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Rental properties

Attention This document has changed over time. View its history.

Introduction

Rental properties 2013-14

Rental properties 2013-14 will help you, as an owner of rental property in Australia, determine:

  • which rental income is assessable for tax purposes
  • which expenses are allowable deductions
  • which records you need to keep
  • what you need to know when you sell your rental property.

Many, but not all, of the expenses associated with rental properties will be deductible. This guide explains:

Tax and natural disasters

We have special arrangements for people affected by natural disasters such as a cyclone, flood or fire occurring during the financial year. For more information see Dealing with disasters - home .

If your tax records were lost or destroyed, we can help you to reconstruct them, and make reasonable estimates where necessary.

Phone our emergency support team on 1800 806 218 and we can discuss the best way we can help you.

We can also:

  • fast track refunds
  • give you extra time to pay debts, without interest charges
  • give you more time to meet activity statement, income tax and other lodgment obligations, without penalties
  • help you if you are experiencing serious hardship.

Publications and services

To find out how to get a publication referred to in this guide and for information about our other services, see More information.

Is your rental property outside Australia?

If your property is located outside Australia, special rules apply to the deductibility of your rental property expenses. Question 20 in the individual tax return instructions contains further information on foreign source income. If you are unsure of your obligations, contact your recognised tax adviser or us.

The examples given in this publication featuring Mr and Mrs Hitchman are based on the assumption that the Hitchmans own their rental properties as joint tenants who are not carrying on a rental property business.

Rental income

Rental and other rental-related income is the full amount of rent and associated payments that you receive, or become entitled to, when you rent out your property, whether it is paid to you or your agent. You must include your share of the full amount of rent you earn in your tax return.

Associated payments may be in the form of goods and services. You will need to work out the monetary value of these.

Rental-related income

You must include rental bond money as income if you become entitled to retain it, for instance, because a tenant defaulted on the rent, or because of damage to your rental property requiring repairs or maintenance.

If you received an insurance payout, there may be situations where the payout needs to be included as income, for example, if you received an insurance payment to compensate you for lost rent.

If you received a letting or booking fee, you must include this as part of your rental income.

Associated payments include all amounts you receive, or become entitled to, as part of the normal, repetitive and recurrent activities through which you intend to generate profit from the use of your rental property.

If you received a reimbursement or recoupment for deductible expenditure, you may have to include an amount as income. For example, if you received:

You must include as rental income any assessable amounts relating to limited recourse debt arrangements involving your rental property. For more information, see Limited recourse debt arrangements and see the Guide to depreciating assets 2014 (NAT 1996).

Co-ownership of rental property

The way that rental income and expenses are divided between co-owners varies depending on whether the co-owners are joint tenants or tenants in common or there is a partnership carrying on a rental property business.

Co-owners of an investment property (not in business)

A person who simply co-owns an investment property or several investment properties is usually regarded as an investor who is not carrying on a rental property business, either alone or with the other co-owners. This is because of the limited scope of the rental property activities and the limited degree to which a co-owner actively participates in rental property activities.

Dividing income and expenses according to legal interest

Co-owners who are not carrying on a rental property business must divide the income and expenses for the rental property in line with their legal interest in the property. If they own the property as:

  • joint tenants, they each hold an equal interest in the property
  • tenants in common, they may hold unequal interests in the property, for example, one may hold a 20% interest and the other an 80% interest.

Rental income and expenses must be attributed to each co-owner according to their legal interest in the property, despite any agreement between co-owners, either oral or in writing, stating otherwise.

Example 1: Joint tenants

Mr and Mrs Hitchman own an investment rental property as joint tenants. Their activity is insufficient for them to be characterised as carrying on a rental property business. In the relevant income year, Mrs Hitchman phones us and asks if she can claim 80% of the rental loss. Mrs Hitchman says she is earning $67,000 a year, and Mr Hitchman is earning $31,000. Therefore, it would be better if she claimed most of the rental loss, as she would save more tax. Mrs Hitchman thought it was fair that she claimed a bigger loss because most of the expenses were paid out of her wages. Under a partnership agreement drawn up by the Hitchmans, Mrs Hitchman is supposed to claim 80% of any rental loss.

Mrs Hitchman was told that where two people own a rental property as joint tenants, the net rental loss must be shared in line with their legal interest in the property. Therefore, the Hitchmans must each include half of the total income and expenses in their tax returns.

Any agreement that the Hitchmans might draw up to divide the income and expenses in proportions other than equal shares has no effect for income tax purposes. Therefore, even if Mrs Hitchman paid most of the bills associated with the rental property, she would not be able to claim more of the rental property deductions than Mr Hitchman.

Example 2: Tenants in common

In example 1, if the Hitchmans owned their property as tenants in common in equal shares, Mrs Hitchman would still be able to claim only 50% of the total property deductions.

However, if Mrs Hitchman's legal interest was 75% and Mr Hitchman's legal interest was 25%, Mrs Hitchman would have to include 75% of the income and expenses on her tax return and Mr Hitchman would have to include 25% of the income and expenses on his tax return.

Interest on money borrowed by only one of the co-owners which is exclusively used to acquire that person's interest in the rental property does not need to be divided between all of the co-owners.

If you don't know whether you hold your legal interest as a joint tenant or a tenant in common, read the title deed for the rental property. If you are unsure whether your activities constitute a rental property business, see Partners carrying on a rental property business .

Example 3: Co-owners who are not carrying on a rental property business

The Tobins own, as joint tenants, two units and a house from which they derive rental income. The Tobins occasionally inspect the properties and also interview prospective tenants. Mr Tobin performs most repairs and maintenance on the properties himself, although he generally relies on the tenants to let him know what is required. The Tobins do any cleaning or maintenance that is required when tenants move out. Arrangements have been made with the tenants for the weekly rent to be paid into an account at their local bank. Although the Tobins devote some of their time to rental income activities, their main sources of income are their respective full-time jobs.

The Tobins are not partners carrying on a rental property business, they are only co-owners of several rental properties. Therefore, as joint tenants, they must each include half of the total income and expenses on their tax returns, that is, in line with their legal interest in the properties.

Partners carrying on a rental propertybusiness

Most rental activities are a form of investment and do not amount to carrying on a business. However, where you are carrying on a rental property business in partnership with others, you must divide the net rental income or loss according to the partnership agreement. You must do this whether or not the legal interests in the rental properties are different to the partners' entitlements to profits and losses under the partnership agreement. If you do not have a partnership agreement, you should divide your net rental income or loss between the partners equally. See example 4 .

Example 4: Is it a rental property business?

The Hitchmans' neighbours, the D'Souzas, own a number of rental properties, either as joint tenants or tenants in common. They own eight houses and three apartment blocks (each apartment block comprising six residential units) making a total of 26 properties.

The D'Souzas actively manage all of the properties. They devote a significant amount of time, an average of 25 hours per week each, to these activities. They undertake all financial planning and decision making in relation to the properties. They interview all prospective tenants and conduct all of the rent collections. They carry out regular property inspections and attend to all of the everyday maintenance and repairs themselves or organise for them to be done on their behalf. Apart from income Mr D'Souza earns from shares, they have no other sources of income.

The D'Souzas are carrying on a rental property business. This is demonstrated by:

  • the significant size and scale of the rental property activities
  • the number of hours the D'Souzas spend on the activities
  • the D'Souzas' extensive personal involvement in the activities, and
  • the business-like manner in which the activities are planned, organised and carried on.

Mr and Mrs D'Souza have a written partnership agreement in which they agreed to carry on a rental property business. They have agreed that Mrs D'Souza is entitled to a 75% share of the partnership profits or losses and Mr D'Souza is entitled to a 25% share of the partnership profits or losses.

Because the D'Souzas are carrying on a rental property business, the net profit or loss it generates is divided between them according to their partnership agreement (in proportions of 75% and 25%), even if their legal interests in the rental properties are equal, that is, they each own 50%.


For more information about dividing net rental income or losses between co-owners, see Taxation Ruling TR93/32 - Income tax: rental property - division of net income or loss between co-owners .


For more information about determining whether a rental property business is being carried on, determining whether it is being carried on in partnership, and the distribution of partnership profits and losses, see:

Paragraph 13 of Taxation Ruling TR 97/11 lists eight indicators to determine whether a business is being carried on. Although this ruling refers to the business of primary production, these indicators apply equally to activities of a non-primary production nature.

If you are carrying on a business, you may be eligible for the small business concessions. For further information, see Concessions for small business entities (NAT 71874).

Contact your recognised tax adviser or us if you are unsure whether:

  • your rental property activities amount to a partnership carrying on a rental property business
  • you are carrying on a rental property activity as a joint tenant or a tenant in common, or
  • you are in both categories.

Rental expenses

You can claim a deduction for certain expenses you incur for the period your property is rented or is available for rent. However, you cannot claim expenses of a capital nature or private nature (although you may be able to claim decline in value deductions or capital works deductions for certain capital expenditure or include certain capital costs in the cost base of the property for CGT purposes).

Types of rental expenses

There are three categories of rental expenses, those for which you:

Apportionment of rental expenses

There may be situations where not all your expenses are deductible and you need to work out the deductible portion. To do this you subtract any non-deductible expenses from the total amount you have for each category of expense; what remains is your deductible expense.

You will need to apportion your expenses if any of the following apply to you:

  • your property is available for rent for only part of the year
  • only part of your property is used to earn rent
  • you rent your property at non-commercial rates.

Expenses prior to property being available for rent

You can claim expenditure such as interest on loans, local council, water and sewage rates, land taxes and emergency services levy on land on which you have purchased to build a rental property or incurred during renovations to a property you intend to rent out. However, you cannot claim deductions from the time your intention changes, for example if you decide to use the property for private purposes.

Property available for part-year rental

If you use your property for both private and assessable income-producing purposes, you cannot claim a deduction for the portion of any expenditure that relates to your private use. Examples of properties you may use for both private and income-producing purposes are holiday homes and time-share units. In cases such as these you cannot claim a deduction for any expenditure incurred for those periods when the home or unit was used by you, your relatives or your friends for private purposes.

