Tax and legal advice

Tax deductions for property investment - a checklist

By Staff Reporter

We’ve recently heard the news that 110,000 Australian property investors are under Australian Taxation Office scrutiny over their last tax returns. This can be a scary position for anyone, however there are ways you can ensure that you aren’t one of those caught in the lurch.

It’s always wise to be careful with your documentation. Now we’re close to a new financial year, getting successful habits in place is going to be crucial.

Firstly, you need to be aware what you can actually claim. It sounds simple, but if you start listing them now it’s likely you either think something can be, when it cannot, or there are items that you aren’t claiming that could be helping your investment to perform better.

Research your tax obligations and claimable expenses – ask your accountant and, when in doubt, call the tax office. There are a number of lists and discussions online, and a number of blogs anda articles on this website about maximising your deductions and when you can claim your interest expenses.

When you’re aware of this basic information, you can start having a closer look at some of the areas that investors commonly trip up on.

Are you a co-owner?

If you’re claiming deductions in a co-ownership structure, be wary and ensure you do not claim more than your fair amount.
Principal adviser of Property Tax Specialists, Shukri Barbara, explains that you must legally be dividing the income and expenses for the property in line with your legal interest it it.

“For example, if a husband and wife own a rental property jointly, i.e. 50/50 equity, but only one earns a salary, the interest and loan repayments are made by the sole earner.

“In order for the sole earner to keep with their equity in the property, the maximum interest expense that can be claimed as a deduction will be 50 per cent.

“There will be no tax benefit for the spouse who has not been working that year as they had no income and paid no tax.

“Their losses, on the other hand, can be carried forward and offset against their future year’s income,” Mr Barbara says.

Is it available for rent?

Remember that deductions are only claimable when the property has been available to rent – essentially, when it has been advertised by you or your agent.

The rental status of your property should be a major concern when you are performing maintenance work. Any repairs completed prior to its being deemed available to rent will not be tax deductible and you will miss out on accessing those savings.

While deductions will be subject to your property’s active rental period, don’t stop advertising just because your property is vacant and continues to remain vacant, says Eddie Chung, partner, tax and advisory, property and construction at accountancy BDO.

“The tax deductions you may claim on an investment property will need to be apportioned if the property was not available for rent for some period during the year: for example, if you use the property for private purposes.  

“On the other hand, just because the property was vacant for a while does not mean that the apportionment of expenses is required.  

“As long as the property was available for rent – in that you continued to advertise it – the expenses attributable to the vacant period will remain tax-deductible.”

Is it a repair or an improvement?

This consideration can catch many out when it comes to claims. Do you know what constitutes a repair and what is an improvement? Not all work performed on your property is deductible so this is crucial to identify.

If the work you are performing involves fixing up damage caused by wear and tear, the expense is likely to be a repair and therefore tax deductible.

But when you are replacing old materials with new and enhancing your property beyond its original state, the work is more likely to be considered an improvement and will instead be added to the cost of your property, representing a depreciable asset.

In the case of any major work undertaken on your property, be careful what you claim as a repair as this is an area the Australia Taxation Office (ATO) likes to focus on. Many people get it wrong, according to Dave Naylor, founding partner of Chan and Naylor.

“A word of advice: if the amount is substantial this will more than likely trigger an audit, so seek professional advice beforehand or even contact the ATO themselves directly for a ruling,” he says.

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  ["title"]=>
  string(51) "Boost for investors as app sets up off-site bidding"
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  string(55) "boost-for-investors-as-new-app-sets-up-off-site-bidding"
  ["introtext"]=>
  string(144) "

Property investors are now able to identify and bid on auctions remotely using a new live-streaming functionality launched by Gavl.

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Called “Request an Auction”, the new functionality enables users to watch and bid on any Sydney or Melbourne auction remotely.

Through Gavl, prospective buyers are now able to register to bid on their preferred auction. The platform will obtain permission from the listing agent and confirm within 48 hours.

Vendors can also request to have their auctions broadcast to a larger buyer audience.

Co-founder Joel Smith said that auctions streamed on Gavl attract 47 per cent more viewers than traditional ones.

He said that Request an Auction will be valuable for remote buyers.

“Buyers are able to have Gavl attend any auction they nominate, so they will never have to miss out on an opportunity due to logistical complications in physically attending the auction.

