As a property investor, you want to maximize the return on your investment, improve your cashflow and lawfully reduce your tax expense. By having Write It Off complete a property depreciation report for you, the total expenses claimable on your tax return are significantly increased and thus reduce your taxable income. This has the effect of greatly reducing your tax obligation and boosts your cashflow and ultimately increasing your return on investment.
As a general rule, depreciation is available to any property owner who obtains assessable income by way of rent from an investment property.
A depreciation deduction acts by reducing your taxable income and, therefore, generating a greater return on your property investment.
Anyone wishing to lodge a tax return with rent from an investment property as part of their income. It provides you with a legitimate tax deduction that has the effect of reducing your taxable income and thus reducing the amount of tax payable.
Below we provide a brief calculated example of using depreciation as a tax deduction and how it improves your tax situation. Note: example is based on an individual tax payer and is illustrative only. In every situation professional tax advice should be obtained from your accountant or tax adviser.
Did Claim Depreciation
Did not Claim Depreciation
*Therefore in this example, if depreciation was not claimed, this tax payer would be worse off by $4,069.00. Important to note that this example is for only the first year and does not take into account of the benefits of future depreciation claims over potentially 40 years.
Capital costs or construction cost is the cost to build, extend or renovate a building (Division 43). It does not include the cost of the land, demolition expenses incurred on removing existing structures, the initial costs to clear the land or soft landscaping such as trees or woodchip or grass. Also no value is allowed to be attributable to your own personal labour if for example you painted the building yourself.
Rates of depreciation are determined by the type of construction and the year in which it was built. Generally speaking any residential investment property built after 18th July 1985 can be depreciated at 2.5% (or 4.0% in some cases if construction falls in certain dates). Capital works deductions are certain types of construction expenditure on your residential investment property. Deductions can apply to capital works such as:
Plant and equipment (Division 40) is a term encompassing items such as curtains, kitchen stove/oven, carpet and vinyl floor coverings and, where applicable, loose furniture such as beds, tables or chairs.
The depreciation of items of plant and equipment is calculated using the effective life of the asset. Generally speaking, the effective life of any depreciating asset is the length of time (in years) the asset can be used to produce taxable income.
As explained above, capital costs (also known as construction costs) is the building itself and fixtures that form part of the building.
Fixtures and fittings (also known as plant, equipment or articles) are generally removable items sitting in the building that if removed would not drastically change the make up of the building or render the building incomplete. eg: Carpet
Repairs and maintenance has sometimes been a bit confusing to some tax payers. You have to be careful when considering whether expenditure is a repair or an improvement to the property. One easy point to remember when trying to determine this is whether or not you have repaired an item to bring it back to its original condition (or working order) or have you improved the item beyond its original condition. Eg: replacing a rotted piece of timber on your pergola is a repair but knocking down the pergola and replacing the entire structure is an improvement. Another example is replacing some fence pailings or replacing the whole timber fence. The first is a repair and the latter is considered an improvement even though you are just restoring the fence to it’s condition because the ATO consider this a completely new asset and must be depreciated. Additionally, replacing an entire section of the fence would also be considered an improvement and is therefore a depreciable cost.
Remember: Repairs = immediate tax deduction. Improvements = Depreciable over time.
Confused? Leave it up to us because we have a good handle on this and will take care of everything.
Common Property is defined in ATO ID 2003/229 as ‘that part of a strata plan not comprised in any owner’s lot and includes both fixed and moveable property and facilities intended for common use. The common property may include depreciating assets and buildings and other structures’.
Assets forming part of ‘common property’ are depreciable. A depreciation schedule from Write It Off will include any depreciable amount attributable to common property.
The following has been written assuming you need to lodge an Australian tax return. The reasons you would need to lodge a tax return in Australia are long and varied and depend on individual circumstances. We will not go into that here but generally speaking, if you earn income within Australia there is a good chance you need to lodge a return with the ATO. This also includes rental income from an investment property and having a professionally prepared rental property depreciation report will help you reduce the amount of tax you have to pay.
What happens if you have an investment property that is located outside of Australia?
Though tax law varies across different countries, you are generally still liable to pay tax in Australia on the foreign sourced income and therefore the Australian tax rules apply.
If you receive rental income from an overseas investment property, you will need to declare it on your Australian tax return, even if you have already paid tax on that income in another country. If both countries have taxation rights on that income, you may be eligible for a foreign income tax offset whereby double taxation can usually be avoided and you can reduce your overall tax liability. In order to be entitled to the offset, you must have actually paid an amount of foreign income tax and the offset can only be claimed after this has occurred. There is no requirement that the entity claiming the Foreign Tax Offset must be an Australian resident. Therefore a non-resident could technically claim the offset.
From 1 July 2008, if your overseas property is negatively geared you may use this “loss” against any Australian sourced income. Even if the property is positively geared, you can benefit from a property depreciation schedule as it will reduce the taxable income on the property in the same way it would for a property located in Australia.
Write It Off does not have inspectors overseas but we can still complete a depreciation schedule on a foreign investment property using the self-assessment method. You will need to fill out the Self-Assessment Worksheet and include photos of the property where possible. We will convert everything into Australian dollars and provide you with a depreciation schedule for both the Prime Cost and Diminishing Value methods which you can then use to reduce your taxable income.
It is important to remember that what you can claim as a deduction in Australia is not necessarily the same as what you can claim in other countries so it may be wise to consult a local tax professional.
Please call our office on 1300 883 760 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on our self-assessment reports.