The year 2017 saw some changes brought about in the rules governing depreciation on investment property in Australia. The attractive option for claiming tax deductions due to the depreciation of the property value saw a cutoff date being applied – 9th May 2017. People who bought a second-hand property after date could no longer claim the deductions, as per the ATO regulations.
An Overview of Depreciation
We know that any asset undergoes wear and tear as it continues to be used. Accounting principles look at this reduction as a standard percentage of the value which gets reduced from the value of the asset. Under tax laws, this depreciation amount could be set off as a deduction from the tax payable. This would make a substantial change in the cash flows of a property owner. Based on the cost of the property, maintenance costs, reduction in value, and the reduction in tax payable, the depreciation could impact the net yield on investment property.
The New Tax Law
From May 9th onwards in the year 2017, second-hand property purchased would not attract the tax deduction. The only two categories allowable were new assets added to older homes and assets in new homes would allow admissible deductions. Those who were off this new plan could continue to claim under old rules. Also, capital works investments and fixed items added could still be claimed. But any assets that came along with the property went out of the purview of the deduction.
The Better Option between New and Second Hand
Because of this change, property owners needed to rethink their investment strategy. Back of the envelop calculations seem to present a clear picture. It was seen that a new property could work out much cheaper than investing in an older property of the same value. The detailed working of the investment property depreciation schedule ATO would provide a similar answer. What this does is to take the tax benefits out of the equation. So an investor should look at the cost-benefit analysis of the property only. Tax deduction benefits would cease to make a difference to the numbers. So how do the new tax rules affect the comparison between old and new? A property purchased in 2016 might turn out to be of similar value to a brand new property purchased in 2018. This needs investors to recalibrate their calculations carefully and in advance.
In order to get the best property investment returns, an investor would need to calculate carefully. The best way is to leave it to the professionals. Consultants like Deppro could depute their qualified quantity surveyors to get the math right. They would set up the depreciation schedule according to the purchase date. The ATO has detailed lists of what can be claimed and for how much. These quantity surveyors would work out the numbers in accordance with these ATO guidelines. The amount that such a report would cost could ensure savings of higher amount if the calculations are done by a professional.