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ATO crackdown on rental property tax claims

Posted on January 26, 2016 by admin

The ATO is currently targeting taxpayers who rent out their holiday homes for only a few weeks during the year but claim a full year’s worth of deductions on their tax returns

The tax office is will be paying close attention to rental property owners, especially those who own a holiday home who incorrectly claim deductions for initial repairs to recently acquired rental properties.

Last year, the ATO sent out letters across Australia reminding people to only claim deductions that they are entitled to for the periods that the rental property was rented out or genuinely available for rent.

While the majority of taxpayers who received those letters reduced their claims, the key concern that remains is over people who make claims for expenses during a time when the property was not genuinely available for rent.

With the ATO taking a more broad approach in monitoring rental deductions, now may be the perfect opportunity for holiday home investors to review the rules surrounding holiday home tax deductions to ensure that they can address any risks or issues in a timely manner.

Homeowners should be aware that it is not just holiday homes that are under focus by the ATO. The office will also commence addressing rental property owners who incorrectly claim deductions as well.

A common mistake that has risen among rental property owners is claiming for deductions for initial repairs to rectify damage, defects or deterioration that existed at the time of purchasing the property.

Taxpayers should be aware and understand that they are not entitled to claim a deduction for any repairs made to their rental property for issues that existed when they purchased it, even if the repairs were carried out to make the property suitable for rent. Instead, the cost of these repairs is used to work out any profit or capital gain, when the property is sold.

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Avoiding mortgage default

Posted on August 26, 2020 by admin

As individuals struggle with cash flow through the coronavirus, the Australian Bankers Association records that repayments on almost 500,000 mortgages have been deferred for six months. While repayments can be delayed, they cannot be avoided altogether.

Lenders can send you a default notice the day your repayment is overdue. However, they could also wait until your repayment is overdue by 90 or more days. When you receive a default notice, you are given 30 days to repay the amounts you have missed in addition to the regular repayment on your loan. Individuals who are struggling with their home loan repayments can avoid mortgage default by considering the following.

Contact your lender
Lenders are generally willing to work with you through financial hardship. Don’t be afraid to contact your lender to discuss your situation and find out what options are available for you. Lenders are often willing to negotiate short-term variations to repayment schedules that both parties can agree to. However, make sure that you do not agree to unrealistic repayment conditions that cannot be met.

Many Australian banks are offering a six-month deferral on mortgage repayments (including interest) for customers who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. If this is you, contact your bank to see if this is an option.

Apply for a hardship variation
Mortgage holders may be able to change the terms of their loan or temporarily pause or reduce their repayments under a hardship variation. A hardship variation can still be requested after you receive a mortgage default. To apply for one, contact your lender’s “hardship officer” and tell them that you wish to change your loan repayments due to financial hardship. This will usually require you to explain why you are struggling to make payments and to estimate how long your financial problems will continue to determine how much you can afford to repay.

After submitting a hardship variation request, your lender must contact you within 21 days with the outcome of your request. They may ask you for more details regarding your request; in this case, they must contact you again within 21 days from when you provide the additional information.

Consider selling your home
Selling your home is a tough decision, but in some cases this may be the better option if your circumstances are unlikely to improve. If you get to the point where your lender takes possession of your home and sells it, it’s likely that you won’t make as much as if you sold it yourself. When you sell your house on your own terms, chances are you will get a better price and avoid having to pay the legal fees passed on by your lender. Inform your lender if you decide to sell your home; they may ask for proof, such as a copy of the contract with your real estate agent or property advertisements.

Renting out your home until you can afford to make repayments again may also be an option if you are able to live somewhere else during this period.

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