Tax and legal advice

Do you need a quantity surveyor in your financial team?

By Bianca Dabu

The quantity surveyor is often deemed to be one of the most important professional advisers in the construction industry, and property investors can benefit from their expertise, especially at tax time.

What is a quantity surveyor?

Traditionally, quantity surveyors specialise in building measurement and the estimation and monitoring of construction costs.

They work closely with other professionals, including architects, engineers, contractors, accountant, project owners and suppliers to oversee the entire construction process—from the project’s feasibility study to its completion.

Outside construction, they can use their expertise to produce tax depreciation schedules and provide guidance on determining realistic insurance replacement costs.

Among the myriad professionals in the property investment industry, quantity surveyors are among the few recognised by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) as having the necessary construction costing skills to calculate the applicable costs that shall be the basis of tax depreciation schedules.

Benefits of hiring a quantity surveyor

For property investors, quantity surveyors can play a significant role as they try to maximise the their depreciation, or the claimable tax deductions on an asset based on its value declines due to wear and tear.

These professionals, who work together with the ATO, are often tasked to produce depreciation schedules, or a comprehensive report on the claimable deductions on your property.

Depreciation schedules essentially state the items in the property and their corresponding value, then once the tax office determines the effective lifespan on these items, they will include a projection of the amount you can claim as tax deductions each year.

While it is not advisable to pick an asset mainly for the tax deductions you can get, a good depreciation value will definitely influence your cash flow positively.

According to BMT Tax Depreciation’s Brad Beer, the most important depreciation schedule on a property is the first one, which is why it’s important to get in touch with a good quantity surveyor early on in your journey.

He explained: “The first depreciation schedule contains a long-term projection—usually for decades—because there are usually only minor changes in the property within a shorter period. Unless you make a significant alteration on purpose. the depreciation value adheres to the projection.”

Since they are ATO-recognised professionals, the accuracy of the data stated in the depreciation schedule is unlikely to be questioned by the tax office.

By hiring a good quantity surveyor, you are certain that you can get as many deductions on your property as you can. You may also be able to decrease the amount of the tax payable and ultimately see greater returns on your investments.

The risks of DIY depreciation

Despite the benefits of hiring quantity surveyors, some investors still opt to do depreciation schedules themselves to save money.

However, DIY depreciation is more susceptible to mistakes and pitfalls.

For one, you could be missing out on thousands in tax savings because you are more likely to unintentionally ignore claimable items on your report, especially those that could be easy to overlook, including smoke alarms, garbage bins and kitchen appliances.

With more than 6,000 depreciable plant and equipment assets, making this mistake is more common that most people think.

Moreover, you may categorise items incorrectly, which could also lead to decreased depreciation value.

Mr Beer explained: “Some investors mistakenly assess carpet as a permanently fixed asset rather than a removable asset. If an investor claims carpet that costs $3,650 using a rate of 2.5 per cent for structural deductions and fixed items, they would be claiming $91.

“However, if depreciated at the correct rate of 20 per cent, they could claim $730 in the first financial year,” he added.

Lastly, while you might be educated on tax rules relating to depreciation, proposed legislation changes may catch you off-guard once implemented and ultimately impact your claims.

Being backed by a good quantity surveyor can help you ensure that you produce an accurate depreciation schedule, which abides by existing legislation and, therefore, lets you maximise your tax savings.

Choosing the right quantity surveyor

When choosing a quantity surveyor, one of the first things to look for is their membership to the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS), a regulatory body that ensures the professionals’ compliance with industry regulations as well as the Australian Standards of high-quality service.

Moreover, they should be registered tax agents under the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), a national regulatory body that ensures the compliance of professionals with the Tax Agents Services Act of 2009.

It is also important to remember that not all quantity surveyors are specialising in tax depreciation, so take time to find someone who maintains a detailed and updated knowledge of ATO Tax Rulings related to depreciation.

Finally, a good quantity surveyor is able to work hand-in-hand with accountants.

While quantity surveyors are tasked to produce detailed depreciation schedules, accountants are responsible for incorporating the deductions into the investor’s income tax assessment.

Both of these reports are vital to your investment journey if you want to maximise your claims, improve your cash flow position and ultimately continue the growth of your portfolio.

 

This information is sourced from BMT Tax Depreciation, Australian Institue of Quantity Surveyors and the Smart Property Investment website.

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FROM THE WEB

podcast

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Luke’s first property investment included what he now looks back on as “learning experiences”. He chose it only because it was close to where he lived, he bought it at the peak of the market and he elected to manage his (unreliable, damage-prone) tenants alone. Sixteen years on, Luke now has 30 properties and a much better idea about how to approach the investment game.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show Luke joins host Tim Neary to unpack how he went about educating himself, how his investment style has changed over time and why patience is the name of the game.

Luke will also share how his initial mistakes discouraged him and had him doubting the wisdom of being an investor, and how his realisation of the importance of active management bought him back into line.  He will discuss the importance of having a strong support team and why it’s smart to put a proper value on your personal time.

