Now is the time for property investors to take advantage of the tax strategies available to them.
The cost of travel to inspect or maintain rental properties or to collect rent is an allowable deduction. Travel expenses can be claimed for preparing the property for new tenants (except for the first tenants), inspecting the property during or at the end of tenancy, undertaking repairs (due to damage or wear and tear) incurred while the property is rented out, maintaining the property (while it is rented) and visiting an agent to discuss the property.
Prepay interest on property investment loans to bring forward deductions by a year. If your loan account is used for both private purposes and rental property purposes, you must keep accurate documentation to calculate interest that applies to the rental property portion of the loan.
Bring forward any expenditure, such as repairs and maintenance, that would otherwise be attended to after 30 June to claim the costs this financial year. Ensure to distinguish between what the ATO considers a ‘repair’ and an ‘improvement’ as improvements are non-deductible. Keep in mind initial repairs to an established property are not deductible and are added to the cost base of the property.
Consider pre-paying expenses such as insurance premiums, rates and levies to maximise the current financial year’s deductions.
Those with negatively geared investment properties can receive a significant refund upon lodging their tax return. To improve cashflow, property investors can apply for a PAYG variation which allows investors to access their end-of-year tax refund throughout the year rather than a lump sum.
Property investors can lodge an application to vary income tax withholding using a form from the ATO. To continue a PAYG variation, it is your responsibility to reapply yearly for a future variation if your circumstances require it.
Maximise depreciation deductions
A depreciation schedule prepared by a qualified quantity surveyor outlines the tax deductions available, which can help to provide a significant return. The cost of a depreciation schedule is also tax deductible. It is important to review your depreciation schedule to ensure there are no items which are no longer on hand and can be written off.