Author Archive for: Greg

Claim property deductions this financial year

Claim property deductions this financial year

Property depreciation deductions can make a big difference to a property owner’s cash flow.

The Australian Taxation Office allows property owners to claim depreciation, or decline in value, as a deduction. Depreciation is considered a non-cash deduction, meaning an investor doesn’t need to spend any money to be eligible to make a claim. Therefore it is not unusual for these deductions to get missed.

With tax time approaching, property owners should be sure they are claiming all the deductions to which they are entitled. Owners of income-producing properties can claim depreciation deductions related to the building’s structure as well as the plant and equipment assets* within the property.

Depreciation related to a building’s structure can be claimed as a capital works deduction. As a general rule, residential homes in which construction commenced after the 15th of September 1987 and commercial properties in which construction commenced after 20th July 1982 are eligible for the capital works deductions.

Depreciation on each plant and equipment item, or the easily removable fixtures and fittings within a building, can also be claimed for most properties*. Plant and equipment assets include items such as hot water systems, carpets and blinds.

*Under proposed changes to legislation, 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 plant and equipment assets. Investors who purchase a new property will be able to continue to claim these items as they were previously. We are currently speaking with government to further understand the intricacies relating to the proposed changes.

Investors should engage a specialist Quantity Surveyor to discuss the depreciation potential of any investment property they own or are planning to purchase. They can provide a free estimate of the first year deductions available based on the scenario of the individual investor and can provide a comprehensive depreciation schedule outlining the deductions they are eligible to claim when the visit their Accountant to perform their annual income tax return.

A depreciation schedule has a one-off cost which lasts the life of the property (forty years) and will ensure the owner claims their depreciation entitlements correctly. A depreciation schedule is 100 per cent tax deductible. By ordering the schedule prior to the 30th of June 2017, an investor will be able to claim the fee straight back in that financial year.

Regardless of when a residential property is purchased there are likely to be substantial deductions available. It is still worth discussing every property scenario with BMT.

For more information, speak with one of the expert team at BMT Tax Depreciation on
1300 728 726 or enquire online today.
Article provided by BMT Tax Depreciation.

Have you heard of Shop Hold? They are our Client of the Month.

Have you heard of Shop Hold? They are our Client of the Month.

Another fantastic small business that we would like to celebrate is Shop HOLD, which creates beautifully hand made bags and baskets. HOLD is the love child of two sisters, Theresa and Bree, who I first met 8 years ago. Since then we have been lucky enough to help them purchase their first homes, renovation projects and achieve their financial goal of buying an investment property.

HOLD was founded on the idea to create scrumptious pieces that were both sustainable and simple, less truly is more. HOLD strives to have a minimal carbon footprint and limits the use of commonly thrown out waste (plastic, receipts, paper) in packaging. All items are wrapped in vintage fabric and any paper used is strictly recycled.

Their ethos is that you can have both style and function without compromising on our responsibility to the earth and the people lives that create your wares.

Here are three reasons why we love HOLD:

  • All their bags are named after influential and powerful women from yesterday and today. It is a simple nod to the women that have changed history forever by being being brave, strong and the early adapters of the woman to woman movement. “These woman have fought for what they believe in regardless of society’s expectations. And we thank them for that” says Theresa.
  • They are huge supporters of the slow fashion movement.
  • Their bags and baskets are made by two families in the stunning island of Bali, Indonesia. The HOLD team have a strong relationship with the families involved in making their beautiful wares that predates HOLD.

You can support HOLD by following them on Instagram or check out there beautifully made bags and baskets here.

If you would like to be featured in our ‘Client of the Month’ please email us.

Commercial loans: Every thing you need to know about them

Commercial loans: Every thing you need to know about them

Every commercial business has different needs required to achieve their investment goals. No two businesses are the same and every loan application requires a specific finance strategy, this will simplify the process and fast track the approval time.

The secret to a successful commercial loan application is for you to understand the application process and together we can identify any potential hurdles. In turn we can be proactive and apply an innovative finance solutions to achieve your business goals.

