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There are a number of steps investors can take to ensure they get the most out of the end of the financial year, according to Propell National Valuers.
While many investors believe that only properties built after 1985 can receive a depreciation benefit, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) actually stipulates that those built after 18 July 1985 are eligible for depreciation on construction costs.
“The key to maximising your tax return when it comes to property is understanding deprecation,” said Propell’s CEO Bart Mead.
“There is a misconception that only properties built after this date can be assessed for depreciation.
“Properties built before 1985 can still be eligible for depreciation benefits if major alterations and additions have been made, including plant and equipment capital expenditure.”
There are many items that can be depreciated, he continued, referring to decks, extensions, carpets, window treatments, hot water systems, air conditioning, furniture and pools as items that are often not considered but can give back a significant return for old and new properties.
“A new property in its fifth year of ownership can generally offset income tax from $5,000 to $13,000,” Mr Mead said.
“Improvements or additions to older properties will generate lower depreciation values but these are still worth claiming.”
Expenses throughout the year are also worth keeping an eye on. “Let’s say your body corporate fees are $600 per quarter. This could mean a possible $2,400 you can claim in just one area," he said.
“You can also claim bank fees associated with your loan – these are often charged every month and reviewing statements will show you how much you have paid over the year.”
He explained that tax strategies should be decided ahead of time, with this new financial year as the perfect time to prepare for the next.
Propell also provided their top five tips for property investors when it comes to maximising their tax returns:
1. Be aware of deductable expenses: These may include advertising for tenants, agent management fees, body corporate, pest control, cleaning, mortgage interest, land tax and cost of travel to inspections.
2. Get expert advice on tax depreciation: A property professional can ensure you are getting the full amount of depreciation possible for items such as decks, extensions, carpets, window treatments, hot water systems, air conditioning and furniture.
3. Be mindful of capital gains tax: Investment properties owned by an individual, trust or partnership will attract a 50 per cent discount on capital gains tax if they are sold after 12 months.
4. Utilise self-managed superannuation: Placing your property under the ownership of your self-managed super fund can have significant tax advantages for rental income and capital gains.
5. Investigate PAYG withholding: The ATO offers “PAYG withholding variation”, which allows tax savings from negatively geared properties to be incurred on an ongoing basis, rather than received in a lump sum at the end of the financial year.