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!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

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AREAS MENTIONED: 

Sydney
Brisbane
Adelaide
Wollongong
Geelong
Melton South
Cairns
Perth

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An unsure start in property investment leads to a 30-property portfolio
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  ["title"]=>
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Promoted by Blue Ink Finance.

Budgeting tips when your Personal Debt is High.

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Credit card debts and personal loans are the greatest obstacle between everyday people and their potential to live in financial freedom.

Of course, I understand that sometimes getting a small personal loan is absolutely necessary. Unexpected costs like medical expenses can make personal loans the only option.

However, the majority of us have debt simply because we spend more than we earn.

In either case, your number one priority is unlocking those chains of debt that are holding you back.

I’m going to give you some tips for budgeting with hefty personal debt, but first I want to talk about the impact those loans are having on your life.

How much is your debt really costing you?

Over the years that you’re paying off your loans at the minimum repayment, the interest on those items will end up costing you multiple times more than the original borrowed amount - and those endless due dates will haunt you. There’s no freedom in that!

Let me give you an example. You’ll be shocked, I guarantee it!

Let’s say you have around $4,000 of credit card debt, charged at 19.99% p.a. If you paid only the minimum monthly amount, it would take 37 years to pay off the total debt.

How much will that $4,000 debt cost you? $19,200. Depressing, isn’t it?

You might feel like you need a full-blown money explosion to get out of debt, but don’t despair just yet.

What you need to do is arm yourself with a strategic budget, and I’ve got some tips to help you.

Budgeting while you have hefty personal debt is tough, but possible – and it’s essential for eliminating that debt forever. Let’s have a quick look at how you can start to tackle that mountain of borrowed money.

It’s time to take charge and break some chains!

There’s a method for reducing debt that has an excellent success rate, if you’re committed:

  1. Make a realistic budget (and stick to it)
  2. Reduce your expenses and/or increase your income until you are in the black
  3. Save an emergency fund first
  4. Pay off your personal loans and credit cards, starting with the either the smallest debt first or the debt with the highest interest rate
  5. Revise your budget as you go along.

Why an emergency fund is paramount to success

You’ll see I’ve put saving an emergency fund before paying off your loans. Even a small amount initially, like $500, is enough to stop the cycle of borrowing to pay bills, then paying out even more in interest each month, which leaves less in the bank to pay the next bill.

Once you have a buffer saved, then you can start aiming some serious firepower on your debt, and that’s when it gets exciting!

Think back to my credit card example. If you upped the payments each month from $84 per month to $212, you would have the card paid off in two years and save $14,285 in interest. That’s worth a little bit of effort, wouldn’t you agree?

Tips for a budget that works

You may need to cut back drastically on your expenses to clear your debt, but here’s some other ways to make the most of your budget:

  • Find micro-ways to reduce your expenses every day. Make work lunches at home, cancel a pay TV subscription, find a better phone deal, or pass on your afternoon chocolate bar from the vending machine. Instead of spending $40 on a takeaway dinner, have a bowl of cereal!

  • Find a friend who will keep you accountable. Having someone else who shuns a pricey outing to the day spa for a walk along the beach instead will make you feel better about saying ‘no’ to expensive events that will blow the budget.

  • Refinance your home loan to release some funds. If you have a mortgage, talk to us at Blue Ink Finance about the possibility of refinancing your home loan to allow you to release some equity to help clear your high interest, personal debt. It’s not always the best strategy, but it’s worth investigating, especially if you can consolidate it into a home loan that has a significantly lower interest rate.

  • If your income increases, leverage it! The only place that extra money should go is into paying off more debt. Enough said!

  • Refine and polish your budget as your circumstances change. Your budget shouldn’t stay the same. As you find more ways to decrease your expenditure and become adept at sticking to your financial plan, fine-tune your budget to reflect your savvy saving. Any spare change goes directly onto your debt.

  • Automate payments of bills, so you don’t spend the money first. This saves you from late fees if you forget, too.

The reality is that you won’t have a profitable budget until you get rid of that high-interest debt. The beauty of a budget is that it can get you there! Knock the debt, stay away from borrowing except for assets like property, and you’ll have a well-oiled financial plan that kicks goals instead of paying lenders!

At Blue Ink Finance, we have a team of expert brokers as well as a panel of industry experts that understand all the nuances of positioning your personal finances to kick real goals with Property Assets and can support you in achieving your goals.

Give the team at Blue Ink Finance a call on 1300 888 796 or click here to request your Complimentary Finance Review with one of our experienced Finance Coaches now.

And see how having a panel of industry experts on your side, can fast track your property goals.

About The Author

David Wegener
Chief Executive Officer
Blue Ink Finance

Who I am, and why I want to help you succeed.

As an award-winning Mortgage Broker with nearly 20 years’ experience in the finance industry, I’ve seen it all.

I’ve gone through constant industry changes and yet I still successfully help my customers borrow the money they need to get ahead.

As a Finance Coach, my goal is to help you understand your financial potential so that you can borrow with confidence.

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Leveraging your Blue Ink Finance Broker for more than just a loan.
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  string(223) "

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

" ["fulltext"]=> string(3002) "

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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AREAS MENTIONED: 

Sydney
Brisbane
Adelaide

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Can property presentation result in a higher valuation?

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