ONYX Finance specialises in providing finance for commercial property to investors and owner-occupiers for:
• Property purchases
• Refinancing of an existing loan
• Equity release for property improvement, investment, working capital and business expansion

Finance is available for individuals, both private and public companies, trusts and partnerships.

Some benefits of ONYX Finance loans are:
• No ongoing fees
• No annual reviews
• No regular property revaluations
• No cross-selling or cross-collateralisation of securities
• Long or short loan terms and interest only periods
• Quick decisions and fast turnaround times
• Access to the people who make the decisions
• A lower total cost of borrowing than the major banks

Our simple step-by-step process has been specifically developed to provide our clients with the confidence to understand the lending process along with technical information that is not always explained upfront by other lenders.

So call or email me now, for an obligation-free chat, a simple call that could save you thousands of dollars.

Property investors to lose out from proposed budget changes

Property investors to lose out from proposed budget changes

The 2017 Federal Budget, handed down by Treasurer Scott Morrison on Tuesday night, 9th May at 7:30pm AEST includes proposed changes which will affect residential property investors Australia-wide.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) allows owners of income producing property to claim depreciation deductions for the wear and tear that occurs to a building’s structure and the plant and equipment assets within.

The proposed changes relate to the depreciation of plant and equipment assets and the eligibility to claim this deduction. Currently, investors are eligible to claim qualifying plant and equipment depreciation on assets found in an investment property they purchase, even if they were installed by a previous owner.

“Under the new rules which are yet to be legislated by Parliament, investors will be able to depreciate new plant and equipment assets and items they add to their property, however subsequent owners will not be able to claim depreciation on existing plant and equipment assets,” said the Chief Executive Officer of BMT Tax Depreciation, Bradley Beer.

“This change will have a major impact on investors, essentially reducing the annual deductions they can claim therefore reducing their cash return each year. This could lead to investors being in a tighter financial position and may discourage future investors from purchasing a second hand residential property,” said Mr Beer.

“It is our understanding at this stage that if the property is new, they will be able to continue to depreciate plant and equipment as they were previously. We are seeking further clarification on this,” said Mr Beer.
Investors will still be able to claim capital works deductions also known as building write off, including any additional capital works carried out by a previous owner.

The budget notes were clear that existing investments will be grandfathered. This means that anyone who has purchased a property up until the 9th of May 2017 will be able to claim depreciation as per normal.
If a property investor exchanges contracts to purchase a second hand property after 7:30pm on the 9th May, there could be different depreciation rules applicable to their scenario.

“We are currently speaking with government to further understand the intricacies relating to the budget notes and the proposed changes to depreciation of plant and equipment assets,” said Mr Beer.
Article provided by BMT Tax Depreciation.

Are you an investor? What the budget means for you.

Are you an investor? What the budget means for you.

The budget low down for investors


Travel claims 

Firstly, travel expenses will no longer be allowable for tax purposes. The ATO have identified a widespread rorting of the travel entitlement rules which allow you, as an investor, to claim a tax deduction when you travel to inspect or collect rent on your investment property(ies). It would seem that enough people are unfairly claiming private travel as a deduction to warrant the change in the rules.

Depreciation deductions
Rules are also being tightened around depreciation deductions for plant and equipment items such as washing machines, dryer, furniture, ceiling fans, etc… From budget night, you will only be able to claim a tax deduction if you actually purchased the goods yourself. In the past, successive investors were able to claim depreciation on the same items, well in excess of their initial value. There is an argument that the rules could have been fairer towards investors buying a near new property with near new equipment and who will now not be able to claim depreciation on these items. It seems that the issue does not appear material enough to the government to make the changes more balanced.

Foreign investors
Foreign investors are the most affected by Budget 2017.They will no longer be able to claim primary residence exemption for capital gains tax purposes, in a measure which is expected to bring in an extra $581 million over the next four years.
Moreover, if foreign investors leave their property empty or fail to rent it out for at least six months of the year, they’ll be slugged with a “ghost tax” equal to the foreign investment application fee they paid at the time of application, which will work out to at least $5,000. Foreign investors will also be limited to a 50 per cent of purchases in new developments, to give Australian buyers a better chance of acquiring some real estate.

