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Tax Considerations When Investing in Australian Properties as an Expat

Investors invest in Australian property for a number of reasons. Among the other advantages, such as the location and stable investment options, tax advantages constitute one of the primary reasons for the decision.

That said, there is a different set of tax laws for Aussies who live overseas. Does it make it a less attractive option to invest in the properties in Australia? Certainly not, if you make some fundamental considerations before proceeding with your investment decisions. Read on further to find out more about these tax considerations.

Key Tax Considerations for Non-Resident Aussies before Investing In Australian Property

  1. Tax Deductions: If you rent out your newly purchased property in Australia, you can claim tax deductions relating to the costs of maintaining it. This includes both cash and non-cash deductions.
  2. Depreciation: In layman’s terms, tax depreciation is a form of tax deduction which is concerned with the reduction in the renovation and improvements of rental property. You can claim it on your tax filings in connection with your income. It considers the fact that certain improvements such as carpets, kitchen cupboards and curtains that you make to your property on rent are likely to diminish in value over time. This generally happens due to wear and tear.
  3. Negative Gearing: Negative gearing refers to a kind of financial leverage wherein an investor borrows a certain amount of money with the objective of owning a piece of property to generate income. Normally, the piece of property in question is greater in value than the income which is likely to trickle into the wallet of an investor due to the investment.

If you are seeking ideas about claiming depreciation on investment property based on negative gearing, you can use this concept to cut down your losses with respect to your other income sources. This will help you to minimize your overall tax liability and taxable income in a year. Whether you are a native or non-resident Australian, you are entitled to receiving the benefits of negative gearing to reduce your losses.

  1. Capital Gains Tax: Sometimes the value of a property may hit the upward trajectory owing to various reasons. If an investor holds a piece of property for at least twelve months and decides to sell it thereafter, they become eligible to claim the capital gains tax. It involves one’s marginal income tax rate and provides a tax discount on 50% of capital gains to Australian residents. Unfortunately, if you are not an Australian resident you do not receive the benefits unless you qualify for it by meeting certain tax laws.

Conclusion:

When it comes to dealing with Australian tax laws, the wise thing to do is get in touch with an expert from a reputable depreciation service firm such as Deppro. Irrespective of whether you are a resident or non-resident, do not forget to consult the experts from a reputed firm before filing your depreciation claim to be on the safe side. They can be the real guardian angels for you when you are in a state of a fix.

Depreciation rules for your rental property | Articles from around the web

Confused about depreciation rules for your rental property? Did you even know there were rules in the first place? Depreciation, tax and claims processes are large and confusing mazes, so we gathered articles from around the web that make things crystal clear.

 

The One Depreciation Law Change You Absolutely Need To Know by Deppro

Investors who hold both commercial and residential properties were thrown for a loop in May 2017. Starting from July, the beginning of the new financial year, the Federal Budget came into effect with new depreciation rules. These rules affect what owners can claim which in turn claims how much they get back over time.

 

How Rental Property Depreciation Works by Investopedia

Investopedia is a useful website both novices and experts can refer to. The page linked above goes into the basics of depreciation such as how it’s calculated and when it ‘begins’. Hint: it’s not actually after the settlement date.

Make sure you’re square before the tenants move in

 

Top 10 tips to help rental property owners avoid common tax mistakes by the ATO

Rental property owners must navigate complicated tax rules. Not navigating them correctly leads to costly penalties. To help the common Australian investor, the ATO made a top 10 list of tax mistakes to avoid. These include what type of expenses to claim, as well as the right portion of costs and how to keep the right records.

If you need a printout to have on your nightstand, there’s a PDF available to download.

 

Claiming Depreciation on Investment Property: The property investor’s complicated friend by Investor Assist

This page is a one-stop-shop for investors wanting to know more about the process. There’s an uncomplicated list of depreciation rules, definitions and examples of what assets you can claim.

The page also describes the methods used to calculate depreciation costs, prime cost vs. diminishing value. But the quantity surveyor handles these calculations, not the investor. Once the values are worked out they go into the depreciation report. This crucial investment tool is recommended at the end of the page as the final step of claiming depreciation on an investment property.

Need more advice? Read these:

  1. Rentvesting: a forgotten way to own and rent at the same time
  2. Behave like a 1% investor with these tips

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.

How to get on top of property depreciation

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.