In some circumstances, it may be easy to decide which expenditure is private in nature. For example, council rates paid for a full year would need to be apportioned on a time basis according to private use and assessable income-producing use where a property is used for both purposes during the year.

In other circumstances, where you are not able to specifically identify the direct cost, your expenses will need to be apportioned on a reasonable basis.

Example 5: Apportionment of expenses where property is rented for part of the year

Mr Hitchman's brother, Dave, owns a property in Tasmania. He rents out his property during the period 1 November 2013 to 30 March 2014, a total of 150 days. He lives alone in the house for the rest of the year. The council rates are $1,000 per year. He apportions the council rates on the basis of time rented.

Rental expense x portion of year  =  deductible amount

He can claim a deduction against his rental income of

$1,000

x

150

365

=

$411

If he had any other expenses, such as telephone expenses, these too may need to be apportioned on a reasonable basis. This may be different from the basis used in the above example.

Only part of your property is used to earn rent

If only part of your property is used to earn rent, you can claim only that part of the expenses that relates to the rental income. As a general guide, apportionment should be made on a floor-area basis, that is, by reference to the floor area of that part of the residence solely occupied by the tenant, together with a reasonable figure for tenant access to the general living areas, including garage and outdoor areas if applicable.

Example 6: Renting out part of a residential property

Michael's private residence includes a self-contained flat. The floor area of the flat is one-third of the area of the residence.

Michael rented out the flat for six months in the year at $100 per week. During the rest of the year, his niece, Fiona, lived in the flat rent free.

The annual mortgage interest, building insurance, rates and taxes for the whole property amounted to $9,000. Using the floor-area basis for apportioning these expenses, one-third (that is $3,000) applies to the flat. However, as Michael used the flat to produce assessable income for only half of the year, he can claim a deduction for only $1,500 (half of $3,000).

Assuming there were no other expenses, Michael would calculate the net rent from his property as:

Gross rent$2,600(26 weeks x $100)
Less expenses$1,500 ($3,000 x 50%)
Net rent$1,100 


For more information about the apportionment of expenses, see Taxation Ruling IT 2167 - Income tax: rental properties - non-economic renta l, holiday home, share of residence, etc. cases, family trust cases and Taxation Ruling TR 97/23 - Income tax: deductions for repairs .

Non-commercial rental

If you let a property, or part of a property, at less than normal commercial rates, this may limit the amount of deductions you can claim.

Example 7: Renting to a family member

Mr and Mrs Hitchman were charging their previous Queensland tenants the normal commercial rate of rent ($180 per week). They allowed their son, Tim, to live in the property at a nominal rent of $40 per week. Tim lived in the property for four weeks. When he moved out, the Hitchmans advertised for tenants.

Although Tim was paying rent to the Hitchmans, the arrangement was not based on normal commercial rates. As a result, the Hitchmans cannot claim a deduction for the total rental property expenses for the period Tim was living in the property. Generally, a deduction can be claimed for rental property expenses up to the amount of rental income received from this type of non-commercial arrangement.

Assuming that during the four weeks of Tim's residence the Hitchmans incurred rental expenses of more than $160, these deductions would be limited to $160 in total ($40 multiplied by 4 weeks).

If Tim had been living in the house rent free, the Hitchmans would not have been able to claim any deductions for the time he was living in the property.


For more information about non-commercial rental arrangements, see Taxation Ruling IT 2167 .

Prepaid expenses

If you prepay a rental property expense, such as insurance or interest on money borrowed, that covers a period of 12 months or less and the period ends on or before 30 June 2015, you can claim an immediate deduction. A prepayment that does not meet these criteria and is $1,000 or more may have to be spread over two or more years. This is also the case if you carry on your rental activity as a small business entity and have not chosen to deduct certain prepaid business expenses immediately.


For more information, see Deductions for prepaid expenses (NAT 4170).

Expenses for which you cannot claim deductions

Expenses for which you are not able to claim deductions include:

  • acquisition and disposal costs of the property
  • expenses not actually incurred by you, such as water or electricity charges borne by your tenants
  • expenses that are not related to the rental of a property, such as expenses connected to your own use of a holiday home that you rent out for part of the year.


For more information about common mistakes made when claiming rental property expenses, see Rental Properties - avoiding common mistakes .

Acquisition and disposal costs

You cannot claim a deduction for the costs of acquiring or disposing of your rental property. Examples of expenses of this kind include the purchase cost of the property, conveyancing costs, advertising expenses and stamp duty on the transfer of the property (but not stamp duty on a lease of property; see Lease document expenses ). However, these costs may form part of the cost base of the property for CGT purposes. See also Capital gains tax .

Example 8: Acquisition costs

The Hitchmans purchased a rental property for $170,000 in July 2013. They also paid surveyor's fees of $350 and stamp duty of $750 on the transfer of the property. None of these expenses is deductible against the Hitchmans' rental income. However, in addition to the $170,000 purchase price, the incidental costs of $350 and $750 (totalling $1,100) are included in the cost base and reduced cost base of the property.

This means that when the Hitchmans dispose of the property, $171,100 ($170,000 + $1,100) will be included in the cost base or reduced cost base for the purposes of determining the amount of any capital gain or capital loss.


For more information, see Guide to capital gains tax 2014 (NAT 4151).

Expenses for which you can claim an immediate deduction

Expenses for which you may be entitled to an immediate deduction in the income year you incur the expense include:

You can claim a deduction for these expenses only if youactually incur them and they are not paid by the tenant.

Body corporate fees and charges

You may be able to claim a deduction for body corporate fees and charges you incur for your rental property.

Body corporate fees and charges may be incurred to cover the cost of day-to-day administration and maintenance or they may be applied to a special purpose fund.

Payments you make to body corporate administration funds and general purpose sinking funds are considered to be payments for the provision of services by the body corporate and you can claim a deduction for these levies at the time you incur them. However, if the body corporate requires you to make payments to a special purpose fund to pay for particular capital expenditure, these levies are not deductible. Similarly, if the body corporate levies a special contribution for major capital expenses to be paid out of the general purpose sinking fund, you will not be entitled to a deduction for this special contribution amount. This is because payments to cover the cost of capital improvements or repairs of a capital nature are not deductible; see Repairs and maintenance and Taxation Ruling TR 97/23 . You may be able to claim a capital works deduction for the cost of capital improvements or repairs of a capital nature once the cost has been charged to either the special purpose fund or, if a special contribution has been levied, the general purpose sinking fund; see Capital works deductions .

A general purpose sinking fund is one established to cover a variety of unspecified expenses (some of which may be capital expenses) that are likely to be incurred by the body corporate in maintaining the common property (for example, painting of the common property, repairing or replacing fixtures and fittings of the common property). A special purpose fund is one that is established to cover a specified, generally significant, expense which is not covered by ongoing contributions to a general purpose sinking fund. Most special purpose funds are established to cover costs of capital improvement to the common property.

If the body corporate fees and charges you incur are for things like the maintenance of gardens, deductible repairs and building insurance, you cannot also claim deductions for these as part of other expenses. For example, you cannot claim a separate deduction for garden maintenance if that expense is already included in body corporate fees and charges.

Interest on loans

If you take out a loan to purchase a rental property, you can claim the interest charged on that loan, or a portion of the interest, as a deduction. However, the property must be rented, or available for rental, in the income year for which you claim a deduction. If you start to use the property for private purposes, you cannot claim any interest expenses you incur after you start using the property for private purposes.

While the property is rented, or available for rent, you may also claim interest charged on loans taken out:

  • to purchase depreciating assets
  • for repairs
  • for renovations.

Similarly, if you take out a loan to purchase land on which to build a rental property or to finance renovations to a property you intend to rent out, the interest on the loan will be deductible from the time you took the loan out. However, if your intention changes, for example, you decide to use the property for private purposes and you no longer use it to produce rent or other income, you cannot claim the interest after your intention changes.

Banks and other lending institutions offer a range of financial products which can be used to acquire a rental property. Many of these products permit flexible repayment and redraw facilities. As a consequence, a loan might be obtained to purchase both a rental property and, for example, a private car. In cases of this type, the interest on the loan must be apportioned into deductible and non-deductible parts according to the amounts borrowed for the rental property and for private purposes. A simple example of the necessary calculation for apportionment of interest is in example 9 .

If you have a loan account that has a fluctuating balance due to a variety of deposits and withdrawals and it is used for both private purposes and rental property purposes, you must keep accurate records to enable you to calculate the interest that applies to the rental property portion of the loan; that is, you must separate the interest that relates to the rental property from any interest that relates to the private use of the funds.

If you have difficulty calculating your deduction for interest, contact your recognised tax adviser or us.

Some rental property owners borrow money to buy a new home and then rent out their previous home. If there is an outstanding loan on the old home and the property is used to produce income, the interest outstanding on the loan, or part of the interest, will be deductible. However, an interest deduction cannot be claimed on the loan used to buy the new home because it is not used to produce income. This is the case whether or not the loan for the new home is secured against the former home.

Example 9: Apportionment of interest

The Hitchmans decide to use their bank's 'Mortgage breaker' account to take out a loan of $209,000 from which $170,000 is to be used to buy a rental property and $39,000 is to be used to purchase a private car. They will need to work out each year how much of their interest payments is tax deductible. The following whole-year example illustrates an appropriate method that could be used to calculate the proportion of interest that is deductible. The example assumes an interest rate of 6.75% per annum on the loan and that the property is rented from 1 July:

Interest for year 1 = $209,000 x 6.75% = $14,108

Apportionment of interest payment related to rental property:

Total interest expense

x

rental property loan

total borrowings

=

deductible interest

$14,108

x

$170,000

$209,000

=

$11,475

If you prepay interest it may not be deductible all at once: see Prepaid expenses .

Thin capitalisation

If you are an Australian resident and you or any associate entities have certain international dealings, overseas interests or if you are a foreign resident, thin capitalisation rules may apply if your debt deductions, such as interest, combined with those of your associate entities for 2013-14 are more than $250,000.

Companies, partnerships and trusts that have international dealings will need to complete the International Dealings Schedule (IDS). See the International dealings schedule 2014 (NAT 73345).


