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Tax form trips up Aussies with new rules in play

Australian dollars

Taxpayers should be cautious when they’re claiming deductions for investment properties this tax time, and be mindful of one step on their lodgement forms in particular. 

Property investors will no longer be able to claim travel expenses to inspect residential investment properties, as per a measure introduced in the 2017 federal budget.

Mark Chapman, director of tax communications at H&R Block, has seen a lot of confusion from property investors this tax time related to this measure, particularly as there is still a provision to claim travel on tax forms.

“Some additional confusion’s been caused, particular in relation to the travel, because if you actually look at the tax return, there is still a box there where you can claim travel, even though the law says you can’t, and I think that has tripped up some people,” Mr Chapman told Nest Egg sister publication Smart Property Investment.

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“Essentially, if you are running a rental property portfolio, if you’ve got rental properties, you just can’t claim travel for the tax year that’s just gone. Any deductions cease to be available at the 30th of June 2017. So, from the 1st of July 2017 onwards, there’s no claim,” he explained.

What does the ATO say?

Although this travel allowance has been largely scrapped, there are certain taxpayers who can claim a deduction for travel expenses incurred relating to their rental property from 1 July 2017, including if:

- you are an excluded entity;
- you are using the property in carrying on a business (including a rental property business); or
- the property is not a residential rental property.

"Given there are taxpayers who fit the criteria above, it is necessary for return forms to have provision to claim the deduction," said ATO assistant commissioner Kath Anderson.

"Best practice for investors is to talk to their agent about the deductions they can and cannot claim, and familiarise themselves with the changes by reviewing the ATO website."

Tax form trips up Aussies with new rules in play
Australian dollars
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