Introducing our new Advocate Program

Introducing our new Advocate Program

An easy way to earn a $500, $750 or $1,000 Westfield Shopping voucher.

If you have been following us for some time you will know that we are really passionate about finance and helping you grow your wealth through property investment.

I am just going to wear my heart on my sleeve for a minute… it isn’t always easy competing with huge big corporations that have bigger advertising budgets than we could spend in a lifetime however we love what we do and will continue helping hundreds of clients, just like you, achieve their financial goals.

One thing you may not know about us is we are a smaller owner-operated business passionate about your success, but obviously we couldn’t do it without you, our loyal clients.

Because we are hands-on we pride ourselves on prompt responses and personalised, strategic advice. You’re not just a number at Onyx!

We are grateful for the champions of Onyx. Our advocates continue to recommend us to their family, friends and work colleagues and ensure we can keep getting people into their first home, dream home and investment properties and achieve those big financial goals which will assist them retire securely and enjoy what should be one of the most enjoyable times of their lives.

It is for this reason we are so excited to announce our new ‘Advocate Program’, which will reward you for your recommendations and referrals that result in settled loans in any 12-month period.


Advocate Program Rewards

$500 Westfield Shopping voucher – 1 referral

$750 Westfield Shopping voucher – 2 referrals

$1,000 Westfield Shopping voucher – 3 or more referrals

And it’s easy to redeem you can shop online or at any one of 35 Shopping Centres across Australia.


The power of word of mouth

We all love a good recommendation, whether it be a good book, movie or great restaurant. We would love to treat finance the same. If you would recommend us to a friend or family member please follow this link.

Thank you for supporting Onyx.

What is the solution for making housing more affordable?

What is the solution for making housing more affordable?

A solution to housing affordability is extraordinarily complex, requiring a multifaceted response from a variety of public sector and private sector stakeholders. The goal of affordable housing can also be at odds with the aims of maintaining capital inflows from foreign investment and sustaining the value of domestic assets. A coordinated and cooperative approach is likely to be one of the largest challenges to improving housing affordability – can we get all the stakeholders to agree on the best strategy and then execute the plan?

The three layers of government have separate and sometimes conflicting agendas, limiting a coordinated response to housing affordability. One of the prime examples of the imbalance between federal, state and local polices is population growth, which is a primary driver of housing demand.

Population growth

It’s not a coincidence that the two states with the highest population growth (Victoria and New South Wales) have the highest growth in dwelling values. Both states are seeing a solid upward trend in net overseas migration rates, while interstate migration is also remarkably higher than average in both states (despite remaining negative in New South Wales). Strong population growth stimulates the economy, providing a larger taxation and consumption base. It also puts upward demand pressure on existing dwellings and transport and requires an adequate investment in new infrastructure.

The federal government sets migration policy, state governments need to supply more infrastructure and local governments need to ensure land is appropriately zoned for appropriate population densities and additional housing. While the federal government sometimes contributes funding for these initiatives, state governments are generally faced with the funding challenge for these new projects.

An underinvestment in efficient transport infrastructure projects relative to population growth can be one of the primary contributors to high dwelling values in certain areas because housing demand becomes focussed within those areas that are in a convenient location relative to work and essential amenities. This is one of the reasons why growth rates are so disparate between Australian capital cities and regional areas.

Strategically located and zoned land

A shortage of strategically located, appropriately zoned land is another key contributor to higher housing prices and, consequently, the affordability challenges many cities are facing.

Take Sydney as the worst case example, where the dwelling price to income ratio for detached housing is approaching ten times the median gross annual household income. Buying a house within 20 km of the Sydney CBD generally involves a purchase price of at least one million dollars. Demand for housing is substantially higher across the inner city suburbs, along the coastline and along the transport spines, while demand for housing located in the city outskirts is often undesirable for many aspiring home owners due to the long commuting times and lack of essential amenities.

Of course, focusing on transport infrastructure in isolation is unlikely to push house prices down. Indeed, new infrastructure projects often increase demand from investors looking for new growth areas. The complexity of a solution to housing affordability is therefore about adjusting the interplay of many demand factors in addition to housing supply considerations.

