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The one depreciation law change you absolutely need to know

The 2017/18 Federal Budget brought about some changes that directly affect investors looking at properties to buy in the future. Starting from May 9th 2017, the ability to claim depreciation on certain assets has changed.

From July 1, 2017, the Government will limit plant and equipment depreciation deductions to outlays actually incurred by investors in residential real estate properties.

 

So what does this mean?

When you buy a property from a previous investor, you can’t claim the plant and equipment deductions. Capital works aren’t affected, so you can still earn money back from this.

Plant and equipment are the ‘easily removable’ items located in the property such as bins, white goods and any other furniture that you bought for the home. Remember  that anything $300 or less can instantly get written off as an expense.

 

I bought a property before the May 9th announcement

Then you’re in the clear. You can still claim plant and equipment depreciation if you settled the home before 7:30 pm on May 9th.

If you settled after, then unfortunately you’re out of luck. It doesn’t matter if those taps or that couch are a few months old. To claim, you must ‘incur the expense’ yourself.

 

So what CAN I do?

Capital works depreciation is still claimable, so investor’s don’t totally lose out. You can also pay less capital gains tax when the property sells for a profit. Simply subtract the resale value of the plant and equipment from the time of purchase to how much it’s valued by the time you sell.

Purchase value – resale value = CGT offset

Investor’s won’t have to do the maths themselves, however. The quantity surveyor writes these calculations on the depreciation schedule.

 

Do I need to rethink my investment strategy?

You certainly need to scrutinise potential purchases a lot more closely. Your aim is to generate income from a rental property, whether commercial or residential. There’ll always be a debt and recovery period before you make a profit. With the new law changes, investors will look at new homes now more than ever over second-hand properties.

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!

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.

Avoid emotional fallout when investing in property with these tips

There’s never one, simple reason for investing in property. Buyers might want to add to an existing  portfolio, start a renovation project, or have a home to rent out for holidays. Humans are only, well, human and emotions sometimes run high when it comes to property.

 

Avoiding emotions is difficult; you can’t shut them off completely. When you get something you want it’s natural to feel happiness, even elation. But the opposite is sadness and downright devastation. First-time investors and buyers are most susceptible to this because they lack experience in the area. The emotional burnout of hunting for properties and attempting to invest, only to get rejected, is severe.

 

Seasoned investors have gone through the initial roller-coaster of emotion and know that they’re investing in property for their potential tenants, not themselves. Investors have the experience to analyse properties with a near ‘clinical’ eye. They categorise the positives and the negatives of the home, whether it fits the profile of their ideal tenant, and if it will generate any income.

 

One way to deal with the emotions, and all the highs and lows that come with them, is developing  a business mindset. Take the personal bias out of the equation and ask yourself: “what would an investor do?” Don’t go about investing in property because you hope to move into it  one day or it fits the mould of your dream house. Your tastes, great as they are, don’t suit everyone.

 

Another way is to get the professionals on your side. The buyers agents and property specialists at your bank are unbiased and will honestly say if a particular home is a smart buy. When you’re looking at property for investment, you want to buy a place that generates income. It’s not pleasant when a depreciation specialist comes back with a report saying you basically purchased a money pit.

 

Emotions are fine, but emotional fall out is not. Avoid making irrational decisions by changing your mindset and getting the professionals on your side.

Depreciation on investment property makes life easier

Investors and business owners order depreciation on investment property so they can efficiently handle expenses. Many investors, though, don’t know about depreciation and how it can make their lives easier. It absolutely pays off financially, and there’s other perks as well.

Most people don’t think about taxes everyday, but the professionals do. Ordering a depreciation report on investment property removes a lot of guesswork and takes the pressure off their minds. Thanks to the experts, they can make accurate deductions for the time they own the properties in their portfolios. Deppro’s reports last forty years, long enough to hold the property and sell it on.

Access to a depreciation schedule is easy for any investor, whether they’re just starting out or played the game for a while. Companies like Deppro exist to help people at any stage of their investment game. They’ll explain how the report works, how items are categorised, and what to do after the clients get the depreciation schedule in their hands. This makes life easier, especially for newcomers, because the experts are taking care of everything.