For more information about the deductibility of interest, see:

If you need help to calculate your interest deduction, contact your recognised tax adviser or us.

Lease document expenses

Your share of the costs of preparing and registering a lease and the cost of stamp duty on a lease are deductible to the extent that you have used, or will use, the property to produce income. This includes any such costs associated with an assignment or surrender of a lease.

For example, freehold title cannot be obtained for properties in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). They are commonly acquired under a 99-year crown lease. Therefore, stamp duty, preparation and registration costs you incur on the lease of an ACT property are deductible to the extent that you use the property as a rental property.

Legal expenses

Some legal expenses incurred in producing your rental income are deductible, for example, the cost of evicting a non-paying tenant.

Most legal expenses, however, are of a capital nature and are therefore not deductible. These include costs of:

  • purchasing or selling your property
  • resisting land resumption
  • defending your title to the property.


For more information, see Rental properties - claiming legal expenses

Non-deductible legal expenses which are capital in nature may, however, form part of the cost base of your property for capital gains tax purposes.


For more information, see Capital gains tax and Guide to capital gains tax 2014.

Example 10: Deductible legal expenses

In September 2013 the Hitchmans' tenants moved out, owing four weeks rent. The Hitchmans retained the bond money and took the tenants to court to terminate the lease and recover the balance of the rent. The legal expenses they incurred doing this are fully deductible. The Hitchmans were seeking to recover assessable rental income, and they wished to continue earning income from the property. The Hitchmans must include the retained bond money and the recovered rent in their assessable income in the year of receipt.

Mortgage discharge expenses

Mortgage discharge expenses are the costs involved in discharging a mortgage other than payments of principal and interest. These costs are deductible in the year they are incurred to the extent that you took out the mortgage as security for the repayment of money you borrowed to use to produce assessable income.

For example, if you used a property to produce rental income for half the time you held it and as a holiday home for the other half of the time, 50% of the costs of discharging the mortgage are deductible.

Mortgage discharge expenses may also include penalty interest payments. Penalty interest payments are amounts paid to a lender, such as a bank, to agree to accept early repayment of a loan, including a loan on a rental property. The amounts are commonly calculated by reference to the number of months that interest payments would have been made had the premature repayment not been made.

Penalty interest payments on a loan relating to a rental property are deductible if:

  • the loan moneys borrowed are secured by a mortgage over the property and the payment effects the discharge of the mortgage, or
  • payment is made in order to rid the taxpayer of a recurring obligation to pay interest on the loan.

Property agents fees or commissions

You can claim the cost of fees such as regular management fees or commissions you pay to a property agent or real estate agent for managing, inspecting or collecting rent for a rental property on your behalf.

You are unable to claim the cost of:

  • commissions or other costs paid to a real estate agent or other person for the sale or disposal of a rental property
  • buyer's agent fees paid to any entity or person you engage to find you a suitable rental property to purchase.

These costs may form part of the cost base of your property for capital gains purposes.

Repairs and maintenance

Expenditure for repairs you make to the property may be deductible. However, the repairs must relate directly to wear and tear or other damage that occurred as a result of your renting out the property.

Repairs generally involve a replacement or renewal of a worn out or broken part, for example, replacing some guttering damaged in a storm or part of a fence that was damaged by a falling tree branch.

However, the following expenses are capital, or of a capital nature, and are not deductible:

  • replacement of an entire structure or unit of property (such as a complete fence or building, a stove, kitchen cupboards or refrigerator)
  • improvements, renovations, extensions and alterations, and
  • initial repairs, for example, in remedying defects, damage or deterioration that existed at the date you acquired the property.

You may be able to claim capital works deductions for these expenses; for more information see Capital works deductions . Expenses of a capital nature may form part of the cost base of the property for capital gains tax purposes (but not generally to the extent that capital works deductions have been or can be claimed for them). For more information, see the Guide to capital gains tax 2014 . See also Cost base adjustments for capital works deductions .

Example 11: Repairs prior to renting out the property

The Hitchmans needed to do some repairs to their newly acquired rental property before the first tenants moved in. They paid an interior decorator to repaint dirty walls, replace broken light fittings and repair doors on two bedrooms. They also discovered white ants in some of the floorboards. This required white ant treatment and replacement of some of the boards.

These expenses were incurred to make the property suitable for rental and did not arise from the Hitchmans' use of the property to generate assessable rental income. The expenses are capital in nature and the Hitchmans are not able to claim a deduction for these expenses.

Repairs to a rental property will generally be deductible if:

  • the property continues to be rented on an ongoing basis, or
  • the property remains available for rental but there is a short period when the property is unoccupied, for example, where unseasonable weather causes cancellations of bookings or advertising is unsuccessful in attracting tenants.

If you no longer rent the property, the cost of repairs may still be deductible provided:

  • the need for the repairs is related to the period in which the property was used by you to produce income, and
  • the property was income-producing during the income year in which you incurred the cost of repairs.

Example 12: Repairs when the property is no longer rented out

After the last tenants moved out in September 2013, the Hitchmans discovered that the stove did not work, kitchen tiles were cracked and the toilet window was broken. They also discovered a hole in a bedroom wall that had been covered with a poster. In October 2013 the Hitchmans paid for this damage to be repaired so they could sell the property.

As the tenants were no longer in the property, the Hitchmans were not using the property to produce assessable income. However, they could still claim a deduction for repairs to the property because the repairs related to the period when their tenants were living in the property and the repairs were completed before the end of the income year in which the property ceased to be used to produce income.

Examples of repairs for which you can claim deductions are:

  • replacing broken windows
  • maintaining plumbing
  • repairing electrical appliances.

Examples of improvements for which you cannot claim deductions are:

  • landscaping
  • insulating the house
  • adding on another room.


For more information, see Capital gains tax. You can also seeRental properties - claiming repairs and maintenance expense , the Guide to capital gains tax 2014 and Taxation Ruling TR 97/23 .

Travel and car expenses

If you travel to inspect or maintain your property or collect the rent, you may be able to claim the costs of travelling as a deduction. You are allowed a full deduction where the sole purpose of the trip relates to the rental property. However, in other circumstances you may not be able to claim a deduction or you may be entitled to only a partial deduction.

If you fly to inspect your rental property, stay overnight, and return home on the following day, all of the airfare and accommodation expenses would generally be allowed as a deduction provided the sole purpose of your trip was to inspect your rental property.

Example 13: Travel and vehicle expenses

Although their local rental property was managed by a property agent, Mr Hitchman decided to inspect the property three months after the tenants moved in. During the income year Mr Hitchman also made a number of visits to the property in order to carry out minor repairs. Mr Hitchman travelled 162 kilometres during the course of these visits. On the basis of a cents-per-kilometre rate of 76 cents for his 2.6 litre car* Mr Hitchman can claim the following deduction:

Distance travelled x rate per km = deductible amount

162km x 76 cents per km = $123.12

On his way to golf each Saturday, Mr Hitchman drove past the property to 'keep an eye on things'. These motor vehicle expenses are not deductible as they are incidental to the private purpose of the journey.


* See the tax return instructions or read Work-related car expenses for the appropriate rates.

Apportionment of travel expenses

Where travel related to your rental property is combined with a holiday or other private activities, you may need to apportion the expenses.

If you travel to inspect your rental property and combine this with a holiday, you need to take into account the reasons for your trip. If the main purpose of your trip is to have a holiday and the inspection of the property is incidental to that main purpose, you cannot claim a deduction for the cost of the travel. However, you may be able to claim local expenses directly related to the property inspection and a proportion of accommodation expenses.

Example 14: Apportionment of travel expenses

The Hitchmans also owned another rental property in a resort town on the north coast of Queensland. They spent $1,000 on airfares and $1,500 on accommodation when they travelled from their home in Perth to the resort town, mainly for the purpose of holidaying, but also to inspect the property. They also spent $50 on taxi fares for the return trip from the hotel to the rental property. The Hitchmans spent one day on matters relating to the rental property and nine days swimming and sightseeing.

No deduction can be claimed for any part of the $1,000 airfares.

The Hitchmans can claim a deduction for the $50 taxi fare.

A deduction for 10% of the accommodation expenses (10% of $1,500 = $150) would be considered reasonable in the circumstances. The total travel expenses the Hitchmans can claim are therefore $200 ($50 taxi fare plus $150 accommodation). Accordingly, Mr and Mrs Hitchman can each claim a deduction of $100.


For more information, see Rental properties - claiming travel expense deductions

Expenses deductible over a number of income years

There are three types of expenses you may incur for your rental property that may be claimed over a number of income years:

  • borrowing expenses
  • amounts for decline in value of depreciating assets
  • capital works deductions.

Each of these categories is discussed in detail below.

Borrowing expenses

These are expenses directly incurred in taking out a loan for the property. They include loan establishment fees, title search fees and costs for preparing and filing mortgage documents, including mortgage broker fees and stamp duty charged on the mortgage.

Borrowing expenses also include other costs that the lender requires you to incur as a condition of them lending you the money for the property, such as the costs of obtaining a valuation or lender's mortgage insurance if you borrow more than a certain percentage of the purchase price of the property.

The following are not borrowing expenses:

  • insurance policy premiums on a policy that provides for your loan on the property to be paid out in the event that you die or become disabled or unemployed
  • interest expenses.

If your total borrowing expenses are more than $100, the deduction is spread over five years or the term of the loan, whichever is less. If the total deductible borrowing expenses are $100 or less, they are fully deductible in the income year they are incurred.

If you repay the loan early and in less than five years, you can claim a deduction for the balance of the borrowing expenses in the year of repayment.

If you obtained the loan part way through the income year, the deduction for the first year will be apportioned according to the number of days in the year that you had the loan.