Investor demand

Investors are contributing substantially higher-than-average levels of demand to the housing market. Investors have historically comprised around 33% to 40% of housing demand, however the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that investors comprised closer to 50% of new mortgage demand nationally (excluding refinances) and closer to 60% in New South Wales. The high participation rate of investors has contributed to housing market activity and added to the upwards pressure on housing prices.

Recently, APRA and ASIC have cracked down on mortgages originating on interest-only terms and lenders are implementing stricter servicing standards and writing fewer mortgages on small deposits. These measures should help to slow investment in housing, however investors are still incentivised to participate in the housing market via taxation policies like negative gearing and the 50% capital gains tax concession that applies after twelve months.

However, considering the unprecedented number of high-rise apartments currently under construction, it is important that investor demand is not dramatically reduced. The large majority of apartment stock under construction is reliant on investors being able to settle their off-the-plan purchases.

Regulators and policy makers are likely to be mindful of this risk when adjusting their policy settings and dampening investment demand. The 2011 Census showed that apartments were more than two and a half times more likely to be owned by investors than owner occupiers highlighting that ultimately a large proportion of new unit stock is being purchased by investors.

Foreign investment and low rates

Other factors affecting the demand side of housing affordability include additional demand from foreign buyers and the stimulatory effect of low mortgage rates. Foreign investment adds to overall housing demand and the fact that official figures on the level of foreign buying approvals haven’t been updated for almost two years makes quantifying the effects of foreign demand problematic. Additionally, historically low mortgage rates are also stimulating higher demand; even though mortgage rates are now edging higher, they remain close to the lowest levels since the 1960’s.

Furthermore, the inflationary effects of historically low interest rates has boosted home owner’s equity. Home owners are searching for returns and Sydney and Melbourne housing has been attractive due to the ongoing strength of returns relative to other asset classes.

Housing supply challenges

While understanding the drivers of housing demand is critical to forming a strategy for improving affordability, so too is understanding housing supply. The interplay between these two factors push housing prices higher or lower.

The Australian economy is benefitting from an unprecedented dwelling construction boom, however, one must question whether the record levels of new supply is the ‘right kind’ of supply that will help to address housing affordability. Building more dwellings is key to improving housing affordability, but if the majority of new dwellings being built have a mismatch with buyer preferences, then a disconnection between demand and supply will remain.

Based on the latest building activity data from the ABS, there are just over 152,600 units under construction across Australia and 65,700 detached houses. While detached house building is only 7.2% higher than the decade average, the number of units under construction is 85% higher than the decade average and virtually double the thirty year average. Additionally, ABS data confirms the large majority of apartments which are under construction are in high rise projects, which, at least anecdotally, are more likely to be oriented towards investors rather than first-home buyers or family households.

The current boom in housing construction is better described as a high rise building boom, with the number of detached houses under construction peaking at about the same level as previous cyclical highs. A trends towards higher densities is natural for mature cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, however the surge in high rise dwelling construction has happened against a back drop of a substantially lower proportion of low and medium density dwellings.

Ten years ago, based on building approvals data, townhouses comprised 48% of all non-house dwelling approvals; the latest data shows townhouses now comprise only 24% of all non-house approvals, while at the same time, high rise units (classified by the ABS as unit projects with at least four storeys) have moved from being 39% of all non-house approvals only ten years ago to 70% based on the latest data.

It’s reasonable to argue that much of the housing stock that is being built at the moment, being high rise units, is more suited to investors and consequently rental markets, rather than families, who would generally prefer to live in lower density dwellings. Furthermore, the majority of new unit stock is one or two bedrooms which is generally not appropriate for families.

Other factors affecting housing supply include town planning legacies which prevent infill development in strategic locations close to major working and transport nodes, insufficient transport infrastructure linking affordable housing markets with major working hubs, and high development fees and headworks costs associated with developing land.

Additionally, high transactional costs such as stamp duty are a major disincentive to upgraders or downsizers. Many of these potential home sellers are simply staying in their home for longer which detracts from the efficient transfer of housing stock across generations.

