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Property investment tips: Claiming on depreciating assets

Buying an investment property is a significant step, but if you secure the right kind of dwelling you could reap the rewards. 

Whether you're currently renting and have chosen to invest or are a homeowner looking to expand your properties, you'll want to ensure you get a cheap home loan deal that suits your needs. 

However, property investment isn't just about finding a lender that can provide you with the best mortgage option for your circumstances - though this is certainly important!

Owning multiple properties is an ongoing commitment, but with the right planning, it can work out very successfully.

There are a few things to keep in mind when investing. It pays to know what kind of allowances you are eligible for so you can maximise the return on your investment. 

One property tip to keep in mind involves depreciating assets.

As a landlord or self managed super fund investment property owner, it's worth being aware of depreciating assets and how you can actually benefit from these.

Tax benefits for investment properties

Did you know that you're eligible for a tax deduction for the decline in depreciating assets' values acquired with a property purchase?

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) explains that this deduction not only applies to assets that were acquired with the property at time of purchase, but also those which were subsequently purchased for a home or unit. 

Understanding depreciating assets

A depreciating asset is that which "can reasonably be expected to decline in value over the time it is used," notes the ATO. 

This could include stoves, washing machines and freestanding furniture.

If you have an investment property, you might consider furnishing it with certain items - such as a stove and fridge - in order to secure the right tenants. 

For instance, you might buy an apartment that's located several storeys high in a building. Tenants who know they don't have to move as much furniture may be more compelled to move in. 

By offering certain assets for the duration of the tenancy, you could widen the pool of potential tenants to ensure you get the right people in your investment property.

Claiming on these assets

When you're working out your assessable income for your tax return, you may be able to "claim a deduction for the decline in value of the cost of capital assets," notes the ATO.

There are a number of steps to finding out how much you can deduct.

First, you'll need to work out if the item is in fact a depreciating asset. 

You'll then need to figure out if there has been a decline in value. If you acquired the asset on or after July 1, 2001, you'll follow the process outlined in the ATO's Uniform Capital Allowance System (UCA).

It's also worth noting that some of the general UCA rules don't apply to certain assets. Factors like the cost of the asset and the purpose of it are relevant to complete this analysis.

Other steps you need to take to work out your possible deductions include the effective life of the asset and the cost of it.

While this might seem like a complicated process, the ATO has significant information on its website to help explain the process better so you can be sure that you're getting the best deal within the bounds of tax legislation. 

Being able to claim on depreciating assets is just one way you can be tax effective.

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This information has been prepared without taking into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.