Example 15: Apportionment of borrowing expenses

In order to secure a 20-year loan of $209,000 to purchase a rental property for $170,000 and a private motor vehicle for $39,000, the Hitchmans paid a total of $1,670 in establishment fees, valuation fees and stamp duty on the loan. As the Hitchmans' borrowing expenses are more than $100, they must be apportioned over five years, or the period of the loan, whichever is the lesser. Also, because the loan was to be used for both income-producing and non-income producing purposes, only the income-producing portion of the borrowing expenses is deductible. As they obtained the loan on 17 July 2013, they would work out the borrowing expense deduction for the first year as follows:

 

Borrowing expenses

x

number of

relevant days in year


number of days in the

5-year period

=

maximum amount for the income year

x

rental

property loan


total borrowings

=

deduction for year

Year 1

(leap year)

$1,670

x

  349 days  

1,826 days

=

$320

x

$170,000

$209,000

=

$260

Their borrowing expense deductions for subsequent years would be worked out as follows:

 

Borrowing expenses

x

number of

relevant days in year


number of days in the

5-year period

=

maximum amount for the income year

x

rental

property loan


total borrowings

=

Deduction for year

Year 2

$1,350

x

  365 days  

1,477 days

=

$334

x

$170,000

$209,000

=

$271

Year 3

(leap year)

$1,017

x

  366 days  

1,112 days

=

$335

x

$170,000

$209,000

=

$272

Year 4

$682

x

  365 days  

746 days

=

$334

x

$170,000

$209,000

=

$272

Year 5

$348

x

  365 days  

381 days

=

$333

x

$170,000

$209,000

=

$271

Year 6

$15

x

  16 days  

16 days

=

$15

x

$170,000

$209,000

=

$12

Deduction for decline in value of depreciating assets

You can deduct an amount equal to the decline in value for an income year of a depreciating asset that you held for any time during the year. However, your deduction is reduced to the extent your use of the asset is for other than a taxable purpose. If you own a rental property, the taxable purpose will generally be for the purpose of producing assessable income.

Some items found in a rental property are regarded as part of the setting for the rent-producing activity and are not treated as separate assets in their own right. However, a capital works deduction may be allowed for some of these items, see Capital works deductions .

How do you work out your deduction?

You work out your deduction for the decline in value of a depreciating asset using either the prime cost or diminishing value method. Both methods are based on the effective life of the asset. The decline in value calculator will help you with the choice and the calculations.

The diminishing value method assumes that the decline in value each year is a constant proportion of the remaining value and produces a progressively smaller decline over time.

For depreciating assets you started to hold on or after 10 May 2006, you generally use the following formula for working out decline in value using the diminishing value method:

Base value*

x

Days held**

365

x

200%

Asset's effective life

* For the income year in which an asset is first used or installed ready for use for any purpose, the base value is the asset's cost. For a later income year, the base value is the asset's opening adjustable value plus any amounts included in the asset's second element of cost for that year.

** Can be 366 in a leap year.

This formula does not apply in some cases, such as if you dispose of and reacquire an asset just so the decline in value of the asset can be worked out using this formula.

For depreciating assets you started to hold prior to 10 May 2006, the formula for working out decline in value using the diminishing value method is:

Base value*

x

Days held**

365

x

150%

Asset's effective life

* For the income year in which an asset is first used or installed ready for use for any purpose, the base value is the asset's cost. For a later income year, the base value is the asset's opening adjustable value plus any amounts included in the asset's second element of cost for that year.

** Can be 366 in a leap year

An asset's cost has two elements. The first element of cost is, generally, amounts you are taken to have paid to hold the asset, such as the purchase price. The second element of cost is, generally, the amount you are taken to have paid to bring the asset to its present condition, such as the cost of capital improvements to the asset. If more than one person holds a depreciating asset, each holder works out their deduction for the decline in value of the asset based on their interest in the asset and not on the cost of the asset itself.

The adjustable value of a depreciating asset is its cost (first and second elements) less its decline in value up to that time. Adjustable value is similar to the concept of undeducted cost used in the former depreciation provisions. The opening adjustable value of an asset for an income year is generally the same as its adjustable value at the end of the previous income year.

The prime cost method assumes that the value of a depreciating asset decreases uniformly over its effective life. The formula for working out decline in value using the prime cost method is:

asset's cost

x

days held

365*

x

100%

asset's effective life

* Can be 366 in a leap year.

The formula under the prime cost method may have to be adjusted if the cost, effective life or adjustable value of the asset is modified. For more information, see the Guide to depreciating assets 2014.

Under either the diminishing value method or the prime cost method, the decline in value of an asset cannot amount to more than its base value.

If you use a depreciating asset for other than a taxable purpose (for example, you use the same lawn mower at both your rental property and your private residence) you are allowed only a partial deduction for the asset's decline in value, based on the percentage of the asset's total use that was for a taxable purpose.

Effective life

Generally, the effective life of a depreciating asset is how long it can be used by any entity for a taxable purpose, or for the purpose of producing exempt income or non-assessable non-exempt income:

  • having regard to the wear and tear you reasonably expect from your expected circumstances of use
  • assuming that it will be maintained in reasonably good order and condition, and
  • having regard to the period within which it is likely to be scrapped, sold for no more than scrap value or abandoned.

Effective life is expressed in years, including fractions of years. It is not rounded to the nearest whole year.

For most depreciating assets you can choose to work out the effective life yourself or to use an effective life determined by the Commissioner of Taxation.

The sort of information you could use to make an estimate of effective life of an asset is listed in the Guide to depreciating assets 2014 .

In making his determination, the Commissioner assumes the depreciating asset is new and has regard to general industry circumstances of use.

There are various Taxation Rulings made by the Commissioner regarding how to determine the effective life expectancy of depreciating assets:

Because the Commissioner often reviews the determinations of effective life, the determined effective life may change from the beginning of, or during, an income year. You need to work out which Taxation Ruling, or which schedule accompanying the relevant Taxation Ruling to use for a particular asset's determined effective life.

As a general rule, use the ruling or schedule that is in force at the time you:

  • entered into a contract to acquire the depreciating asset
  • otherwise acquired it, or
  • started to construct it.

Immediate deduction for certain non-business depreciating assets costing $300 or less

The decline in value of certain depreciating assets costing $300 or less is their cost. This means you get an immediate deduction for the cost of the asset to the extent that you use it for a taxable purpose during the income year in which the deduction is available.

The immediate deduction is available if all of the following tests are met in relation to the asset:

  • it cost $300 or less
  • you used it mainly for the purpose of producing assessable income that was not income from carrying on a business (for example, rental income where your rental activities did not amount to the carrying on of a business)
  • it was not part of a set of assets costing more than $300 that you started to hold in the income year, and
  • it was not one of a number of identical, or substantially identical, assets that you started to hold in the income year that together cost more than $300.

If you hold an asset jointly with others and the cost of your interest in the asset is $300 or less, you can claim the immediate deduction even though the depreciating asset in which you have an interest cost more than $300; see Partners carrying on a rental property business .

Example 16: Immediate deduction

In November 2013, Terry purchased a toaster for his rental property at a cost of $70. He can claim an immediate deduction as he uses the toaster to produce assessable income, provided he is not carrying on a business from the rental activity.

Example 17: No immediate deduction

Paula is buying a set of four identical dining room chairs costing $90 each for her rental property. She cannot claim an immediate deduction for any of these because they are identical, or substantially identical, and the total cost is more than $300.

For more information about immediate deductions for depreciating assets costing $300 or less, see the Guide to depreciating assets 2014 .

Low-value pooling

You can allocate low-cost assets and low-value assets relating to your rental activity to a low-value pool. A low-cost asset is a depreciating asset whose cost is less than $1,000 (after GST credits or adjustments) as at the end of the income year in which you start to use it, or have it installed ready for use, for a taxable purpose. A low-value asset is a depreciating asset that is not a low-cost asset and:

  • that has an opening adjustable value for the current year of less than $1,000, and
  • for which you have worked out any available deductions for decline in value under the diminishing value method.

You work out the decline in value of an asset you hold jointly with others based on the cost of your interest in the asset. This means if you hold an asset jointly and the cost of your interest in the asset or the opening adjustable value of your interest is less than $1,000, you can allocate your interest in the asset to your low-value pool. Once you choose to create a low-value pool and allocate a low-cost asset to it, you must pool all other low-cost assets you start to hold in that income year and in later income years. However, this rule does not apply to low-value assets. You can decide whether to allocate low-value assets to the pool on an asset-by-asset basis.

Once you have allocated an asset to the pool, it remains in the pool.

Once an asset is allocated to a low-value pool it is not necessary to work out its adjustable value or decline in value separately. Only one annual calculation for the decline in value for all of the depreciating assets in the pool is required.

You work out the deduction for the decline in value of depreciating assets in a low-value pool using a diminishing value rate of 37.5%.

For the income year you allocate a low-cost asset to the pool, you work out its decline in value at a rate of 18.75%, or half the pool rate. Halving the rate recognises that assets may be allocated to the pool throughout the income year and eliminates the need to make separate calculations for each asset based on the date it was allocated to the pool.

When you allocate an asset to the pool, you must make a reasonable estimate of the percentage of your use of the asset that will be for a taxable purpose over its effective life (for a low-cost asset) or the effective life remaining at the start of the income year for which it was allocated to the pool (for a low-value asset). This percentage is known as the asset's taxable use percentage .

It is this taxable use percentage of the cost or opening adjustable value that is written off through the low-value pool.

For further information about low-value pooling, including how to treat assets used only partly to produce assessable income and how to treat the disposal of assets from a low-value pool, see the Guide to depreciating assets 2014 .

If you are an individual who owns or has co-ownership of a rental property, you claim your low-value pool deduction for rental assets at item D6 on your tax return, not at item 21 on your tax return.

What happens if you no longer hold or use a depreciating asset?

If you cease to hold or to use a depreciating asset, a balancing adjustment event will occur. If there is a balancing adjustment event, you need to work out a balancing adjustment amount to include in your assessable income or to claim as a deduction.

A balancing adjustment event occurs for a depreciating asset if:

  • you stop holding it, for example, if the asset is sold, lost or destroyed
  • you stop using it and expect never to use it again
  • you stop having it installed ready for use and you expect never to install it ready for use again
  • you have not used it and decide never to use it, or
  • a change occurs in the holding or interests in an asset which was or is to become a partnership asset.

You work out the balancing adjustment amount by comparing the asset's termination value (such as the proceeds from the sale of the asset) and its adjustable value at the time of the balancing adjustment event. If the termination value is greater than the adjustable value, you include the excess in your assessable income. If you are an individual who owns or has co-ownership of a rental property, you show such assessable amounts at item 24 Other income on your tax return and not at item 21 .

