Whitegoods, furniture, electricals, and even rubbish bins are included. This is the category that some investors have trouble with because they don’t know they can even claim rubbish bins as an instant write-off.

 

The depreciation calculations, though, rarely get done by the investor who owns the property; this is a job for a quantity surveyor. After the property settlement, the new owners must get a surveyor in as soon as possible so they can make an accurate assessment. They’re the ones who write up the depreciation schedule. They calculate the value of the items in the home and how they’ll decline in value over time. Depreciation schedules last forty years, starting from the settlement date.

 

Investors don’t have to worry about working the depreciation schedule into their tax return, either. Once the quantity surveyor has completed their assessment, the investor’s accountant can handle the rest. They use the schedule as a guide to assist in making an accurate return. They’ll do their best to make sure their client pays as little tax, and gets the best refund, possible.

 

Business owners without a depreciation schedule are missing out hundreds of thousands of dollars over the time they own a property. Contractors like Deppro come to assess what their clients can claim, and work hard to ensure they get the maximum amount back.

How your depreciation schedule give you bragging rights

Having a depreciation schedule isn’t anyone’s idea of a ‘must-have accessory’ but it pays off in more ways than one. Seasoned investors and business owners with several properties under their belts know well the bragging rights they’re afforded when they’ve got the depreciation schedule in their hands.

 

It’s less work
Tax time is the bane of most people’s existence . Organising account information, making sure expenses are correct and the like is a pain if you’re not organised. When you own investment properties, or brick-and-mortar stores, the amount of work increases substantially.

This is where the depreciation report comes in. After the quantity surveyor does their walk through and the company mails you the report, a large bulk of the tax reporting for those properties is complete. You don’t have to triple-check bills or receipts for a long time unless you do renovations.

 

It lasts for a LONG time
Ordering a depreciation report isn’t an annual task. It’s valid for the lifetime of the property. Companies like Deppro create reports that last forty years, so you’re set for life, or at least as long as you have the homes/shops in your portfolio.

This means, though, you must act quickly. As soon as you settle the deal with the real estate agent, get the depreciation experts in to assess. They prefer to see everything in the condition you bought it to make an accurate report. If the previous owners made renovations, then that’s a bonus as you’re eligible to claim their work in the report!

 

More (money) for you
The biggest bragging right of all? You’re paying less tax! Because you got the depreciation report done and passed off to your accountant in record time, there’s more money flowing back to you come tax time.

Fun fact: the fee for ordering the depreciation schedule is deductible.

A depreciation report isn’t glamorous, but its benefits are worth their weight in the size of your tax return. You can feel a little smug having less work on your plate organising expenses. Your accountant has the report, and you have the time to run your business.