The reality of your rental property

The reality of your rental property

Your rental yield could improve by 13 percent.

Have you got a rental property and overwhelmed at tax time knowing what you can and can’t claim? It’s not uncommon for landlords to feel this way with what makes sense in the real world often not making sense for the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Tax deductions in general can only be made in the period that you rented the property or during the time it was genuinely on the market for rent and actively looking for a tenant. If you are renovating for example, then you may not be able to claim expenses during this period, with some exceptions. A few common problem areas include;

Interest on bank loans

Only the repayments for the investment are deductible and not the loan itself, with some exceptions.

The sharing economy

The deductions made for renting out a room are like that of a rental property with tax deductions claimable for expenses such as the interest on your home loan, professional cleaning, council, insurance etc. However, these need to be in proportion to the lease period and in proportion to proportion of your house rented.

Repairs or maintenance?

Currently the ATO is looking very closely at deductions claimed for repairs and maintenance and is an area of major confusion. Repairs and maintenance can often be claimed independently with the deduction for capital works spread over several years. Repairs are defined as the wear and tear of the property as a result of being tenanted such as replacing fence palings or fixing a broken toilet. However, if looking to replace a whole fence, water system, improvements and extensions this falls under capital works as it goes beyond the general wear and tear.

However, with that said Australia’s renovation industry is profiting from weakened economic conditions and tighter lending standards. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) December building activity data showed a 6.6 per cent increase in alterations and additions in 2018, with renovation spending in the December quarter alone reaching $2.27 billion.

This indicates homeowners and investors are seeking to improve capital values and increase rental income, rather than purchasing anew. According to Corelogic’s quarterly rental review for 2019, gross rental yields are currently sitting around 4 per cent. In some scenarios however, renovators can achieve a 13 per cent return on their renovation investment.

Sounds a lot right? Let’s look at a case study by BMT Tax Depreciation, where an investor completed a $60,000 renovation.

Investor X purchased a $410,000 residential property in January 2018, originally built in 2004 and producing a rental income of $18,720 a year ($360 per week), producing a rental yield of 4.6 per cent.

In 2018 Investor X installed a new kitchen and appliances, split system air conditioner, blinds, lights, carpets and bathroom.

Post-renovation the property was now worth $565,000 and the rental income is now $26,520 per year ($510 per week).

Prior to the renovation Investor X was experiencing an annual cash loss of $1,207. Now, they have increased their rental income by $150, achieving a 13 per cent yield to their renovation costs and have a positive cash flow of $5,261.

This example shows the dream, it is important to be aware of some tips and traps. Choosing which assets to install can make a huge difference to what can be claimed upon completion of the renovation. Investors should stick to a budget when selecting items as it is easy to overcapitalise.

 

If all this just got you more confused, don’t hesitate to speak to your PrimeAccountant and make your property work for you, 02 9415 1511 or email us.

 

 

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Tax – What The 2019 Federal Election Means For You!

Tax – What The 2019 Federal Election Means For You!

There is only a short time before the Federal Election on 18 May 2019, and there’s a lot of wild speculation and “fake news” in the media.

We’re not trying to recommend who you should vote for, but instead we believe that it is vital that our clients understand how they will be affected by the result of the Election.

Here are some of the key ways you may be impacted:

  • The amount of personal income tax and Medicare levy you will pay
  • The amount of capital gain that will be subject to personal tax
  • Opportunity to continue to convert excess franking credits into cash tax refunds
  • Altering the tax treatment of trust distributions
  • Ability to offset prospectively investment losses against other income (i.e. negative gearing)
  • Ability to claim a full deduction for the cost of managing your tax affairs; and
  • Remove deductibility on personal superannuation contributions and lower the annual concessional contribution cap

A note of caution here, as there is little detail associated with some of the proposed changes. While we have listed below the main policy announcements, the detailed legislation might differ substantially, so we encourage you to be mindful of this!

This is what we know so far (at time of writing):