If the termination value is less than the adjustable value, you can deduct the difference.

For more information about balancing adjustments, see the Guide to depreciating assets 2014 .

If a balancing adjustment event happens to a depreciating asset that you used at some time other than for income-producing purposes (for example, privately) then a capital gain or capital loss might arise to the extent that you so used the asset.


For more information about capital gains tax and depreciating assets see the Guide to depreciating assets 2014 .

Purchase and valuation of second-hand assets

If you purchase a second-hand asset you can generally claim a deduction based on the cost of the asset to you.

Where you purchase a rental property from an unrelated party, one objective means of establishing your cost of depreciating assets acquired with the property is to have their value, as agreed between the contracting parties, specified in the sale agreement. If separate values for depreciating assets are not included in the sale agreement for your rental property when you purchase it, you may be required to demonstrate the basis of your valuation.

Generally, independent valuations that establish reasonable values for depreciating assets satisfy ATO requirements. In the absence of an independent valuation, you may need to demonstrate that your estimate provided a reasonable value. Considerations would include the market value of the asset compared to the total purchase price of the property.

Working out your deductions for decline in value of depreciating assets

Following are two examples of working out decline in value deductions. The Guide to depreciating assets 2014 contains two worksheets ( Worksheet 1: Depreciating assets and Worksheet 2: Low-value pool ) that you can use to work out your deductions for decline in value of depreciating assets.

Example 18: Working out decline invalue deductions

In this example, the Hitchmans bought a property part way through the year, on 19 July 20133. In the purchase contract, depreciating assets sold with the property were assigned separate values that represented their market values at the time. The Hitchmans could use the amounts shown in the contract to work out the cost of their individual interests in the assets. They can each claim deductions for decline in value for 347 days of the 2013-14 income year. If the Hitchmans use the assets wholly to produce rental income, the deduction for each asset using the diminishing value method is worked out as shown below:

Description

Cost of the interest in the asset

Base value

No. of days held divided by 365

200% divided by effective life (yrs)

Deduction for decline in value

Adjustable value at end of 2013-14 income year

Furniture

$2,000

$2,000

347

365

200%

13 1/3

$285

$1,715

Carpets

$1,200

$1,200

347

365

200%

10

$228

$972

Curtains

$1,000

$1,000

347

365

200%

6

$317

$683*

Totals

$4,200

$4,200

$830

$3,370

* As the adjustable values of the curtains and the carpets at the end of the 2013-14 income year are less than $1,000, either or both of the Hitchmans can choose to transfer their interest in the curtains and the carpets to their low-value pool for the following income year (2014-15).

Example 19: Decline in value deductions,low-value pool

In the 2013-14 income year the Hitchmans' daughter, Leonie, who owns a rental property in Adelaide, allocated to a low-value pool some depreciating assets she acquired in that year. The low-value pool already comprised various low-value assets. Leonie expects to use the assets solely to produce rental income.

Taxable use percentage of cost or opening adjustable value

Low-value pool rate

Deduction for decline in value in 2013-14

Low-value assets:
Various$1,67937.5%$630
Low-cost assets:
Television set

(purchased 11/11/2013)
$747  
Gas heater

(purchased 28/2/2014)
$303  
Total low-cost assets$1,05018.75%$197
Total deduction for decline in value for year ended 30 June 2014  $827

Closing pool value at 30 June 2014

Low-value assets: $1,679 -$630=$1,049
Low-cost assets: $1,050 - $197=$853
 =$1,902

Capital works deductions

You can deduct certain kinds of construction expenditure. In the case of residential rental properties, the deductions would generally be spread over a period of 25 or 40 years. These are referred to as capital works deductions. Your total capital works deductions cannot exceed the construction expenditure. No deduction is available until the construction is complete.

Deductions based on construction expenditure apply to capital works such as:

  • a building or an extension, for example, adding a room, garage, patio or pergola
  • alterations, such as removing or adding an internal wall
  • structural improvements to the property, for example, adding a gazebo, carport, sealed driveway, retaining wall or fence.

You can only claim deductions for the period during the year that the property is rented or is available for rent.

If you can claim capital works deductions, the construction expenditure on which those deductions are based cannot be taken into account in working out any other types of deductions you claim, such as deductions for decline in value of depreciating assets.

Amount of deduction

The amount of the deduction you can claim depends on the type of construction and the date construction started.

Table 1 below shows you the types of rental property construction that qualify. If the type of construction you own (or own jointly) does not appear next to the relevant 'date construction started' in the Table, you cannot claim a deduction. If the type of construction qualifies, Table 2 shows the rate of deduction available.

Table 1

Date construction startedType of construction for which deduction can be claimed
Before 22 August 1979None
22 August 1979 to

19 July 1982
Certain buildings* intended to be used on completion to provide short-term accommodation to travellers**
20 July 1982 to

17 July 1985
Certain buildings* intended to be used on completion to provide short-term accommodation to travellers**
 Building intended to be used on completion for non-residential purposes (for example, a shop or office)
18 July 1985 to

26 February 1992
Any building intended to be used on completion for residential purposes or to produce income
27 February 1992 to

18 August 1992
Certain buildings* intended to be used on completion to provide short-term accommodation to travellers** Any other building intended to be used on completion for residential purposes or to produce income
 
 Structural improvements intended to be used on completion for residential purposes or to produce income
19 August 1992 to

30 June 1997
Certain buildings* intended to be used on completion to provide short-term accommodation to travellers**
 Any other building intended to be used on completion for residential purposes or to produce income
 Structural improvements intended to be used on completion for residential purposes or to produce income
 Environment protection earthworks** intended to be used on completion for residential purposes or to produce income
After 30 June 1997Any capital works used to produce income (even if, on completion, it was not intended that they be used for that purpose)

*'Certain buildings' are apartment buildings in which you own or lease at least 10 apartments, units or flats; or a hotel, motel or guest house that has at least 10 bedrooms.

**For more information, phone 13 28 66 .

Table 2

Date construction started

Rate of deduction per income year

Before 22 August 1979

nil

22 August 1979 to 21 August 1984

2.5%

22 August 1984 to 15 September 1987

4%

After 15 September 1987

2.5%

Note: Where construction of a building to provide short-term accommodation for travellers commenced after 26 February 1992, the rate of deduction was increased to 4%.

For apartment buildings, the 4% rate applies to apartments, units or flats only if you own or lease 10 or more of them in the building.

The deduction can be claimed for 25 years from the date construction was completed in the case of a 4% deduction, and for 40 years from the date construction was completed in the case of a 2.5% deduction. If the construction was completed part of the way through the income year, you can claim a pro-rata deduction for that part.

Construction expenditure that can be claimed

Construction expenditure is the actual cost of constructing the building or extension. A deduction is allowed for expenditure incurred in the construction of a building if you contract a builder to construct the building on your land. This includes the component of your payments that represents the profit made by individual tradespeople, builders and architects. If you are an owner/builder, the value of your contributions to the works, for example, your labour and expertise, and any notional profit element do not form part of the construction expenditure.

If you purchase your property from a speculative builder, you cannot claim the component of your payment that represents the builder's profit margin as a capital works deduction.

Some costs that you may include in construction expenditure are:

  • preliminary expenses such as architects' fees, engineering fees and the cost of foundation excavations
  • payments to carpenters, bricklayers and other tradespeople for construction of the building
  • payments for the construction of retaining walls, fences and in-ground swimming pools.

Construction expenditure that cannot be claimed

Some costs that are not included in construction expenditure are:

  • the cost of the land on which the rental property is built
  • expenditure on clearing the land prior to construction
  • earthworks that are permanent, can be economically maintained and are not integral to the installation or construction of a structure
  • expenditure on landscaping.

Changes in building ownership

Where ownership of the building changes, the right to claim any undeducted construction expenditure for capital works passes to the new owner. A new owner should confirm that the building was constructed during one of the appropriate periods outlined in Table 1 . To be able to claim the deduction, the new owner must continue to use the building to produce income.

Estimating construction costs

Where a new owner is unable to determine precisely the construction expenditure associated with a building, an estimate provided by an appropriately qualified person may be used. Appropriately qualified people include:

  • a clerk of works, such as a project organiser for major building projects
  • a supervising architect who approves payments at stages of projects
  • a builder who is experienced in estimating construction costs of similar building projects
  • a quantity surveyor.

Unless they are otherwise qualified, valuers, real estate agents, accountants and solicitors generally have neither the relevant qualifications nor the experience to make such an estimate.

Example 20: Estimating capital works deductions

The Perth property acquired by the Hitchmans on 19 July 2013 was constructed in August 1991. At the time they acquired the property it also contained the following structural improvements.

Item

Construction date

Retaining wall

September 1991

Concrete driveway

January 1992

In-ground swimming pool

July 1992

Protective fencing around the pool

August 1992

Timber decking around the pool

September 1992

In a letter to the Hitchmans, a supervising architect estimated the construction cost of the rental property for capital works deduction purposes at $115,800. This includes the cost of the house, the in-ground swimming pool, the protective fencing and the timber decking. Although the retaining wall and the concrete driveway are structural improvements, they were constructed before 27 February 1992 (Note that in Table 1 , structural improvements qualified for deduction from 27 February 1992). Therefore, they do not form part of the construction cost for the purposes of the capital works deduction and were not included in the $115,800 estimate.

The Hitchmans can claim a capital works deduction of 2.5% of the construction costs per year. As they did not acquire the property until 19 July 2013, they can claim the deduction for the 347 days from 19 July 2013 to 30 June 2014. The maximum deduction for 2013-14 would be worked out as follows:

Construction cost

X

rate

X

portion of year

=

deductible amount

$115,800

X

2.5%

X

347

365

=

$2,752

The cost of obtaining an appropriately qualified person's estimate of construction costs of a rental property is deductible in the income year it is incurred. You make your claim for the expense, or your share of the expense if you jointly incurred it, at item D9 Cost of managing tax affairs on your tax return .


