Tax and legal advice

Budget 2018 — Why you should care about the ‘unfair’ vacant land tax changes

By Sasha Karen
Vacant land, budget 2018, land tax

While on the whole, this year’s budget was good for property investors, there’s one little thing nestled away in one of the budget papers — changes to vacant land tax. Here’s what it means for investors.

The one singular change that could see property investors that develop or build to rent getting riled up are the changes to vacant land tax, which will now see deductions not available to those who own vacant land with the intent to build straight away.

Peter Koulizos, chairman of the Property Investment Professionals of Australia, said that this change could actually work against what the government has set out to do and may deter investors who build to rent.

“They [the government] are going to penalise people who've bought land and who are going to build a property to rent by not allowing them to claim those deductions while the land is vacant and before the house is built,” Mr Koulizos said to Smart Property Investment.

“The reality is, even if you started the DA process on day one, it is going to take a least a year before your house is available for rent.

“Even if you did the right thing and started the process as soon as possible, you're being penalised because the interest that you're paying for that year is not tax deductible, neither are some of those other expenses like maintenance expenses, tax deductible.”

Consulting with his account, who Mr Koulizos said is a property specialist, the two of them both believe there will be unintended consequences as a result.

“What the federal government doesn't want is for people to buy land and to sit on it forever,” he said.

“I understand that, but I think it would be a much better proposition if they said that if you hold onto the land without doing anything for more than twelve months, okay, then you can't claim those deductions.

“That, I don't have a problem with, but to start penalising people from day one when it takes so long to get approvals and so long to build, I just don't think it's fair.”

Tyron Hyde, director of Washington Brown, mentioned to Smart Property Investment that business structures or corporate entities would be exempt from this decision.

“So for instance, Novak or a large developer, that they won't have ... trading stock or development stock in the future, that these measure won't apply to them,” Mr Brown said.

“It's only for someone who might buy in their own name a vacant block of land down the coast, one day they want to build a holiday home on it, but in the interim, while they think it's an investment, they won't be able to claim deductions on it.”

While this change will impact those who build to rent and developers, typical property investors are likely to not be hampered this.

Simon Pressley, managing director of Propertyology, said that while he noticed the change, he did not take much interest in it because “I don't think it will affect too many of us, and even those who it will affect, it's not in [a] great way”.

“My understanding of it is that let's say if you purchased a reasonable sized parcel of land, set it up today, and the intent was to build something on it, and let's say it takes you 12 months to get your plans drawn up and approved and all that sort of stuff before you start construction … they've tightened it up and said, 'You can't claim expenses until you're actually receiving income’,” Mr Pressley said.

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podcast

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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Dale, 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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Sydney
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Adelaide

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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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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Bill joins host Phil Tarrant to share his thoughts on the current Sydney property market, and to share the shifts that he has seen in house and unit sale prices following their worst quarter in the past decade.

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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Launceston
Raceview

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A joint property portfolio before they were even living together

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