“Vendors, too, have the opportunity to directly book an auction with us, so they can open up their event to buyers all around the world. With more potential buyers, they’re giving their property the chance to receive more bids and maximise their sales result.”

Mr Smith said that prior to the Request an Auction app, buyers were limited to what they could achieve through the Gavl technology.

Gavl is a live-streaming and bidding platform for real estate auctions.

Mr Smith said that it has streamed more than 6,000 auctions, which have achieved 3.5 million views from 50 countries.

Gavl’s Request an Auction function is currently being offered in Melbourne and Sydney only.

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Called “Request an Auction”, the new functionality enables users to w" ["access"]=> string(1) "1" ["hits"]=> string(2) "34" ["xreference"]=> string(0) "" ["featured"]=> string(1) "0" ["language"]=> string(1) "*" ["readmore"]=> string(4) "1540" ["ordering"]=> string(1) "0" ["category_title"]=> string(25) "Smart Property Investment" ["category_route"]=> string(25) "smart-property-investment" ["category_access"]=> string(1) "1" ["category_alias"]=> string(25) "smart-property-investment" ["published"]=> string(1) "1" ["parents_published"]=> string(1) "1" ["lft"]=> string(2) "47" ["author"]=> string(9) "Tim Neary" ["author_email"]=> string(30) "[email protected]" ["parent_title"]=> string(4) "ROOT" ["parent_id"]=> string(1) "1" ["parent_route"]=> string(0) "" ["parent_alias"]=> string(4) "root" ["rating"]=> string(1) "0" ["rating_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["alternative_readmore"]=> NULL ["layout"]=> NULL ["params"]=> object(Joomla\Registry\Registry)#1211 (3) { ["data":protected]=> object(stdClass)#1222 (95) { ["article_layout"]=> string(14) "spbase:article" ["show_title"]=> string(1) "1" ["link_titles"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_intro"]=> string(1) "1" ["info_block_position"]=> string(1) "0" ["info_block_show_title"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_category"]=> string(1) "1" ["link_category"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_parent_category"]=> string(1) "0" ["link_parent_category"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_associations"]=> string(1) "0" ["flags"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["link_author"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_create_date"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_modify_date"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_publish_date"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_item_navigation"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_vote"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_readmore"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_readmore_title"]=> string(1) "0" ["readmore_limit"]=> string(3) "100" ["show_tags"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_icons"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_print_icon"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_email_icon"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_hits"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_noauth"]=> string(1) "0" ["urls_position"]=> string(1) "0" ["captcha"]=> string(0) "" ["show_publishing_options"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_article_options"]=> string(1) "1" ["save_history"]=> string(1) "0" ["history_limit"]=> int(10) ["show_urls_images_frontend"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_urls_images_backend"]=> string(1) "1" ["targeta"]=> int(0) ["targetb"]=> int(0) ["targetc"]=> int(0) ["float_intro"]=> string(5) "right" ["float_fulltext"]=> string(5) "right" ["category_layout"]=> string(6) "_:blog" ["show_category_heading_title_text"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_category_title"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_description"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_description_image"]=> string(1) "0" ["maxLevel"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_empty_categories"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_no_articles"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_subcat_desc"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_cat_num_articles"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_cat_tags"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_base_description"]=> string(1) "1" ["maxLevelcat"]=> string(2) "-1" ["show_empty_categories_cat"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_subcat_desc_cat"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_cat_num_articles_cat"]=> string(1) "1" ["num_leading_articles"]=> string(2) "15" ["num_intro_articles"]=> string(1) "0" ["num_columns"]=> string(1) "0" ["num_links"]=> string(1) "0" ["multi_column_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_subcategory_content"]=> string(1) "0" ["show_pagination_limit"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter_field"]=> string(4) "hide" ["show_headings"]=> string(1) "1" ["list_show_date"]=> string(1) "0" ["date_format"]=> string(0) "" ["list_show_hits"]=> string(1) "0" ["list_show_author"]=> string(1) "0" ["list_show_votes"]=> string(1) "0" ["list_show_ratings"]=> string(1) "0" ["orderby_pri"]=> string(4) "none" ["orderby_sec"]=> string(5) "rdate" ["order_date"]=> string(9) "published" ["show_pagination"]=> string(1) "2" ["show_pagination_results"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_featured"]=> string(4) "show" ["show_feed_link"]=> string(1) "1" ["feed_summary"]=> string(1) "0" ["feed_show_readmore"]=> string(1) "0" ["sef_advanced"]=> int(0) ["sef_ids"]=> int(0) ["custom_fields_enable"]=> string(1) "1" ["show_page_heading"]=> string(1) "0" ["layout_type"]=> string(4) "blog" ["menu_text"]=> int(1) ["menu_show"]=> int(1) ["page_title"]=> string(44) "Tax & Legal Tips - Smart Property Investment" ["menu-meta_description"]=> string(121) "Tax and legal tips for property investors: how to get more money back, safeguarding your home and protecting your family." 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Boost for investors as app sets up off-site bidding
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Having to split her time between Hong Kong and her original base of Sydney has not slowed Julia Tita’s goal of building a high-performance Australian property portfolio. Instead the resulting alterations to her strategy have positively impacted her investing success.