For more information about construction expenditure and capital works deductions, see Taxation Ruling TR 97/25 - Income tax: property development: deduction for capital expenditure on construction of income producing capital works, including buildings and structural improvements and Rental properties - claiming capital works deductions (NAT 72840)

Cost base adjustments for capital works deductions

In working out a capital gain or capital loss from a rental property, the cost base and reduced cost base of the property may need to be reduced to the extent that it includes construction expenditure for which you have claimed or can claim a capital works deduction.

Cost base

You must exclude from the cost base of a CGT asset (including a building, structure or other capital improvement to land that is treated as a separate asset for CGT purposes*) the amount of capital works deductions you have claimed or can claim in respect of the asset if:

you acquired the asset after 7.30pm (by legal time in the ACT) on 13 May 1997, or

you acquired the asset before that time and the expenditure that gave rise to the capital works deductions was incurred after 30 June 1999.

* For information on when a building, structure or other capital improvement to land is treated as a CGT asset separate from the land, see chapter 1 and the section Major capital improvementsto a dwelling acquired before 20 September 1985 in the Guide to capital gains tax 2014 .

Reduced cost base

The amount of the capital works deductions you have claimed or can claim for expenditure you incurred in respect of an asset is excluded from the reduced cost base.

For more information about whether you can claim certain capital works deductions, see Taxation Determination TD 2005/47 - Income tax: what do the words 'can deduct' mean in the context of those provisions in Division 110 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 which reduce the cost base or reduced cost base of a CGT asset by amounts you 'have deducted or can deduct', and is there a fixed point in time when this must be determined and Law Administration Practice Statement (General Administration) PS LA 2006/1 (GA) - Calculating the cost base and reduced cost base of a CGT asset if a taxpayer does not have sufficient information to determine the amount of construction expenditure on the asset for the purpose of working out their entitlement to a deduction under Division 43 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 .

Example 21: Capital works deduction

Zoran acquired a rental property on 1 July 1998 for $200,000. Before disposing of the property on 30 June 2014, he had claimed $10,000 in capital works deductions.

At the time of disposal, the cost base of the property was $210,250. Zoran must reduce the cost base of the property by $10,000 to $200,250.

Limited recourse debt arrangements

If expenditure on a depreciating asset (which includes construction expenditure) is financed or refinanced wholly or partly by limited recourse debt (including a notional loan under certain hire purchase or instalment sale agreements of goods), you must include excessive deductions for the capital allowances as assessable income. This will occur where the limited recourse debt arrangement terminates but has not been paid in full by the debtor. Because the debt has not been paid in full, the capital allowance deductions, including capital works deductions, allowed for the expenditure exceed the deductions that would be allowable if the unpaid amount of the debt was not counted as capital expenditure of the debtor. Special rules apply for working out whether the debt has been fully paid.

If you are not sure what constitutes a limited recourse debt or how to work out your adjustment to assessable income, contact your recognised tax adviser.

Worksheet

The following completed worksheet is an example of how to calculate your net rental income or loss. Some of the figures have been drawn from the examples in this publication; others have been included for illustrative purposes. A blank worksheet is also provided for you to work out your own net rental income or loss.

Example 22: Rental property worksheet

 

$

Income

 

Rental income

8,500

Other rental related income

800

Gross rent

9,300

Expenses

 

Advertising for tenants

48

Body corporate fees and charges

500

Borrowing expenses

259

Cleaning

100

Council rates

700

Deductions for decline in value

796

Gardening/lawn mowing

350

Insurance

495

Interest on loan(s)

11,475

Land tax

200

Legal expenses

150

Pest control

50

Property agent fees/commission

800

Repairs and maintenance

1,000

Capital works deductions

2,745

Stationery, telephone and postage

80

Travel expenses

436

Water charges

350

Sundry rental expenses

95

Total expenses

20,629

Net rental income or loss

($9,300 - $20,629)

-11,329

You cannot claim for these items if the expenditure is already included in body corporate fees and charges.

Rental Property Worksheet

 

$

Income

 

Rental income

 

Other rental related income

 

Gross rent

 

Expenses

 

Advertising for tenants

 

Body corporate fees and charges

 

Borrowing expenses

 

Cleaning

 

Council rates

 

Deductions for decline in value

 

Gardening/lawn mowing

 

Insurance

 

Interest on loan(s)

 

Land tax

 

Legal expenses

 

Pest control

 

Property agent fees/commission

 

Repairs and maintenance

 

Capital works deductions

 

Stationery, telephone and postage

 

Travel expenses

 

Water charges

 

Sundry rental expenses

 

Total expenses

 

Net rental income or loss

(Gross rent less total expenses)

 

You cannot claim for these items if the expenditure is already included in body corporate fees and charges.

Other tax considerations

Capital gains tax

You may make a capital gain or capital loss when you sell (or otherwise cease to own) a rental property that you acquired after 19 September 1985.

You can also make a capital gain or capital loss from certain capital improvements made after 19 September 1985 when you sell or otherwise cease to own a property you acquired before that date.

You will make a capital gain from the sale of your rental property to the extent that the capital proceeds you receive are more than the cost base of the property. You will make a capital loss to the extent that the property's reduced cost base exceeds those capital proceeds. If you are a co-owner of an investment property, you will make a capital gain or loss in accordance with your interest in the property (see Co-ownership of rental property).

The cost base and reduced cost base of a property includes the amount you paid for it together with certain incidental costs associated with acquiring, holding and disposing of it (for example, legal fees, stamp duty and real estate agent's commissions). Certain amounts that you have deducted or which you can deduct are excluded from the property's cost base or reduced cost base. For example, see Cost base adjustments for capital works deductions .

Your capital gain or capital loss may be disregarded if a rollover applies, for example, if your property was destroyed or compulsorily acquired or you transferred it to your former spouse under a court order following the breakdown of your marriage.


For more information, see the Guide to capital gains tax 2014 .

Depreciating assets

If the sale of your rental property includes depreciating assets, a balancing adjustment event will happen to those assets (see What happens if you no longer hold or use a depreciating asset? ).

You should apportion your capital proceeds between the property and the depreciating assets to determine the separate tax consequences for them.

General value shifting regime

A loss you make on the sale of a rental property may be reduced under the value shifting rules if, at the time of sale, a continuing right to use the property was held by an associate of yours (for example, a 10-year lease granted to your associate immediately before you enter into a contract of sale). The rules can only apply if the right was originally created on non-commercial terms such that at that time, the market value of the right was greater than what you received for creating it by more than $50,000.

For more information, see General value shifting regime: who it affects .

Goods and services tax (GST)

If you are registered for GST and it was payable in relation to your rental income, do not include it in the amounts you show as income in your tax return.

Similarly, if you are registered for GST and entitled to claim input tax credits for rental expenses, you do not include the input tax credits in the amounts of expenses you claim. If you are not registered for GST, or the rental income was from residential premises, you include any GST in the amounts of rental expenses you claim.

For further information, phone 13 28 66 .

Keeping records

General

You should keep records of both income and expenses relating to your rental property.

Records of rental expenses must be in English, or be readily translatable into English, and include the:

  • name of the supplier
  • amount of the expense
  • nature of the goods or services
  • date the expense was incurred
  • date of the document.

If a document does not show the payment date you can use independent evidence, such as a bank statement, to show the date the expense was incurred.

You must keep records of your rental income and expenses for five years from 31 October or, if you lodge later, for five years from the date you lodge your tax return. If at the end of this period you are in a dispute with us that relates to your rental property, you must keep the relevant records until the dispute is resolved.

Do not send these records in with your tax return. Keep them in case we ask to see them.

Capital gains tax

Keeping adequate records of all expenditure will help you correctly work out the amount of capital gain or capital loss you have made when a CGT event happens. You must keep records relating to your ownership and all the costs of acquiring and disposing of property. It will also help to make sure you do not pay more CGT than is necessary.

You must keep records of everything that affects your capital gains and capital losses. Penalties can apply if you do not keep the records for at least five years after the relevant CGT event. If you use the information from those records in a later tax return, you may have to keep records for longer. If you have applied a net capital loss, you should generally keep your records of the CGT event that resulted in the loss until the end of any period of review for the income year in which the capital loss is fully applied. For more information, see Taxation Determination TD 2007/2 - Income tax: should a taxpayer who has incurred a tax loss or made a net capital loss for an income year retain records relevant to the ascertainment of that loss only for the record retention period prescribed under income tax law?

You must keep records in English (or be readily accessible or translatable into English) that include:

  • the date you acquired the asset
  • the date you disposed of the asset
  • the date you received anything in exchange for the asset
  • the parties involved
  • any amount that would form part of the cost base of the asset
  • whether you have claimed an income tax deduction for an item of expenditure.


For more information about cost base and record-keeping requirements for capital gains tax purposes, see the Guide to capital gains tax 2014 .

Negative gearing

A rental property is negatively geared if it is purchased with the assistance of borrowed funds and the net rental income, after deducting other expenses, is less than the interest on the borrowings.

The overall taxation result of a negatively geared property is that a net rental loss arises. In this case, you may be able to claim a deduction for the full amount of rental expenses against your rental and other income (such as salary, wages or business income) when you complete your tax return for the relevant income year. Where the other income is not sufficient to absorb the loss it is carried forward to the next tax year.

If by negatively gearing a rental property, the rental expenses you claim in your tax return would result in a tax refund, you may reduce your rate of withholding to better match your year-end tax liability.

If you believe your circumstances warrant a reduction to your rate or amount of withholding, you can apply to us for a variation using the PAYG income tax withholding variation (ITWV) application (NAT 2036).

Pay as you go (PAYG) instalments

If you make a profit from renting your property, you will need to know about the PAYG instalments system.

This is a system for paying instalments towards your expected tax liability for an income year. You will generally be required to pay PAYG instalments if you earn $2,000 or more of business or investment income, such as rental income, and the debt on your income tax assessment is more than $500.

If you are required to pay PAYG instalments we will notify you. You will usually be required to pay the instalments at the end of each quarter. There are usually two options if you pay quarterly instalments:

pay using an instalment amount or an instalment rate calculated by us (as shown on your activity statement), or

pay an instalment amount or using an instalment rate you work out yourself.