Overall, there is no silver bullet for solving housing affordability issues in Australia. Housing demand and supply levers can be pulled, however the ability to do so is not straight forward. Changes in both demand and supply factors could have broader consequences for household wealth and economic growth.

Australian households have more than half of their wealth tied up in the residential housing sector and about 70% of their debt is housing related; a larger than expected downturn in housing values would likely result in less household consumption and impact negatively on economic growth and Australian retirement assets.

Investors are an important component of the housing market from both a demand perspective and delivering new rental supply. Turning down the volume on investment activity is important, however, reducing investment demand at the same time as a record number of off-the-plan apartments is about to settle is a proposition fraught with risk.

Perhaps the most logical course to improve housing affordability is a gradual adjustment to some of these factors.


Arguably, one of the most strategic solutions is to build more efficient transport linkages that connect the regions where housing is affordable with regions where jobs are located. New infrastructure creates greater productivity, provides jobs and opens up affordable areas that were previously less desirable.

Another long-term strategy is to work towards greater geographic distribution of employment opportunities. The past five years has seen 75% of Australia’s jobs created in NSW and VIC, with the vast majority of these positions located in Sydney and Melbourne. More businesses and government departments located outside of the largest metropolitan areas would help to attract larger populations to these regions where housing prices are typically substantially lower than what is available across the large cities. State governments should be looking at taxation incentives to attract large businesses across state borders and there should be further support for new businesses seeking to establish themselves in key areas.

Bottom line

Whatever the strategy, in order for there to be a cohesive and coordinated plan, there needs to be someone in charge. A federal housing minister who is tasked with formulating and executing a housing strategy would be a logical first step. Counterpart roles within the state governments makes sense, as well as a broader coordinated town planning strategy for the metropolitan areas that sets the framework for local government planning schemes (the Greater Sydney Commission is one of the best examples of a coordinated approach to town planning).

Source: Written by Tim Lawson []

Multiple owners increase depreciation claims

Multiple owners increase depreciation claims

Split reports help accelerate deductions

An increase in BMT Tax Depreciation Schedules for more than one owner suggests co-ownership is becoming an increasingly popular trend.

Owning a property with others can provide improved purchasing power. This can be particularly useful in capital cities where it can be difficult to break into the property market.

It can also balance out the expenses of owning an investment property including ongoing repairs, maintenance and fees. Additionally, co-ownership can provide improved depreciation deductions, allowing more items to be depreciated at a higher rate. This is where a BMT Tax Depreciation split report can assist.

How does a split depreciation report work?
A split report calculates depreciation deductions based on each owner’s percentage of ownership for each asset. This involves splitting the value of the assets based upon each owner’s interest in the assets before applying depreciation rules.

In a scenario where there is just one owner, legislation allows property investors to claim an immediate write-off for assets with an opening value of $300 or less. However, when an investment property is co-owned by two parties with a 50:50 ownership share, a split report allows the owners to each claim an immediate write-off for items where their interest in the asset is below $300. This means the owners can claim an instant write-off for items which are less than $600 in total value.

The same method can be used when applying low-value pooling. Where an owner’s interest in an asset is less than $1,000, these items will qualify to be placed in a low-value pool. This means they can be claimed at an increased rate of 18.75 per cent in the first year regardless of the number of days owned and 37.5 per cent from the second year onwards.

In a situation where ownership is split 50:50, by calculating an owner’s interest in each asset first, the owners will qualify to pool assets which cost less than $2,000 in total to the low-value pool.

Distributing the value of assets based upon the percentage of ownership first will increase the number of assets which investors are eligible to claim an immediate write-off or low-value pooling for. As a result, the rate at which depreciation deductions can be applied will be accelerated and the owners will receive increased deductions in the earlier years of ownership.

BMT’s split reports simplify this process and allow owners to get more from their investment. Each report can also be provided in CSV format for easy importing into accounting software.

There is an option for owners who prefer a depreciation schedule without any split applied should this be required.

For more information and to see how a split depreciation report can increase deductions for two owners read here

Introducing Onyx Client of the Month… The Melbourne Map!