When you ask the experts for help with depreciation for investment property, you’re also getting an education. Deppro guides their clients through the process of ordering the report and how to use it to maximise deductions. You’ll also learn what a quantity surveyor does, and what items will fall under ‘capital works’ if you ever renovate your property.

When you get expert help for depreciation on investment property you’re making less work for yourself. You get a depreciation schedule that lasts for decades and saves you worrying about accurate numbers. The report, and the expert help that comes with it, is accessible to anyone at any stage of building a portfolio. You’ll also learn a few things along the way, like how to use the report for taxes, and whether you can claim the new carpet for the office as a deductible expense (yes, you can).

What everybody ought to know about tax depreciation

There’s experts out there, like Deppro, who efficiently handle tax depreciation so their clients can get the best possible return. Seasoned property investors know about tax depreciation and how to claim deductions every year. This article is for the first-time investors wanting to get in the market, but not quite able to wrap their head around depreciation.

 

  • It’s a claimable expense

Tax depreciation is deductible from your income, giving you a greater tax return.

 

  • You need a depreciation schedule

This is absolutely necessary so investors and business owners can claim the maximum amount over time. Depreciation schedules begin from the settlement date and estimate the value of taxable items over their useful lifetime.

Getting a depreciation schedule takes the guesswork out of evaluating items in your property as the years pass. Quantity assessors, like those who work for Deppro, will do an inspection. The depreciation company uses these to write a report and a depreciation schedule. These are delivered to the client within the month. This often overlooked information helps investors significantly boost their returns.

 

  • You can buy more properties

The money earned back from tax depreciation lessens the debt investors take on when they buy property. It’s common for them to use the extra funds to expand their portfolio. Once they do, they repeat the process of getting a depreciation assessment.

 

  • The report isn’t an annual thing

The quantity surveyor will only need to visit the property once. They’ll take pictures and make notes before heading back to the office and drawing up the report, outlining the values of the items they see. If you do renovations on the home, though, you will need to update this report for an accurate schedule. You’ll get in trouble with the ATO if you make a claim with false information.

 

  • ATO approval

The depreciation schedule must come from a registered tax agent so that it complies with guidelines from the ATO.  Deppro’s quantity surveyors are educated, accredited, and take pride in providing accurate reports.

Rental property depreciation mistakes to avoid

Rental property depreciation is a bit of a mouthful but it’s an essential part of owning an investment property. Everyone makes mistakes when it comes to complicated tax matters, and that’s the reason why clients come to Deppro for professional help. We list a few common mistakes (plus more here) so you can avoid them.

 

  • People don’t depreciate. Ever.

80% of property investors neglect having their rental property assessed for depreciation. This mistake costs them thousands of dollars over the time they own the house, with the money they could earn going back into tax instead.

Deppro calculates that getting a depreciation report can earn investors back  60% of the property’s purchase price. These funds are often used to save for future properties.

 

  • Confusing the categories

The deprecation specialists place items of value into two categories: plant and equipment, and capital works.

Plant and equipment: The owners often move these into the house when they buy it, and they can be removed just as easily. Items in this category include:

  • Hot water systems
  • Air-con units
  • Furniture
  • Whitegoods
  • Curtains

The other category is capital works. These items are built into the house. They include:

  • Cupboards
  • Clotheslines
  • Fences
  • Timber (decking)
  • Bathroom fixtures

There’s more information from the ATO about assets eligible for depreciation in this PDF.

 

  • People overlook potential deductions

Investors make this mistake a lot because they don’t know what they can claim. This all adds up to a larger depreciation on the report the new owner receives. Claimable items include something as large as a swimming pool to something as innocuous as a smoke alarm. These potential deductions leave investors out of pocket when they’re not claimed.

If you’re an investor and don’t have a depreciation schedule, you’re missing out on thousands of dollars in returns every year. Those who do have a schedule are liable to make mistakes, like confusing what item goes into which category. To avoid mistakes like this, get an expert like Deppro on your side to take the guesswork out of rental property depreciation.