Monthly Newsletter

February 2019

DEPRECIATION AND OFF-THE-PLAN PROPERTIES

Investors who are looking to purchase a new property often look at buying off-the plan.

Buying off-the-plan essentially means you are entering into a contract to purchase a property prior to, or during the construction phase of a property or a development.

One big benefit of purchasing off-the-plan that investors often fail to consider is the property depreciation benefits available.

There are significant depreciation deductions available to the owner of a property purchased off-the-plan. It is important to note however that the property must be completed and be generating an income to claim depreciation deductions.

A completed property purchased off-the-plan will typically attract between $8,000 and$14,000 in depreciation deductions in the first full financial year, so it is fair to say that the new owner can make significant savings and increase their available cash flow by claiming depreciation for the property once it is income producing.

Newly built properties constructed off-the-plan will contain new fixtures and fittings*. Therefore,the depreciable value of these items will be higher. The owners are also eligible to claim the maximum capital works deductions for the building structure, which means more deductions are available to claim over the life of the property (forty years).

When it comes to the fixtures and fittings in an off-the-plan property, investors should be aware that not all assets are created equal. In most cases, those assets with a higher starting cost will generate higher depreciation deductions.

For this reason,investors may want to consider the brand and price range of assets in an off-the-plan property.

Focusing on a kitchen in an off-the-plan property, the above table illustrates how the depreciation deductions available will vary depending on the model or price range.

As you can see,those assets with a higher starting cost generate higher deductions than those with a lower base cost, both in the first full financial year and over the first five years combined.

As one example, a high range oven costing $5,150 will receive $858.51 in first year deductions and $3,080.74 in the first five years, while a low range oven purchased for$1,425 will get $237.55 in first year deductions and $1,183.42 over the first five years. This is a difference of $1,897.32 in the first five years.

If this is the difference an investor can see from just one asset, it’s understandable why they would want to give due thought to all the plant and equipment assets installed, as they add up to substantial depreciation differences.  

Please note that the low-range microwave oven purchased for $220 would receive a 100 per cent write-off in the first year.

It is recommended that investors consult with their Accountant to seek advice when purchasing a property off-the-plan and also speak with a reputable Quantity Surveyor to get an estimate of the likely depreciation deductions available for the property.

A specialist Quantity Surveyor such as BMT Tax Depreciation will liaise with the Property Developer to request information about the property. This information is used to provide a detailed estimate of the depreciation deductions that will become available once the property has been completed and is income producing.

By obtaining this information, the owner will have a far more comprehensive idea of the end cost involved in holding the property. The additional cash flow created from a depreciation claim can be put towards future loan repayments or to help save for future investment property purchases.

* Under new legislation outlined in the Treasury Laws Amendment (Housing Tax Integrity) Bill 2017 passed by Parliament on 15th November 2017, investors who exchange contracts on a second-hand residential property after 7:30pm on 9th May 2017 will no longer be able to claim depreciation on previously used plant and equipment assets. Investors can claim deductions on plant and equipment assets they purchase and directly incur the expense for. Investors who purchased prior to this date and those who purchase a brand new property will still be able to claim depreciation as they were previously.

To learn more visit www.bmtqs.com.au/budget-2017 or read BMT’s comprehensive White Paper document at www.bmtqs.com.au/2017-budget-whitepaper
Article provided by BMT TaxDepreciation.
Bradley Beer (B. Con.Mgt, AAIQS, MRICS, AVAA) is the Chief Executive Officer of BMT Tax Depreciation.  
Please contact 1300 728 726 or visit www.bmtqs.com.aufor an Australia-wide service.

TAXATION OF INCOME FOR AN INDIVIDUALS FAME OR IMAGE

The Government has released a consultation paper with respect to the implementation of the 2018/19 Federal Budget announcement relating to the direct taxation of an individual’s fame or image at their marginal tax rates.

The proposed reform aims to ensure that all remuneration (including both cash and non-cash benefits) provided for the commercial exploitation of a person’s fame or image will be included in their assessable income.

Editor: These reforms reflect the Government’s concern that high-profile individuals (including sports persons, actors and other celebrities) have been ‘taking advantage’ of lower tax rates by licencing their fame or image to another (generally related) entity for the purpose of tax-effective income splitting.  

Following the Federal Budget announcement, the ATO withdrew its draft Practical Compliance Guideline PCG2017/D11 (the ‘draft PCG’).