LABOR’S TAX POLICIES

  1. A tax on those receiving distributions through Family or Discretionary Trusts at 30%. These are small business structures, and this will affect many business owners.
  2. Doing away with the cash refunds for excess franking credits through a SMSF.
  3. Increasing the personal tax rate in the top tax bracket by an additional 2%.
  4. Maintaining a company tax rate at the full 30 per cent (%) for companies with turnover exceeding $50 million.
  5. Higher personal tax rates at the top end and lower personal tax rates at the lower end (i.e. less than $125,000).
  6. Limit negative gearing on investment properties to newly built residential dwellings from a yet to be determined date after the election. Property investments made before this date will not be affected as they will be grandfathered. The ability to negatively gear other asset classes will also be restricted. If the total of the interest and deductions related to investments exceed the investment income, the excess will not be able to be used for offset against other non-investment income such as salary and wages. This excess will need to be carried forward for offset against future investment income or capital gains. It will apply on a prospective global basis to every taxpayer. In other words, it will apply to property and shares alike (and any other relevant asset classes) and it will apply by looking at a taxpayer and assessing their overall investment income as measured against their overall investment interest expenses;
  7. Providing landlords who build new residential dwellings an annual subsidy for 15 years of $8,500 a year if the home is let out at 20 per cent below market rates;
  8. Much higher capital gains tax when you sell an investment property or other taxable asset due to the halving of the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) discount to 25 per cent for individuals. All investments made prior to 1 January 2020 will be fully grandfathered, so the new rules won’t apply to them.
  9. A new deduction (the Australian Investment Guarantee) that will enable a 20 per cent deduction in respect of the purchase of any eligible asset worth more than $20,000.
  10. Capping of deductions for managing tax affairs to a maximum of $3,000. This cap will impact individuals, trusts and partnerships. A carve-out is to apply for individual small businesses with positive business income and annual turnover up to $2 million.
  11. Whistle-blower rewards for tax evasion; and higher penalties for tax exploitation promoters.
  12.  Superannuation:
    • Oppose catch up contributions on concessional contributions and tax deductibility on personal superannuation contributions;
    • Lower annual non-concessional contribution cap to $75,000 and reduce high-income super contribution threshold to $200,000 so that more Div293 Tax will be paid by higher income earners;
    • Increasing the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent when fiscal circumstances allow;
    • Phase out the $450 minimum monthly threshold to receive super guarantee contributions, as part of a broader women’s super-security package; and
    • Higher penalties for employers not paying SG.

 

THE COALITION’S TAX POLICIES

  1. Companies with a grouped turnover of less than $50 million have a reduced company tax rate of less than 30 per cent. Tax cuts already enacted as follows:
    • 5 per cent 2019-20 income year
    • 26 per cent for the 2020-21 income year
    • 25 per cent for the 2021-22 income year and for subsequent income years

The government will no longer proceed with implementing its plan to have a 25 per cent tax rate apply to all companies;

  1. The government has legislated changes to personal income tax thresholds, as announced in the 2018-19 federal budget. Personal tax changes legislated are to be rolled out in three tranches over the next seven years as detailed in the table above;
  2. No change to current arrangements regarding negative gearing of investment property;
  3. No change to the CGT discount, which currently sits at 50 per cent for individuals;
  4. No change to the current arrangements regarding trust distributions from discretionary trusts. Currently distributions are subject to tax in the hands of beneficiaries at marginal income tax rates, which could result in a lower effective tax rate for those distributions;
  5. No change to the current arrangements regarding imputation, in particular the full refund of excess imputation credits. This means that excess imputation credits can be converted into cash refunds;
  6. Superannuation – While not directly a tax policy, the government is proposing a three-year audit cycle for SMSFs that have a history of good record-keeping and compliance;
  7. The $30,000 immediate asset write-off is available to 30 June 2019. There is no certainty beyond this date; and
  8. Establish a Small Business Concierge Service within the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s office to provide support and advice about the Administrative Appeals Tribunal process. It will also create a dedicated Small Business Taxation Division within the AAT which will include a supporting case manager, a standard application fee of $500 and fast-tracked decisions to be made within 28 days of a hearing.

CONCLUSION

It’s hard to imagine not being impacted in any way.

There are many other election issues that will influence a voter’s preferences and, at the end of the day, it is about making informed choices.

Please contact us anytime if you would like our advice (before and after the Election) about these proposed tax policies and how they may affect you. We’re here to help you!

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Warning on ATO and Medicare scams

Warning on ATO and Medicare scams

Recently we’ve been contacted by a number of clients who have received suspicious calls and messages from people claiming to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Medicare.  It’s important that you are aware of some recent scams.

Tax scams

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has warned about the emergence of a scam where “…scammers are using an ATO number to send fraudulent SMS messages to taxpayers asking them to click on a link and hand over their personal details in order to obtain a refund.”

The refund scam follows a more sinister four phase scam stating there is a warrant out for your arrest for unpaid taxes in prior years. The scam starts with a text message purportedly from the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Within minutes, your mobile rings and the caller identifies themselves as being from the AFP and working with the ATO. They then ask for your accountant’s details. You then receive a call purportedly from your ‘accounting firm’ asking you to verify the AFP/ATO claims. Finally, you are provided with a way, if you act quickly, to make the AFP go away by paying a fee before your ‘imminent arrest’.