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Having recently purchased her 6th property, Julia joins host Tim Neary to discuss her journey, share her ups and downs over the years, and reveal her thoughts on why some properties are better than others.

Julia also explains why she no longer makes a move without the help of a buyer’s agent, why working with a strong team of specialists is extremely important and discloses her long-term property ambitions.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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AREAS MENTIONED:

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["secure"]=> int(0) ["page_description"]=> string(11) "sample desc" ["page_rights"]=> NULL ["robots"]=> NULL ["access-view"]=> bool(true) } ["initialized":protected]=> bool(true) ["separator"]=> string(1) "." } ["displayDate"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 03:15:56" ["slug"]=> string(72) "18171:how-a-move-to-hong-kong-impacted-julia-s-australian-property-goals" ["catslug"]=> string(28) "45:smart-property-investment" ["link"]=> string(92) "/investor-stories-1/18171-how-a-move-to-hong-kong-impacted-julia-s-australian-property-goals" }
How a move to Hong Kong impacted Julia’s Australian property goals
object(stdClass)#1208 (52) {
  ["id"]=>
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  ["title"]=>
  string(88) "‘Common’ referrer practice of being paid on both sides of the fence coming to an end"
  ["alias"]=>
  string(82) "common-referrer-practice-of-being-paid-on-both-sides-of-the-fence-coming-to-an-end"
  ["introtext"]=>
  string(246) "

The practice of property investment firms sharing undisclosed kickbacks among the supply chain involved in development sales will be outlawed in NSW on 1 July this year under the Real Estate Reform being handed down by regulators in NSW.

" ["fulltext"]=> string(2238) "

Property commentator and valuer, Suburbanite’s Anna Porter, said the reform will address conflicts of interest.

She said they arise when a mortgage broker, accountant or financial planner receives part of the commission from the property firm, who receive their fees from the developer or seller.

“This puts the broker into a position by which they are being paid on both sides of the fence,” she said.

“Until now this has been a grey area and there was nothing stopping this practice.” 

Ms Porter said this has been a common practice in the industry.

"Some well-known mortgage broking firms openly admit to receiving $5,000–$10,000 per referral in their pocket.”

She also said this process has been going on for decades.

"Property investment firms commonly pass some of their commission on to the mortgage broker, accountant or financial planner as a reward to them for passing on the referral. This means that many brokers or financial service providers are making significant amounts of money just to refer on to a property firm, often totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars a year," Anna Porter said.

Ms Porter said the Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Property Industry Reform) Bill 2017 will be in force from July this year, and will prohibit this practice unless the broker or referring partner also holds a real estate industry license.

"Under the new laws, if the broker takes a referral fee from the property firm, they will have to be a licensed real estate agent and also hold a corporation’s license,” she said. 

“Subsequently, every transaction that they receive a referral fee from, they will be putting their license up against the transaction and taking full liability for the conduct, practices and outcome of that transaction, even if they have little to do with the transaction; they are a party to it financially and therefore take as much risk as everyone else in the transaction.”

Mr Porter said where a referrer holds a real estate license, and receives a part of the sale commission, they may find themselves in breach of the ethical requirements under the act.

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‘Common’ referrer practice of being paid on both sides of the fence coming to an end

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