The draft PCG had set out a 10% safe harbour for apportioning lump sum payments for the provision of a professional sportsperson’s services and the use and exploitation of their ‘public fame’ or ‘image’ under licence.

In withdrawing the draft PCG, the ATO advised that for the period up to 1 July 2019, it will not seek to apply compliance resources to review an arrangement complying with the terms of the draft PCG if it was entered into prior to 24 August 2018 (i.e., being the date the draft PCG was withdrawn).

MYEFO REPORT

The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (‘MYEFO’) report was recently released.

It indicates that the underlying Budget deficit is expected to be$5.2 billion in 2019 (down from the $14.5 billion deficit estimated in the 2018/19 Federal Budget).

The substantial deficit reduction is reportedly a result of increased tax collections, with individual tax collections up $4.1 billion and company tax collections up $3.4 billion.

Additionally, the MYEFO report also provides a useful snap shot of what the Government is thinking when it comes to tax policy – particularly where previously announced reforms are still pending.

A few tax-related policy updates confirmed in the MYEFO worth mentioning include the following:

  • GST compliance program – The Government is looking to provide $467 million of ATO funding from 2020 to 2024 to fund additional GST-related audits and the development of analytical tools to combat emerging risks to the GST system.
  • $10,000 cash payment limit – The Government will delay the introduction of an economy-wide cash payment limit of$10,000 from the originally proposed 1 July 2019 start date, until 1 July 2020.
  • Abandonment of the proposed changes to intangible asset depreciation – The Government has announced it will not be proceeding with the current proposal to allow taxpayers to self-assess the effective lives of certain intangible depreciating assets.
  • Super access for victims of crimes –The Government proposes to introduce legislation to allow victims of certain crimes (i.e., serious violent crimes) access to their perpetrator’s superannuation to pay any outstanding compensation.
  • Increasing the integrity of limited recourse borrowing arrangements (‘LRBAs’) – The Government is making an adjustment to the previously announced reforms requiring outstanding balances of LRBAs to be included in a member's total superannuation balance by extending the start date and limiting impacted taxpayers.
  • Superannuation guarantee (‘SG’) penalty increase – Where employers fail to come forward during the 12-month SG amnesty, the Government is proposing to increase the minimum penalty from 50%to 100% of the Superannuation Guarantee Charge.

Editor: Note the required legislative amendments needed to implement the tax concessions promoted by the ATO under the SG amnesty (at the time of writing) is yet to be passed by Parliament.

This is despite the fact that the Government's proposed SG Amnesty is meant to run from 24 May 2018 to 23 May 2019.

CLAIMS FOR HOME OFFICE EXPENSES INCREASED

The ATO has updated the hourly rate taxpayers can use to determined deductions for home office expenses from 45 cents to 52 cents per hour for individual taxpayers, effective 1 July 2018 (i.e., from the 2019 income year).

According to the ATO’s recently updated PS LA 2001/6, individual taxpayers who claim deductions for either work or business-related home office running expenses may either:

  • claim a deduction for the actual expenses incurred; or
  • calculate the running expenses at the rate of 52 cents per hour.

Taxpayers who use the rate per hour method to claim a deduction for home office running expenses only need to keep a record to show how many hours they work from home.

This reduced substantiation requirement can be recorded either:

  • during the course of the income year; or alternatively
  • they can keep a representative four-week diary(where their work from home hours are regular and constant).

DIVISION 293 ASSESSMENTS

The ATO has been issuing ‘Additional tax on concessional contributions (Division 293) assessments’ with respect to liabilities relating to the 2018 income year.

Division 293 imposes an additional 15% tax on certain concessional (i.e., taxable) superannuation contributions.

It applies to individuals with income and concessional superannuation contributions exceeding the relevant annual threshold.

This means that impacted individuals may ultimately pay 30% tax(when the Division 293 tax is combined with the existing 15% contributions tax)with respect to:

  • superannuation contributions made on their behalf as a result of employer super guarantee obligations or effective salary packaging arrangements; or
  • personal deductible contributions.

The ATO reportedly expects to issue about 90,000 assessments during the first two months of 2019.

Payment needs to be made by the due date to avoid any additional interest charges, although alternative payment methods are available (including the ability to release money from any existing super balances).

Editor: More individuals will receive Division 293 assessments (and be required to pay the additional 15% tax) for the 2018 financial year due to a drop in the applicable threshold from $300,000 to $250,000.

Additionally, one of the key ALP tax policies for the upcoming Federal Election includes a further reduction of this Division 293 threshold from $250,000 to $200,000.

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