Opinion: Everything property owners need to know at tax time

JOHN PIDGEON
18 March 2021
As a first time property investor, it can be difficult to know what steps to take, especially around tax time. Find out what may be involved for you as explained by expert John Pidgeon.

Have you considered your tax yet?

For all you property investors out there, it’s time to stop procrastinating and start getting your ducks in a row.  And, if a possible tax return is in your forseeable future, why would you want to wait a second longer?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or you’re not sure where to start, you’ve come to the right article.

Naturally, if you’re new to the property investing game and this is your first tax time (congrats btw!!), this may all seem a little daunting.  That’s ok, you just need a place to start.  Push through remember, you’re certainly not alone.



If you’re a seasoned investor, this little old checklist is a great way to consider ways to maximise your return and focus on what’s important without being bogged down by all the things you don’t really need to provide.

OK, here’s the checklist I personally use at tax time to ensure I feel in control and have everything ready and raring to go for my accountant.

The aim of the tax time game is to properly analyse your investment properties, think about the future, and to get the best tax return possible for your situation.

  • Consider an accountant

If you’re a property investor, find an accountant who specialises in Property Investing.  You could potentially save yourself thousands with the right one – I personally saved almost $40K by switching! I recommend you pick up the phone and lock in a chat.  Now you’ve got a timeframe to gather all the information required and you’re accountable.  Keep the ball rolling!

  • Get organised

Taking your receipts to your accountant in a shoe box isn’t a great idea.  If you operate this way, claims will be missed and you’ll spend a stack more money on accounting fees than you actually need to.  I like to use an excel spreadsheet to keep everything in order, but whatever you choose – it just needs to be documented all in the one spot.

  • Analyse your statements

Firstly, download and analyse your bank statements to calculate interest, then get onto your income and expenses and ask your Property Manager (if you have one) for your Annual Statement.

  • Fall in love with spreadsheets

Anyone who knows me would know that I love myself a good spreader to track…well…almost anything! It just makes life a little bit easier.  As an investor, I try to make sure my Property Analysis spreadsheets are in order and good to go – 5 gold stars from your accountant for sure.

  • Depreciation schedule 

Make sure you have your depreciation schedule sorted – if you haven’t got one, go and get one done.  What is it?  This is a report that outlines all available tax depreciation deductions for an investment property and shows the deductions for the depreciation of the building structure and the items within it.

  • Cashflow check

Analyse the cashflow of your portfolio and understand your bank statements.  Work out how much interest you’ve paid throughout the year, and yep (you guessed it) send to your accountant.  If this is nice and easy for them to process, it keeps your running costs down too!

  • Buffers are essential

Forecast your buffers for the next 12 months.  This will help you through the ‘unexpected’ times if the rent stops rolling in or when a costly repair is urgently required.  These things often happen without warning, so you want to be prepared.  You need to know your ‘before tax’ cashflow position.

  • Know your plan of attack moving forward

Capital Growth and Cashflow are probably the main two outcomes for property investors.  If you have multiple properties, and this isn’t your first rodeo, this is also a great opportunity to sit down with your Accountant and look at your cashflow before and after tax, and capital growth, what’s happened with my portfolio in the past 3 to 5 years.  If you’re not getting either of those, you need to critically look at where your portfolio is going.

  • Tax position

Analyse your tax position – has your refund increase?  Or has your tax payable decreased?

So there you have it – my personal checklist I use as a property investor.

As you can see, there’s a bit of work to get organised, so get cracking on this as soon as you possibly can.  Doing it right the first time will save you time, energy, and potentially – cash!

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Lowest interest rates for 3-year fixed home loans

The comparison table below displays some of the 3 year fixed rate investment home loan products on Canstar’s database with links to lenders’ websites available for a loan amount of $350,000 at 80% LVR in NSW, and available for Principal and Interest repayments. The results are sorted by ‘current rate’ (lowest to highest), then by provider name (alphabetically).

*Comparison rate based on loan amount of $150,000. Read the Comparison Rate Warning.

Lowest interest rates for 5-year fixed home loans

The comparison tables below displays some of the 5 year fixed rate investment home loan products on Canstar’s database with links to lenders’ websites available for a loan amount of $350,000 at 80% LVR in NSW, and available for Principal and Interest repayments. The results are sorted by ‘current rate’ (lowest to highest), then by provider name (alphabetically).

*Comparison rate based on loan amount of $150,000. Read the Comparison Rate Warning.

Main image source: JadedQ/Shutterstock.com

This article was reviewed by our Content Producer Isabella Shoard before it was published as part of our fact-checking process.


About John Pidgeon 

Male John Pidgeon is speaking into a radio microphone

John Pidgeon is the Director and Head Property, Finance, and Business Educator of Solvere Wealth and Co-host of My Millennial Money podcast. John is also the creator of the Solvere Online Academy, which aims to educate investors at every stage of their financial journey. He has a Bachelor of Arts and Teaching, Health and Physical Education and Fitness at University of Ballarat. Follow him on LinkedIn.

 

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