Frequently asked questions
Tax depreciation is a complicated and confusing business. To help you quickly come to grips with the really important details, I’ve put together this FAQ for you. If you read it through, you will:
- Know everything you need about tax depreciation;
- Be able to go toe-to-toe with the tax depreciation company salesmen;
- Be confident that you’re buying what you need, and getting what you pay for.
Questions about tax depreciation reports
That’s not really the right question to ask. There is no “best” because there are many excellent options. Rather than try to give you the impossible, here’s a simple checklist for what separates the best companies from the worst:
They must not
Insist on inspecting your property. Try to tell you they can do the report without a site inspection. Stand by their report and their assessment, so they’ll deal with the ATO if you’re audited. Ask you to “measure up” your property on their behalf. Provide a report that will last 30+ years. Have a list of disclaimers as long as your arm.
As you can imagine, the tax depreciation industry is made up of all sorts of companies, great and small. Some have enormous overheads—like AdWords bills that are twice the annual turnover of the smaller companies. Meanwhile, these smaller operators work out of home offices on a shoestring budget. Then there are the middlemen, who just pass your job on to someone else at an inflated fee. And finally, there are the providers whose sole method is to charge whatever they can get away with!
I’ve run up against every type of business, and looked at tax depreciation schedules from half the companies in Australia.
The cheap $375 reports are almost never equal to the high-end reports. But equally, you seldom get greatly more value by paying absolute top dollar either. The sweet spot for residential properties is in the $500–$750 range; this is where reports are the best value for money.
Note: for commercial properties, report prices can vary more widely, and may run higher. This is simply because some properties are very complex or very big.
This is pretty hard to give guidance on, as properties vary so wildly. Rather than try to give you a single number here, which is impossible, I’ve created a calculator where you can get a good ballpark figure in a few seconds:
Calculate your likely deductions
Basically, if you incur an expense because of owning an investment property, you can claim it!
There are 1 or 2 exceptions to this rule, like soft landscaping: in short, you cannot depreciate items that grow, like plants, turf or trees. But you can claim for the maintenance of these items, so the lawn mowing and gardening bills are all claimable as maintenance items at 100% write-off.
Here is a quick list of what can be claimed as an instant 100% write-off expense for your investment property. The list is based on one provided by the ATO:
- Advertising Fees
- Bank Fees
- Body Corporate Fees
- Borrowing Costs
- Council Rates
- Gardening and Lawn Mowing
- Land Tax
- Legal Fees
- Pest Control
- Property Agent Fees
- Repairs and Maintenance
- Stationery and Postage
Note: this list is not exhaustive, and many more expenses can be claimed if they are applicable to your property. Be sure to check with your accountant to confirm every available deduction is accounted for.
Yes—but I wouldn’t recommend it. To give an analogy, just because you can cut your own hair doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Hairdressers train for years to be able to cut hair, and the proof is in the pudding. The same goes for a tax depreciation report. Quantity Surveyors study for 4 years to get qualified, then spend many more years in the field before the ATO will accept them as appropriate agents for preparing tax depreciation reports.
Yes…if your accountant is also a Quantity Surveyor and your house is pre-1985 and you have the construction costs.
Otherwise no. Your accountant is just an accountant 🙂
Note: market value has nothing to do with what the Quantity Surveyor is assessing.
If a surveyor does not have all these qualifications, do not under any circumstances do business with them:
- A degree in Quantity Surveying
- Members of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS)
- Registered tax agents with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB)
- Insured for professional indemnity
- Insured for public liability
- Annual competency unit testing with the TPB
Unless the property is brand new and you can provide the Quantity Surveyor with the builders’ plans and schedule of inclusions, a site inspection is mandatory.
If you want to keep your life as simple as possible, get the report prepared as soon as you have the keys to the property.
The ATO does allow you to submit amended tax returns for the two previous financial years, so you can wait a year or two from when you start renting out the property. But amended tax returns will cost you extra in accounting fees.
Without a doubt you should order a report outside of peak season. But a more helpful answer is between 1 December and 1 March. This is the quiet time, and you can expect much faster service from your provider. To give you a sense of what to expect, here are the busiest and quietest times for tax depreciation companies by month:
January February March April May June July August September October November December
Questions about this site
The short answer is: within 24 hours.
The long answer is: some providers are very fast. To get a quote in under 10 minutes is typical for a few of them. Others can take a whole working day. We can’t hold that against them—not everyone has dedicated staff following up enquiries.
Note: if out of hours, expect to wait until the next business day for your quotes to come through.
Only the highest-qualified tax depreciation companies get the chance to quote on your report.
- They must have an exceptional track record with the ATO.
- They must have a Google rating of 4.6 stars or better.
- They must physically inspect your property (to ensure ATO compliance).
- They must have been in business for 4+ years.
Yes. This website uses secure SSL technology. We will not share your details with anyone, other than with the authorised quote providers.
It really depends on the time of year, but typically within 10 business days. You’ll notice on the quote generator form (when you get to it) there is a priority option, where you can nominate the urgency of your report. This can help set expectations correctly at both ends from the beginning.
There’s no problem in going direct. After all, that’s what Aussie investment property owners have been doing for over 27 years. However, the industry has changed significantly during that time. Back in the early 90s, a tax depreciation schedule cost three times the average weekly income. Nowadays, a report costs just half the average weekly income.
That’s obviously a win for consumers, but what’s scary is that some Quantity Surveyors are really charging peanuts. And you know if you pay peanuts…you get monkeys.
Let me tell it how it is…
You do not want a cheap report!
- You won’t be getting a high-value report: you’ll probably leave a lot of money on the table, so at best it’s a short-term win and long-term loss (calculate how much you should expect to save).
- There’s a good chance your report won’t be ATO compliant, which means if you get audited, you’re in trouble.
- You’ll probably have to do a lot more leg-work for these guys, which is extra stress and hassle for you, especially when you have no guarantee of the outcome.
Simply put, using our quoting system ensures you get 3 quotes from 3 ATO-approved and industry-certified companies, with a proven track record of exceptional services and high-quality reports. Kill three birds with one form, rather than having to figure out for yourself which companies to trust.
This service is 100% free to you.
The tax depreciation companies who provide you a quote pay a small fee each time they get a referral from us.
Payment for reports is handled by the company you choose; it does not come through this website.
I won’t lie to you, you won’t get the cheapest report possible. That’s by design: you can either have really cheap, or really good. Any report from any of our suppliers will be the very best value you’ll find anywhere. The companies on our site range in price from $500–$750 including GST.
If you are wanting a really cheap report, this is not the site for you.
Remote is not a problem, though most investment properties we handle are in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and Perth. Regional areas like Cairns, Townsville, Central Queensland, Central & Northern NSW are also investment property hotspots.
We have a significant list of providers who have the capability and resources to inspect an investment property anywhere.
- All throughout Australia
- New Zealand
- Pacific Islands
Note: the number of companies with the capability and resources to inspect international properties is limited. You may only receive 2 quotes, but usually 3. More importantly, they will be genuine quotes, able to see you through to completion—not just lead you on before eventually admitting they can’t do it.
So, what’s next? Take your pick
- Still a little confused? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll help you through the process.
- Head off on your own to research some providers, get your own quotes, and try to vet them based on what you’ve read here.
- Short-cut the process and get 3 quotes from our high-quality, pre-vetted providers right now. (Should save you about 4 hours!)
Get your 3 quotes
1 form, zero obligationCheck if you need a report
Free calculator to estimate savings
Tell us about your property and we’ll arrange those quotes
Prefer to arrange your quotes over the phone? Give us a call and we’ll do it all for you: 0422 401–509.