Depending upon your circumstances, you may be eligible to pay your instalments annually. We will notify you if you are eligible to pay an annual PAYG instalment.

For further information, see Introduction to pay as you go (PAYG) instalments (NAT 4637).

If you receive payments that are subject to withholding (for example, salary or wages) you can contribute towards your expected tax liability for an income year by increasing your rate or amount of withholding. That way you can avoid having a tax bill on assessment, which means that you may not be required to pay PAYG instalments. To do this, you will need to arrange an upwards variation by entering into an agreement with your payer to increase the rate or amount of withholding. You and your payer will need to complete a Withholding declaration - upwards variation form (NAT 5367).

Residential rental property assets

Items that are commonly found in residential rental properties are in Table 3 , Table 4 , Table 5 and Table 6 .

The tables, based on the principles in Taxation Ruling TR 2004/16 - Income tax: plant in residential rental properties , set out whether an item may be eligible for a capital works deduction or a deduction for decline in value and, for the latter, the Tables include the Commissioner's determination of effective life. See Which effective life can you use? for information about the effective life you can use.

The tables are provided to give clarity and certainty about the tax treatment of items in residential rental properties. You can use them to assist you to work out which type of deduction you may be able to claim for your items.

You may be able to claim the deduction indicated in the Tables for items relating to your residential rental property. If you have an item for your residential rental property that is not in the Tables, the principles set out below may help you determine the type of deduction that may be available for it. These principles are more fully discussed in Taxation Ruling TR 2004/16.

If you are unable to determine the type of deduction available for an item, or you consider that your circumstances are sufficiently different to warrant a different treatment, you may ask us for a private ruling.

Which deductions can you claim?

You cannot claim a deduction for a depreciating asset's decline in value if you are allowed a capital works deduction for the asset.

Capital works deductions may be available for expenditure on the construction of buildings and structural improvements and extensions, alterations or improvements to either of those.

Capital works deductions are not available for expenditure on plant .

Decline in value deductions may be available if your plant is a depreciating asset.

If your depreciating asset is not plant and it is fixed to, or otherwise part of, a building or structural improvement, your expenditure will generally be construction expenditure for capital works and only a capital works deduction may be available.

(For more information, see Deduction for decline in value of depreciating assets and Capital works deductions .)

Definitions

We use the following common terms in Table 3 , Table 4 , Table 5 and Table 6 to describe how or whether items are attached to premises:

Fixed items are annexed or attached by any means, for example screws, nails, bolts, glue, adhesive, grout or cement, but not merely for temporary stability.

Freestanding items are designed to be portable or movable. Any attachment to the premises is only for the item's temporary stability.

Other than freestanding items are fixed to the premises that are not designed to be portable or movable. The test is not whether the item is removable, even if the attachment is slight, but whether the inherent design and function of the item is such that it is intended to remain in place for a substantial period of time.

Plant

The ordinary meaning of plant does not include the setting for income-earning activities. Residential rental properties will invariably be the setting for income-producing activities and so do not fall within the ordinary meaning of plant. Items that form part of the premises are also part of the setting, and therefore not eligible for deductions for their decline in value.

You should consider the following factors when determining whether an item is part of the premises or setting:

  • whether the item appears visually to retain a separate identity
  • the degree of permanence with which it is attached to the premises
  • the incompleteness of the structure without it
  • the extent to which it was intended to be permanent or whether it was likely to be replaced within a relatively short period.

None of these factors alone is determinative and they must all be considered together.

Examples

Wall and floor tiles are generally fixed to the premises, not freestanding, and intended to remain in place for a substantial period of time. They will generally form part of the premises. Expenditure on these items falls under capital works.

On the other hand, a freestanding item such as a bookcase may be attached to the structure only for temporary stability. It therefore does not form part of the premises and may qualify for a deduction for decline in value.

Kitchens are fixed to the premises, are intended to remain in place indefinitely and are necessary to complete the premises. Any separate visual identity they have is outweighed by the other factors. They are therefore part of the premises. Clothes hoists are also part of the premises for similar reasons.

Insulation batts, although generally not fixed, are intended to remain in place indefinitely, do not have a separate visual identity and add to the completeness of the structure. They are also part of the premises.

In addition to its ordinary meaning, plant includes articles and machinery.

Articles

Plant includes items that are articles within the ordinary meaning of that word. A curtain, a desk and a bookcase would all be considered articles. A structure attached to land, such as a clothes hoist or pergola, would not be considered an article.

If an item forms part of the premises according to the descriptions above, it is not an article. Therefore, items such as false ceiling panels and insulation batts are not articles while they are in place. However, a painting hung on a wall retains its character as an article.

Machinery

Plant also includes items that are machinery, whether or not they form part of the premises. In deciding whether something is machinery you must:

  • identify the relevant unit or units based on functionality
  • decide whether that unit comes within the ordinary meaning of machinery.

Identify the unit

Taxation Ruling TR 94/11 - Income tax: general investment allowance - what is a unit of property? provides guidelines to help you identify what is a unit. You need to consider whether a particular item is a unit, part of a larger unit, or whether its components are separate units. A unit will generally be an entity entire in itself; something that has an identifiable, separate function. However, it need not be self-contained or used in isolation and it may vary the performance of another unit. An item is not a unit simply because it is described as a system.

An item may be made up of several components. To determine what the relevant unit is, you need to consider the function of each component and of the larger composite item. A door handle, for example, is part of the door and not a separate unit. Similarly, a freestanding spa pool that is made up of the shell, skirt, heater, pump, filter and piping is one unit.

In other cases separate units may work in conjunction with each other to achieve a common objective. For example, a fire safety system may consist of several components including, for example, an indicator board, hydrants, piping, alarms, smoke detectors and sprinklers. All these components function together to form the system. However, each component also performs its own discrete function independent of the others. In this example, each component is a separate unit.

Is the unit machinery?

Once you have identified a unit you must decide if it is machinery. The ordinary meanings of machinery and machine do not include anything that is only a reservoir or conduit, even if it is connected to something which is without doubt a machine. Devices that use minute amounts of energy in the form of electrical impulses in various processes, such as microprocessors and computers, come within the ordinary meaning of machine. Appliances for heating, such as stoves, cook tops, ovens and hot-water systems, are also included.

The components of a system that are separate units and also machinery will be plant, but any ducting, piping or wiring that may be connected to the machine or machines is generally not machinery. However, where the cost of wiring is negligible, such as in small domestic-size systems, the cost may be included in the cost of installation rather than being treated separately. The cost of wiring to connect a typical home security system, for example, may be treated as negligible.

Which effective life can you use?

For each of your depreciating assets, you may choose to use:

  • the effective life the Commissioner has determined for such assets, or
  • your own reasonable estimate of its effective life.

Generally, you may only use the Commissioner's determination that applied at the time you acquired, or entered into a contract to acquire, your depreciating asset.

Table 3 , Table 4 , Table 5 and Table 6 include the effective life that the Commissioner has determined for a number of depreciating assets. For more information about claiming deductions for assets in the Capital works deduction column of Tables 3, 4, 5 and 6 , see Capital works deductions .

If the Commissioner has not determined the effective life of a depreciating asset at the time you acquired it, or entered into a contract to acquire it, you may make your own reasonable estimate of its effective life, using the information below. See also the Guide to depreciating assets 2014 .

Working out the effective life yourself

Generally, the effective life of a depreciating asset is how long it can be used by any entity for a taxable purpose, or for the purpose of producing exempt income or non-assessable non-exempt income:

  • having regard to the wear and tear you reasonably expect from your expected circumstances of use
  • assuming that it will be maintained in reasonably good order and condition, and
  • having regard to the period within which it is likely to be scrapped, sold for no more than scrap value or abandoned.

Effective life is expressed in years, including fractions of years. It is not rounded to the nearest whole year.

The sort of information you could use to make an estimate of effective life of an asset includes:

  • the physical life of the asset
  • engineering information
  • the manufacturer's specifications
  • your own experience with similar assets
  • the experience of other users of similar assets
  • the level of repairs and maintenance commonly adopted by users of the asset
  • retention periods
  • scrapping or abandonment practices.

You work out the effective life of a depreciating asset from the asset's start time, not from the time you first start claiming deductions.

Can I change an effective life I am using if the Commissioner has determined a new effective life?

No. You can choose to recalculate a depreciating asset's effective life only if the effective life you have been using is no longer accurate because of changed circumstances relating to the nature of the asset's use. A new determination of effective life by the Commissioner does not in itself change the nature of an asset's use and does not allow you to recalculate an asset's effective life.

Residential rental property items

Treatment as depreciating assets or capital works

In Tables 3, 4, 5 and 6 , 'own estimate' refers to the fact that there was no Commissioner's determination in effect, and you may make an estimate of the effective life in accordance with the principles set out in the previous column.

