Don’t panic, yes end of financial year is just around the corner. It really doesn’t have to be as stressful and frantic as we all make it out to be. If you are a homeowner or property investor or both, a little bit of preplanning can save you time and money. Whether you own one rental property or several, the key to a smooth EOYF is organisation. No property investor wants to pay their tax accountant to sift through a shoebox full of receipts, now do they?

 

Don’t panic, yes end of financial year is just around the corner. It really doesn’t have to be as stressful and frantic as we all make it out to be. If you are a homeowner or property investor or both, a little bit of preplanning can save you time and money. Whether you own one rental property or several, the key to a smooth EOYF is organisation. No property investor wants to pay their tax accountant to sift through a shoebox full of receipts, now do they?

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EOFY

From 1 July until 31 October, you will need to lodge your tax return for the previous income year. If you’re using a registered tax agent, you may be able to lodge later than 31 October. Whether you prepare your tax return yourself or use a tax agent, you need to have on record up-to-date correspondence, income and bills related to your property and/or investment over the period you own it. This includes rental income, deductible expenses and documents relating to ownership of the property, including all purchasing and selling costs.

It is important to note that documents pertaining to rental income and deductibles need to be kept for five years from 31 October or five years from when the tax return is lodged, if after 31 October. Any documents relating to property ownership need to be kept for five years from the date you sell your investment.

If you have a property manager, they will likely provide you with an EOFY summary. If you misplace a receipt or invoice, the ATO allows you to substantiate your claims with a bank statement. Having these documents handy, whether in a physical or digital file, throughout the year means it will be easier to make accurate calculations come tax time.

We recommend you opt to have your property manager pay expenses on your behalf. This will lessen your administration time and allow you to be more organised. At the EOFY, your property manager will then provide you with a breakdown of all income and expenditure on your rental property. This is particularly handy if you own several properties: knowing what expenses relate to which property can become confusing as your portfolio grows.

GET THE RIGHT ACCOUNTANT

According to the ATO, one of the common mistakes that investors make is choosing an accountant with limited property experience, as this experience is often invaluable come tax time. What deductions property investors are allowed are subject to change, and if you don’t have an accountant who understands property, you could be in for a shock. For instance, a landlord is no longer able to claim travel deductions for inspecting, maintaining and collecting rent.

Before settling on an accountant, take the time to find out what their experience or level of expertise is. Ask different accountants questions about property investing and gauge if their responses are thorough enough.

 

WHAT TO CLAIM AT EOFY

If you are DIY-ing your tax return, having a good understanding of the ins and outs of the tax rules is important. Even if you are working with an accountant, having this understanding will put you in a good position to make smarter decisions that could have a positive impact on your tax circumstances.

For instance, you might want to bring forward expenditure to before 30 June, if you’re planning repairs for your property. Before doing this, however, determine whether the job is deductible as a maintenance or repair, or if it is considered a renovation or of a capital nature. To help you understand the difference, the ATO publishes a guide on how rental property owners need to treat rental income and expenses at ato.gov.au. Grab a copy here.

As a rule of thumb, things you may be able to claim for immediate tax deductions include rates and taxes, including council and water rates and land tax, repairs and maintenance. Some tax deductions that may be claimed over several years include capital works or building costs and borrowing costs.

There are many deductible items which slip the mind of the savviest of property investors. For instance, around 80% of property investors don’t claim the depreciation of their rental at tax time, despite it being one of the most valuable deductions property owners can claim.

Estimating declines in the value of assets is complex, so it might be worthwhile to engage a qualified quantity surveyor to create a depreciation schedule. This allows you to claim the depreciation of fixed items within your property including carpets, blinds and fixed appliances, reducing your taxable income.

Again, planning ahead is crucial. If you know you have expensive, depreciable purchases around the corner, the best time to buy is always early in the financial year to ensure you are maximising how much you can claim.

We recommend you review what you can claim to make sure you are maximizing your return on investment.

For your investment properties make sure you have considered the following:

  1. Council and Water Rates
  2. Strata Levies
  3. Insurances
  4. Agent statements
  5. Bank fees
  6. Borrowing costs (eg. Mortgage insurance, application fees etc)*
  7. Repairs and Maintenance
  8. Interest on loans
  9. Depreciation and Special building write off*
  10. Travel expenses
  11. Renovations or improvements you have made to the property*
  12. Land Tax

 

REVIEW YOUR INVESTMENT STRATEGY

Despite being one of the busiest times of the year, EOFY also offers a great opportunity to review how your investment property has performed throughout the year with a property manager, if you have one. It is also a good time to check in with your mortgage broker to ensure your existing loan is still servicing your needs and discuss any future plans to expand your investment portfolio.

To help assist you prepare for EOFY, the team at iThink Property is offering homeowners and investors a FREE Tax Time Property Appraisal. This is a comprehensive market and property report so that you understand the true value of your property in the current property climate and will help with your future financial planning. Click here to grab your Free Appraisal.

 

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