If you’re buying a property or renovating this spring season, it’s worth considering how depreciation plays into the equation. Even a couple of small decisions can have a significant pay off.


Tyron Hyde, chief executive of quantity surveying firm Washington Brown explains that there are some items that can be depreciated at 100%. Essentially, this allows you to maximise your return from the start. “Depreciation is really about claiming the wear and tear on your property, from carpets and blinds to ovens and dishwashers,” Hyde says.


“It’s a way to reduce your taxable income and it’s perfectly legal,” he says. He suggests new buyers remember that new properties have a higher rate of depreciation, and that higher developments can have more claimed on them due to lifts and structural requirements.


Developments with pools and gyms can also often see more claimed, due to a higher ratio of plant and equipment to the purchase price, and he notes that lower priced properties have a higher depreciation ration.


Here are his four tips to remember:


  1. Individual items under $300 can be claimed immediately. If you’re buying a microwave, buy one that’s $299 instead of $319. This is better than depreciating it at the prime cost rate of 10% per annum (or $30 in the first year). That’s a 1000% increase.
  2. Big ticket items can be claimed too. If your portion of an expensive item is under $300, you can claim it. For example, a garage door costs $2,500 in a building of 10 units therefore your cost is $250. This amount can be depreciated immediately.
  3. Items valued between $300 and $1,000 can be depreciated at a higher rate. Through the low value pool method, you can claim these at a rate of 37.5%. So if you bought an oven for $950 you can claim $356.
  4. Split your report to get more. If you have bought a property as a group, say with family or friends, as your Quantity Surveyor to split the depreciation report between the investors to get more bang for your buck.


“Depreciation is the only non-cash deduction available to property investors,” says Hyde.


Source: Property Observer, Smart Company