Tax and legal advice
Tax time, computing

The hidden gems and traps of tax time

By Sasha Karen

Knowing what you can and can’t claim can make the difference between an okay tax return and a great one. Here are some things that investors shouldn’t be claiming, and some hidden gems that they could.

Trying to get through tax time can be an ordeal and a half, but it does not have to be an ordeal in the first place.

Michael Beresford, the director of investment services at OpenCorp, said to Smart Property Investment that the results of last year’s budget should not be forgotten, as it took out depreciation on certain items and interstate travel for inspecting investment properties.

The first measure saw the removal of various items whose depreciation could be claimed in established properties. 

“For example, let's say an established property had a renovation done five years ago, and then you bought the property last week; because you didn't actually buy those items that aren't depreciable, then you wouldn't be able to claim depreciation on those,” he said.

The other main measure saw the removal of claiming interstate travel for property inspections.

“A lot of people used to take an interstate trip to see a property that was interstate, go and check out the property and have a long weekend on the back of it and claim that as a legitimate deduction, that is no longer a deduction,” Mr Beresford said.

While depreciation on new items in established properties is something that is no longer claimable, that does not mean that depreciation cannot be claimed outright.

“A lot of investors are not aware that you can claim depreciation. It's very simple to do so. Check with your accountant whether or not your property would qualify for depreciation tax deduction,” Mr Beresford said.

“If it does, you just need to get a depreciation check done by a qualified quantity surveyor, hand that report to your accountant, and they'll be able to take care of the rest in terms of claiming that depreciation.”

Loan costs, bank fees and repairs and maintenance are more unrealised claimable options, that while they may be small individually, they can add up.

“It might not seem like a big deal if you're spending a couple of hundred bucks doing some minor repairs, but keep those receipts because it does all stack up,” he said.

If investors are looking to construct a new property, they may also not be aware that the construction period is also tax deductible.

“Let's just say a house and land investment, you settle on a block of land and then you're doing the build of the home, that interest during the construction period is tax deductible,” Mr Beresford said.

“I get several calls every July and August from clients' accountants, say that they believe that interest during construction is not a tax-deductible expense. They're really good examples of accountants not knowing property inside out. Property-focused accountants will know that is a legitimate deduction.”

Making sure that you work with an accountant that knows the ins and outs of property is vital; investors should not be using the services of just any old accountant, as Mr Beresford warns it could be costly in the long run.

However, trying to get the biggest tax return is not always the smartest option, as sometimes bad financial advice can mean you lose money, even if you get a bigger number by the end of tax time.

“By holding investment properties or any other appreciating asset and maximising the amount of tax benefits you get to help reduce the holding costs, while that's a very smart strategy, I'm absolutely blown away every year when I hear stories of, ‘My accountant told me to buy a luxury car so I can reduce my tax,’” Mr Beresford said.

“That's foolish tax advice and foolish wealth advice, because a luxury car is a depreciating item, so just to get some more tax benefit, you're buying something that goes down in value, so it makes no sense to spend money and lose money just to get a little bit of money back.

“While tax benefits are great, remember in every instance except with depreciation, you've got to actually spend money first to get that tax back to begin with, so just make sure that the tax relates to depreciating assets, and you're not just chasing a bigger tax return for the sake of it.”

Mr Beresford has previously passed on advice to Smart Property Investment about the key things investors need to tackle tax time, which can be read here.

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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. Now, 16 years on Luke has 30 properties and a much better idea about how to approach the investment game.

" ["fulltext"]=> string(3388) "

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:

How to profit from changing market conditions
Quit the 9 to 5: Taking control of your income and your career
4 tips for first time property investors

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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  ["alias"]=>
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  ["introtext"]=>
  string(115) "

Promoted by Blue Ink Finance.

Budgeting tips when your Personal Debt is High.

" ["fulltext"]=> string(8092) "

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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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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Can property presentation result in a higher valuation?

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