Table 3

AssetDecline in value deductionEffective life (years)Capital works deduction
 Assets acquired before 1 July 2004Assets acquired from 1 July 2004 
Assets, general:   
air conditioning assets

see Table 5See Table 5 
cable trays

  Yes
ceiling fans

own estimate5 
clocks, electric

13 1/310 
cupboards, other than freestanding

  Yes
DVD players

own estimate5 
door closers

own estimate10 
door locks and latches (excluding electronic code pads)

  Yes
door stops, fixed

  Yes
door stops, freestanding

own estimate10 
electrical assets (including conduits, distribution boards, power points, safety switches, switchboards, switches and wiring)

  Yes
escalators (machinery and moving parts)

see Table 4See Table 4 
evaporative coolers

see Table 6see Table 6 
facade, fixed

  Yes
floor coverings, fixed (including cork, linoleum, parquetry, tiles and vinyl)

  Yes
floor coverings (removable without damage):

   
carpet1010 
floating timberown estimate15 
linoleum1010 
vinyl1010 
furniture, freestanding

13 1/313 1/3 
garbage bins

6 2/310 
garbage chutes

  Yes
garbage compacting systems (excluding chutes)

6 2/36 2/3 
generators

2020 
grease traps

  Yes
gym assets:

   
cardiovascularown estimate5 
resistanceown estimate10 
hand dryers, electrical

1010 
hand rails

  Yes
heaters:

   
fixed:   
ducts, pipes, vents and wiring  Yes
electric1015 
fire places (including wood heaters)  Yes
gas:   
ducted central heating unitown estimate20 
otherown estimate15 
freestanding1015 
hooks, robe

  Yes
hot-water systems (excluding piping):

   
electric2012 
gas2012 
solar2015 
hot-water system piping

  Yes
insulation

  Yes
intercom system assets

own estimate10 
lift wells

  Yes
lifts (including hydraulic and traction lifts)

see Table 4see Table 4 
lights:

   
fittings (excluding hardwired)205 
fittings, hardwired  Yes
freestandingown estimate5 
shades, removableown estimate5 
linen

own estimate5 
master antenna television (MATV) assets:

   
amplifiersown estimate10 
modulatorsown estimate10 
power sourcesown estimate10 
master antenna television (MATV) assets (excluding amplifiers, modulators and power sources)

  Yes
mirrors, fixed

  Yes
mirrors, freestanding

own estimate15 
radios

1010 
ramps

  Yes
rugs

own estimate7 
safes, fixed

  Yes
sanitary fixtures, fixed (including soap dispensers)

  Yes
satellite dishes

  Yes
screens

  Yes
shelving, other than freestanding

  Yes
shutters

  Yes
signs, fixed

  Yes
skylights

  Yes
solar-powered generating system assets

own estimate20 
stereo systems (incorporating amplifiers, cassette players, compact disc players, radios and speakers)

own estimate7 
surround sound systems (incorporating audio-video receivers and speakers)

own estimate10 
telecommunications assets:

   
cordless phonesown estimate4 
distribution frames  Yes
PABX computerised assets2010 
telephone hand setsown estimate10 
television antennas, fixed

  Yes
television antennas, freestanding

own estimate5 
television sets

1010 
vacuum cleaners:

   
ducted:   
Hosesown estimate10 
motorsown estimate10 
wandsown estimate10 
portable1010 
vacuum cleaners, ducted (excluding hoses, motors and wands)

  Yes
ventilation ducting and vents

  Yes
ventilation fans

own estimate20 
video cassette recorder systems (VCR)

own estimate5 
water pumps

2020 
water tanks

  Yes
window awnings, insect screens, louvres, pelmets and tracks

  Yes
window blinds, internal

2010 
window curtains

6 2/36 
window shutters, automatic:

   
controlsown estimate10 
motorsown estimate10 
window shutters, automatic (excluding controls and motors)

  Yes
Bathroom assets:   
accessories, fixed (including mirrors, rails, soap holders and toilet roll holders)

  Yes
accessories, freestanding (including shower caddies, soap holders, toilet brushes)

own estimate5 
exhaust fans (including light/heating)

own estimate10 
fixtures (including baths, bidets, tapware, toilets, vanity units and wash basins)

  Yes
heated towel rails, electric

own estimate10 
shower assets (including doors, rods, screens and trays)

  Yes
shower curtains (excluding curtain rods and screens)

own estimate2 
spa baths (excluding pumps)

  Yes
spa bath pumps

2020 
Bedroom assets:   
wardrobes, other than freestanding (incorporating doors, fixed fittings and mirrors)

  Yes
Fire control assets:   
alarms:

   
heat206 
smoke206 
detection and alarm systems:

   
alarm bells2012 
cabling and reticulation  Yes
detectors (including addressable manual call points, heat, multi-type and smoke)own estimate20 
fire indicator panels2012 
manual call points (non-addressable)  Yes
doors, fire and separation

  Yes
emergency warning and intercommunication systems (EWIS):

   
master emergency control panels2012 
speakers2012 
strobe lights2012 
warden intercom phone2012 
extinguishers

13 1/315 
hose cabinet and reels (excluding hoses and nozzles)

  Yes
hoses and nozzles

2010 
hydrant boosters (excluding pumps)

  Yes
hydrants

  Yes
lights, exit and emergency

  Yes
pumps (including diesel and electric)

2025 
sprinkler systems (excluding pumps)

  Yes
stair pressurisation assets:

   
AC variable speed drivesown estimate10 
pressurisation and extraction fansown estimate25 
sensorsown estimate10 
water piping

  Yes
water tanks

  Yes
Kitchen assets:   
cook tops

own estimate12 
crockery

own estimate5 
cutlery

own estimate5 
dishwashers

own estimate10 
fixtures (including bench tops, cupboards, sinks, tapware and tiles)

  Yes
freezers

13 1/312 
garbage disposal units

6 2/310 
microwave ovens

6 2/310 
ovens

own estimate12 
range hoods

own estimate12 
refrigerators

13 1/312 
stoves

2012 
water filters, electrical

own estimate15 
water filters, fixed (attached to plumbing)

  Yes
Laundry assets:   
clothes dryers

own estimate10 
fixtures (including tapware, tiles and tubs)

  Yes
ironing boards, freestanding

own estimate7 
ironing boards, other than freestanding

  Yes
irons

own estimate5 
washing machines

6 2/310 
Outdoor assets:   
automatic garage doors:

   
controlsown estimate5 
motorsown estimate10 
automatic garage doors (excluding controls and motors)

  Yes
barbecues:

   
fixed:  Yes
sliding trays and cookersown estimate10 
freestandingown estimate5 
boat sheds

  Yes
bollards, fixed

  Yes
car parks, sealed

  Yes
carports

  Yes
clotheslines

  Yes
driveways, sealed

  Yes
fencing

  Yes
floor carpet (including artificial grass and matting)

own estimate5 
furniture, freestanding

13 1/35 
furniture, other than freestanding

  Yes
garage doors (excluding motors and controls)

  Yes
garden awnings and shade structures, fixed

  Yes
gardening watering installations:

   
control panelsown estimate5 
pumps205 
timing devicesown estimate5 
gardening watering installations (excluding control panels, pumps and timing devices)

  Yes
garden lights, fixed

  Yes
garden lights, solar

own estimate8 
garden sheds, freestanding

own estimate15 
garden sheds, other than freestanding

  Yes
gates, electrical:

   
controlsown estimate5 
motorsown estimate10 
gates (excluding electrical controls and motors)

  Yes
jetties (including boat sheds and pontoons)

  Yes
letterboxes

  Yes
operable pergola louvres:

   
controlsown estimate15 
motorsown estimate15 
operable pergola louvres (excluding controls and motors)

  Yes
paths

  Yes
retaining walls

  Yes
saunas (excluding heating assets)

  Yes
sauna heating assets

13 1/315 
screens, fixed (including glass screens)

  Yes
septic tanks

  Yes
sewage treatment assets:

   
controlsown estimate8 
motorsown estimate8 
sewage treatment assets (excluding controls and motors)

  Yes
spas:

   
fixed:  Yes
chlorinators13 1/312 
filtration (including pumps)13 1/312 
heaters (electric or gas)13 1/315 
freestanding (incorporating blowers, controls, filters, heaters and pumps)2017 
swimming pool assets:

   
chlorinators13 1/312 
cleaning13 1/37 
filtration (including pumps)13 1/312 
heaters:   
electric13 1/315 
gas13 1/315 
solar13 1/320 
swimming pools

  Yes
tennis court assets:

   
cleanersown estimate3 
drag broomsown estimate3 
netsown estimate5 
rollersown estimate3 
umpire chairsown estimate15 
tennis court assets, fixed (including fences, lights, posts and surfaces)

  Yes
Security and monitoring assets:   
access control systems:

   
code padsown estimate5 
door controllersown estimate5 
readers:   
proximityown estimate7 
swipe cardown estimate3 
closed circuit television systems:

   
cameras6 2/34 
monitors6 2/34 
recorders:   
digitalown estimate4 
time lapseown estimate2 
switching units (including multiplexes)own estimate5 
doors and screens

  Yes
security systems:

   
code pads6 2/35 
control panels6 2/35 
detectors (including glass, passive infrared, and vibration)

6 2/35 
global system for mobiles (GSM) units6 2/35 
noise makers (including bells and sirens)6 2/35 

Table 4

Asset

Decline in value deduction

effective life

(years)

Capital works deduction

Assets acquired before 1 January 2003

Assets acquired from 1 January 2003

Escalators (machinery and moving parts)

16 2/3

20

Lifts:

      electric

16 2/3

30

      hydraulic

20

30

Table 5

Asset

Decline in value deduction

effective life (years)

Capital works deduction

Assets acquired before 1 July 2003

Assets acquired from 1 July 2003

Air conditioning:   
air conditioning assets (excluding ducting, pipes and vents):See air conditioning plant below  
air handling units 20 
chillers:   
Absorption 25 
Centrifugal 20 
volumetrics (including reciprocating, rotary, screw, scroll):   
    air-cooled  15 
    water-cooled 20 
condensing sets 15 
cooling towers 15 
damper motors (including variable air volume box controller) 10 
fan coil units (connected to condensing set) 15 
mini split systems up to 20kW (including ceiling, floor and high wall split system) 10 
packaged air conditioning units 15 
pumps 20 
room units 10 
air conditioning ducts, pipes and vents  Yes
    air conditioning plant: See air conditioning assets (excluding ducting, pipes and vents) above 
central type (including ducting and vents)13 1/3  
structural alterations and additions associated with the installation of this plant which forms an integral part of it100  
room units10  
solar-energy powered13 1/3  

Table 6

Asset

Decline in value deduction

effective life (years)

Capital works deduction

Assets acquired before 1 July 2003

Assets acquired from 1 July 2003

evaporative coolers:   
fixed (excluding ducting and vents)own estimate20 
portableown estimate10 
ducting and vents  Yes

More information

Publications

Publications referred to in this guide are:

To get any publication referred to in this guide:



ATO references:
NO  NAT 1729

history   Top  
   Date   Version 
    1 July 2002   Original document   
    1 July 2003   Updated document   
    1 July 2004   Updated document   
    1 July 2005   Updated document   
    1 July 2006   Updated document   
    1 July 2007   Updated document   
    1 July 2008   Updated document   
    1 July 2009   Updated document   
    1 July 2010   Updated document   
    1 July 2011   Updated document   
    1 July 2012   Updated document   
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