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
The other category is capital works. These items are built into the house. They include:
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.
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Property depreciation is a crucial part of managing your taxes and rental property. If you don’t do it, you’re missing out on cash – lots of it. So how does one get on top of their tax depreciation?
First thing’s first: get an expert. Companies like Deppro prepare depreciation reports/schedules that are ATO compliant. Their staff evaluate items for their lifetime value and prepare the report, detailing how they will decrease in value over time. Things in and around the home fall into two categories: plant and equipment, or capital works
Second, get the expert to come as soon as you settle with the real estate agent. Quantity surveyors work best when they see the items in the condition you bought them. If the previous owner has done renovations, you can claim deductions on their work! The ATO will only accept a property depreciation report created by a quantity surveyor, not an accountant. This is because they’re the most qualified to do it. You wouldn’t expect someone who estimates material costs for a living to write your tax return.
That said, the third step is to get your accountant on your side. They help you with your tax return every year, making sure you’re not missing anything you’re eligible to claim. The accountant will treat the property and depreciable items as another asset to claim. They’ll need the property depreciation schedule to properly write out the returns over the years.
Another helpful way to get on top of property depreciation is to make sure you’re buying a property that will pay for itself over the years. A house or apartment that’s recently renovated and meets the criteria to generate high rental income is ideal.
Property depreciation is difficult to wrap your head around. To get on top of it, it’s absolutely necessary to call in experts like Deppro not long after your settlement. When you’ve got the depreciation schedule in hand, you’re set for life, or at least the next forty years.
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In most capital cities of Australia, apart from Melbourne and Sydney, there are still a plentiful supply of properties priced for sale under $500,000. This includes Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart. Major regional centres such as the Gold Coast in Queensland and Bunbury in Western Australia have this abundance of properties as well. In Perth, for example, it’s now an investors paradise. There’s many properties currently listed for sale under $500,000 located within a 20 kilometre radius of the CBD.
$500,000 is around half the median house price of Sydney. Properties in theses competitively priced capital cities offer a low risk entry into the property market. There’s added potential for capital growth moving forward. Yet, it’s important that first time investors take a cautious approach to their first property investment purchase. Realistically, they should focus on buying an investment property for under $500,000.
It’s an unfortunate fact that too many first-time investors financially over expose themselves. They buy an expensive investment property that limits their ability to purchase more in the future. This is especially the case if they purchase an expensive property in the wrong location. That could result in a financial nightmare. In contrast, buying a lower priced property that’s got the potential for strong capital growth is an important building block to creating a successful property portfolio.
Lower priced properties tend to have higher rental returns. This is important in a climate of rising interest rates, with the major banks increasing rates for investors over recent months.
Issues you should consider when buying a lower priced property include:
Spend time researching all aspects of property market before even looking for an investment property. First time property investors need to consider factors like negative or positive gearing, rental returns and depreciation.
Past trends in property values will generally indicate future trends. Therefore, it’s wise to examine the long-term capital growth rates of the suburb.
Take a broad approach to buying an investment property. Most first-time property investors buy a property in their local neighbourhood because they’re familiar with the area. By taking a narrow approach to the location of the investment property, first time investors severely limit their options.
Target suburbs in lower priced areas that have a higher number of properties for sale. A simple tip is to check the internet and weekend papers. This helps investors discover areas with a larger number of property ads.
When you have selected a suburb, don’t make an emotional decision when choosing a specific home. Most first-time investors purchase a property they’d like to live in. It’s important to remember that the investment property must appeal to a tenant who’ll be paying the rent.
Check out any planning changes proposed for the suburb. Many local governments are undertaking reviews of zoning that potentially have a major impact on property values. For example, a property that was purchased for a single residential use and then rezoned by the local council, as a triplex site. The property in turn notably increases in value. The planning department of a local government can inform first time investors of any proposed zoning changes.
Check out any planned infrastructure changes in an area you’re interested in buying. For example, an upgrade of a local shopping centre or a new railway station will make a major impact on local property values.
Make sure that there are tenants prepared to rent your property. Rental income is a key factor in serving the loan. If you can’t find a tenant, then you’ll have problems keeping the investment property over the longer term.
Check your finances before you consider buying anything. If you have pre-approval finance it will allow you to move more quickly to secure the right investment property.
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