The ATO states that it will not:

  • Send you an email or SMS asking you to click on a link to provide login, personal or financial information, or to download a file or open an attachment.
  • Use aggressive or rude behaviour, or threaten you with arrest, jail or deportation.
  • Request payment of a debt via iTunes or Google Play cards, pre-paid Visa cards, cryptocurrency or direct credit to a personal bank account, or
  • Request a fee in order to release a refund owed to you.

Medicare Scam

A new phishing scam sent text messages purportedly from Medicare advising the recipient that they are owed a $200 rebate from Medicare. Once the person clicks on the reclaim link, they are asked to provide their personal details including bank account details for the ‘rebate.’

If you are uncertain about any suspicious messages please contact the registered office of the “sender” or alternatively speak with your accountant or advisor.

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7 Things To Review For Enhanced Business Performance

7 Things To Review For Enhanced Business Performance

If you are a business owner in Australia, there’s a big chance that you are now back at the desk after a break. The Christmas holiday period is a great time to rest and reflect over the previous year and think about what you want to achieve in 2019.

There’s no better time to review the performance of your business given you should have a team that’s rested and ready to help you achieve your goals and growth targets for 2019.

Here’s our guide for the critical business activities to prioritise reviewing to ensure if you’re on track for a good year.

1. Review your reporting systems
Take some time to understand how you currently measure effectiveness. Particularly sales and employee performance. Do you know what your cost of sale is, whether you are achieving sales at the right costs and what the most effective sales channels are?

2. Review your cash flow requirements
Cash flow constraints can considerably hinder business growth. Effective balance sheet management of accounts receivables, accounts payables and inventory levels help make sure that you have sufficient cash to operate effectively. It’s also critical that adequate cash is being set aside to meet Tax and Super obligations

3. Review your products and services
If you have good reporting, you’ll understand how profitable each of your products and services is. Understanding this means you can plan for the year ahead, focussing on promoting profitable (and eliminating unprofitable) products or services.

4. Review your staff performance
Do you have good systems for understanding what your team members are working on and also for recognising achievements? A strong culture and communication amongst staff will ensure your team is motivated and focussed on the overall company objectives.

5. Review your operating costs
Getting a handle on all your operating costs and then reviewing for improved deals and more competitive suppliers can have a significant impact on profitability. You can even task staff with finding ways to streamline costs and reward them for finding savings.

6. Review your most profitable customer relationships and satisfaction
Understanding which customers are generating the most revenue and or profit should be a top priority. After all, we all know it’s cheaper to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. Customer retention has a considerable impact on growth. Using tools such as Net Promoter to track customer satisfaction and the likelihood of referral can streamline satisfaction monitoring.

7. Review any debt or finance arrangements.
Make sure you have the most cost-effective finance facilities in place, and you are reducing any debt effectively.

Last but not least, make sure that you involve your trusted advisors in helping you review your business. An experienced advisor can help you take an “outside-in” look at your business and also bring valuable experience and therefore suggestions for improved business performance.

PrimeAccounting specialise in working with private business owners, keeping them on track with finance and accounting services. Contact us for an obligation free Business OnTrack consultation on improving your business performance.

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Business Tax Planning Guide FY18

Business Tax Planning Guide FY18

Imagine what you could do with tax saved?

  • Reduce your home loan
  • Top up your super
  • Have a holiday
  • Deposit for an investment property
  • Upgrade your car

Here’s a guide to the strategies you can use to minimise your business tax.

IS YOUR BUSINESS A “SMALL BUSINESS” ENTITY?

Small businesses can access a range of tax concessions from the ATO. To qualify as a “Small Business Entity”, the business must have an aggregated turnover (your annual turnover plus the annual turnover of any business connected / affiliated with you) of less than $10 million and be operating a business for all or part of the 2018 year.

REDUCTION IN COMPANY TAX RATES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The company tax rate for businesses with less than $10 million turnover is 27.5%.

If you use a Trust structure, one strategy is to allocate profits to a “Bucket Company” and cap your tax at 27.5% for the 2018 year. Note that this company must have business operations to qualify for the reduced company tax rate.

INSTANT DEDUCTION FOR ASSETS LESS THAN $20,000

If your business is a Small Business Entity, the following tax concessions apply:

  • Depreciating assets valued at less than $20,000 will be immediately deductible
  • Depreciating assets valued at more than $20,000 will be depreciated in one pool at a rate of 15% in the first year and 30% in future years
  • If your pool balance at the end of the year is less than $20,000 before applying any other depreciation deduction, the entire pool balance can be written off.

You should buy these assets before 30 June 2018.