Introducing Onyx Client of the Month… The Melbourne Map!

The Melbourne Map

There are so many fantastic small businesses out there and we want to add to the positive movement of supporting each other. From one small business to another we want to start promoting the talent around us and thus would like to introduce The Melbourne Map.

I first met Melinda Clarke, the creator of Melbourne Map in the early nineties. Since then she has become a loyal Onyx client and advocate so we’d like to help her with her latest venture.

The Melbourne Map was originally created 27 years ago and Mel is now dusting off the original and updating to now. The official launch was Wednesday 5th April and for the next month you can pre-purchase The Melbourne Map prints and Limited Editions at special pre-release prices. You can check out their website and watch the video here. You can support Mel and the Melbourne Map through their crowd-funding page here, if you have five minutes head over and check out the campaign.

Here are 3 reasons why we love Melbourne Map:

  • The maps are all hand drawn
  • They are more than just maps, they are an artistic master piece clothed in buildings. You can see parts of everyday life on the map like windsurfers at St Kilda beach and cyclists around the Yarra
  • The team (Melinda, Deboarah and Lewis) have spent their life savings on the project with over 4,000 hours already put in.

Onyx Client of the Month is a platform that we can share and help each other and will promote these businesses to our clients and prospects. Please let us know if you would like to be involved and have your business featured in future months. We would love to help!

Depreciation data highlights investment trends

Depreciation data highlights investment trends

Insight into the properties Australian investors target

There is a plethora of data available to help educate property investors with their investment strategy.
Given the value that research can provide to potential investors, BMT has looked at some of the key statistics from the hundreds of thousands of residential BMT Tax Depreciation Schedules they have completed . What they discovered as a picture of the average Australian investor was quite interesting.

The majority of investors who contacted BMT to arrange a depreciation schedule during the 2015/2016 financial year, 83.64 per cent, ordered a report for one property. This suggests many Australians are successfully taking their first steps in entering the property market, but the vast majority are buying one property.

The data also suggests that approximately 17.2 per cent of investors are expanding their property portfolios to two or more properties. In fact 11.35 per cent of schedule requests came from owners with two properties, 3.85 per cent of schedule requests were from owners with three or four properties and less than 2 per cent own five or more properties.

It is important to note that each time an investor calls BMT we will discuss the depreciation potential for all of the properties they own.

Data for the 2015/2016 financial year indicates that investors tend to favour houses. Just over half of the schedules prepared were for houses. Units were the second most popular investment choice, at 42 per cent, while only 6.08 per cent chose townhouses and 1.75 per cent chose duplexes.

BMT also reviewed the age of the properties we prepared residential depreciation schedules for during the past financial year. It was interesting to note that investors were fairly evenly split between purchasing brand new, recently built (properties constructed between 2012 and 2015), properties that are around fifteen years old and those who own older properties constructed prior to 2000 and 1987.

Their property investor clients often ask the question whether it is best to purchase an old or new property in terms of the depreciation benefits the property will provide the owner. Even the owner of a property constructed prior to 1987 can receive an average depreciation deduction of $4,899 in the first full financial year alone.

While owners of brand new properties will receive higher depreciation deductions, as shown by the average deduction of $12,680 in the first full financial year, it is always worthwhile asking a specialist Quantity Surveyor what can be claimed no matter how old a property is.

Owners of newly constructed properties are entitled to claim capital works deductions for the full forty years, while owners of older properties where construction commenced after the 15th of September 1987 can claim capital works deductions each year for the remaining forty years.

Although the Australian Taxation Office places restrictions on capital works deductions based on the construction commencement date of the property, there are no such restrictions for plant and equipment assets. Their value is determined by the condition, age and quality of each asset. A fair value is determined for these assets and the effective life will start from the date of settlement.


The key findings from the data suggests that the majority of Australian property investors own just one property and not large portfolios.  78.5 per cent are buying second hand properties, up from 70.4 per cent in the previous financial year.

The data also provides a reminder for investors to discuss the depreciation deductions they can claim for any property purchase. These deductions can be substantial no matter what age the building is and whether it is a house, a unit, a townhouse or a duplex.

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