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Rental expenses claim. Keeping the ATO happy

Are you claiming rental expenses that might relate to the private use of your rental property?

The ATO has indicated that they intend to review taxpayers who have rental properties.

Who’s on the title is important!

When declaring the property. The ATO will be looking for the persons whose name is on the title to declare the net rental income or loss. This also goes for the eventual gain when sold.

Many think that if they share in the loan liability that this is sufficient. The truth is it is entirely based on ownership and title details.

Beware of the ATO

The ATO’s focus will be looking closely at those taxpayers that incur expenses beyond the norm for their rental property. The ATO will consider these expenses as both excessive and where the rental property is not available for rent but rather used as a holiday home.

The ATO like all of us is aware if you have a holiday home for rental in most cases there is a big chance you will use it for your personal use.

Travel to and from your holiday home or rental property

From 1st July 2017 travel expenses to your travel holiday home were legislated to be disallowed. (note this does not apply to commercial properties).

The ATO has previously been on the public record stating that they will take a keen interest in the interest expense claims. They will look to see if the property is available for continuous rent vs the percentage of the expense claim. Remember also you can only claim interest from the time it’s available to rent and not before.

Further, those taxpayers who have drawdown additional funds against their investment loan or refinanced will need to ensure the loan interest claim reflects the proportion % of the original loan.

Those using loan offset accounts should be okay

Adjust for private use on rental expenses

Make sure that if the property is used for private use then the property expenses are proportionately claimed accordingly.

The same goes for low rental, not arms-length, adjustments also apply.

The ATO has technological ways to check taxpayers’ stories, including real estate sites, social media and other sources such as water and electricity accounts. Take care when claiming and if in doubt please check with us.

Rental properties are still a great investment. We are now seeing many of the rental schedules being positive rather than negative gearing. This is entirely due to low-interest rates and high rentals.

We encourage you to contact us if you are purchasing a new property and let’s discuss who should hold the property and what claims can be made

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