Tax and legal advice

Are the government’s changes in tax depreciation just ‘dumb policy’?

By Bianca Dabu
man with binoculars

The government has recently announced major changes to the way depreciation is claimed on property in an attempt to “reduce pressure on housing affordability,” but will it really do as it says?

While the legislation has yet to be formally written, Washington Brown’s CEO Tyron Hyde has expressed his concern over how the changes might bring the exact opposite effect and reduce investors’ cash flow.

In the new tax depreciation scheme, the government will limit plant and equipment depreciation deductions to outlays obtained by investors. “What the government is saying is you have to physically acquire those items for you to claim depreciation on them,” Mr Hyde told Smart Property Investment.

Therefore, even if you buy a unit off the developer at full price – complete with fixtures and fittings – you cannot claim depreciation on the items which were acquired by the developer.

Due to this particular change, acquiring property may be deemed “too risky” by investors.

Mr Hyde said: “If you buy an $800,000 brand-new apartment, at the moment you might get a $20,000 depreciation deduction. And you won. Makes it look affordable, the property. A lot of the developers rely on those numbers to get pre-sales, to show the investor ‘Look, it doesn’t cost a lot to own this property.’ If that suddenly stops, guess what? No pre-sales, no bank funding, no construction.”

Additionally, under the recent changes, investors who hang on to their properties for a long time will no longer benefit from the depreciation value of plant and equipment. The acquisition of existing plant and equipment will be part of the cost base, thereby reducing capital gains liability.

Instead of increasing affordability for housing, Mr Hyde believes that the proposed changes may just be “dumb policy” due to the following reasons:

  • Property investors may hang onto their existing properties to continue claiming depreciation. They may not be able to get as many deductions on the next one if they sell the said properties.
  • High depreciation values usually attract investors to acquire a property. If the allowances are taken away, developers will struggle to get pre-sales, which are required by banks to fund the deal.
  • “These budget measures are forecast to save $260 million over a three-year period. I suspect far more will be lost if developers can no longer get new projects off the ground,” according to Hyde.

While the changes in tax depreciation aim for good intentions, particularly in terms of housing affordability, it may only increase risk and disadvantage for property investors and developers alike in the long term.

As Mr Hyde puts it, the government may have “tinkered with the wrong thing here”.

Tune in to The Smart Property Investment Show to get a better understanding on the government's changes in tax depreciation and its effects on property investments.

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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Wood, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

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Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

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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A softening market can be a difficult time for a property investor with finance approval tightening and property capital growth slowing, and while many real estate agents are also feeling the squeeze McGrath Brighton Le Sands' Bill Tsounias claims it is simply the market returning to normal.

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Bill will unpack why properties are spending longer on market, share what he believes property investors are doing wrong when trying to sell their properties and share the secrets to getting the best out of a real estate agent and an auction in the current softening market.

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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Gavin Kemp and his now-fiancé bought their first property together after only six months of dating. They weren’t even living together at the time. Now, two years on, the pair have bought five properties, sold two and have a solid plan in place for their ongoing property journey. 

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Gavin joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss how he chose the locations where he decided to invest and how, due to the initial lack of education (something that he now values highly), he lost money on his first two investments.

Gavin will share his thoughts on the current property market, reveal the people who he has leaned on throughout his property journey and discuss why his strategy employs a zero procrastination rule.

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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A joint property portfolio before they were even living together

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