If your business is not a Small Business Entity, you will need to depreciate all assets purchased over $300. Any assets purchased for $300 or under can be immediately deducted.

MAXIMISE DEDUCTIBLE SUPER CONTRIBUTIONS

The concessional superannuation cap for 2018 is $25,000 for all individuals. Do not go over this limit or you will pay more tax!

Note that employer super guarantee contributions are included in these caps. Where a concessional contribution is made that exceeds these limits, the excess is included in your assessable income and taxed at your marginal rate, plus an excess concessional contributions charge.

For the contribution to be counted towards the employee’s 2018 contribution cap, it must be received by the fund by 30 June 2018.

TOOLS OF TRADE / FBT EXEMPT ITEMS

The purchase of Tools of Trade and other FBT exempt items for business owners and employees can be an effective way to buy equipment with a tax benefit.

Items that can be packaged include handheld/portable tools of trade, computer software, notebook computers, personal electronic organisers, digital cameras, briefcases, protective clothing, and mobile phones.

If structured correctly, the employer will be entitled to a tax deduction for the reimbursement payment to the employee (for the equipment cost), claim any GST input credit, and the employee’s salary package will only be reduced by the GST-exclusive cost of the items purchased.

You should buy these items before 30 June 2018.

PAY EMPLOYEE SUPERANNUATION NOW

To claim a tax deduction in the 2018 financial year, you need to ensure that your employee superannuation payments are received by the super fund or the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (SBSCH) by 30 June 2018.

You should avoid making last minute superannuation payments as processing delays may cause them to be received after year-end. If for any reasons you end up having to make last minute payments and you would like to claim them as deductions for the current year, contact us immediately and before you make any payments for possible resolutions.

DEFER INCOME

If possible, defer issuing further invoices and receiving cash/debtor payments until after 30 June 2018.  This strategy pushes tax payable to future years.

BRING FORWARD EXPENSES

Purchase consumable items BEFORE 30 June 2018. These include marketing materials, consumables, stationery, printing, office and computer supplies. Spend the money now and get the deduction this year.

REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Make payments for repairs and maintenance (business, rental property, employment) BEFORE 30 June 2018.

DEFER INVESTMENT INCOME & CAPITAL GAINS

If possible, arrange for the receipt of Investment Income (e.g. interest on Term Deposits) and the Contract Date for the sale of Capital Gains assets, to occur AFTER 30 June 2018.

The Contract Date is generally the key date for working out when a sale occurred, not the Settlement Date!

MOTOR VEHICLE LOG BOOK

Ensure that you have kept an accurate and complete Motor Vehicle Log Book for at least a 12-week period. The start date for the 12-week period must be on or before 30 June 2018. You should make a record of your odometer reading as at 30 June 2018 and keep all receipts/invoices for motor vehicle expenses.

An alternative (with no log book needed) is to simply claim up to 5,000 business kilometres (based on a reasonable estimate) using the cents per km method.

INVESTMENT PROPERTY DEPRECIATION

If you own a rental property and haven’t already done so, arrange for the preparation of a Property Depreciation Report to allow you to claim the maximum amount of depreciation and building write-off deductions on your rental property.

PRIVATE COMPANY

(“DIV 7A”) LOANS

Business owners who have borrowed funds from their company in previous years must ensure that the appropriate principal and interest repayments are made by 30 June 2018. Current year loans must be either paid back in full or have a loan agreement entered in before the due date of lodgement for the company return, or risk having it counted as an unfranked dividend in the return of the individual.

YEAR-END STOCKTAKE / WORK IN PROGRESS

If applicable, you need to prepare a detailed Stock Take and/or Work in Progress listing as at 30 June 2018. Review your listing and write-off any obsolete or worthless stock items.

Talk to us about your different options for valuing Stock, and how they affect your tax payable.

 WRITE-OFF BAD DEBTS

Review your Trade Debtors listing and write-off all bad debts BEFORE 30 June 2018. Prepare a management meeting document listing each bad debt, as evidence that these amounts were written off prior to year-end and enter these into your accounting system before 30 June 2018.

SMALL BUSINESS CONCESSIONS – PREPAYMENTS

“Small Business Concession” taxpayers can make prepayments (up to 12 months) on expenses (e.g. loan interest, rent, subscriptions) BEFORE 30 June 2018 and obtain a full tax deduction in the 2018 financial year.

TRUSTEE RESOLUTIONS

Ensure that the Trustee Resolutions are prepared and signed BEFORE 30 June 2018 for all Discretionary (“Family”) Trusts. Please see us for more information about these resolutions.

Talk to your Client Advisor TODAY before the 30 June 2018 deadline for assistance to reduce your tax!

 

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