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Assessable Income and Allowable Deductions

Question:

Discuss about the Analysis Of The Treatment Of Claiming Deductions.

This report is based on the analysis of the treatment of claiming deductions with respect to interest and expenses under rental property. Through this report an attempt has been made to correctly identify the cause of the issue that was stated in the case study and therefore analyzing every aspects of the issue to suggest the best possible solution to the problem. As this case deals with the issue which is related to allowable deductions with respect to interest and expense of rental property. Therefore, an extended approach has been made to explain and describe the basics of assessable incomes, the deduction that are considered as allowable deduction and also those are linked with rental property and on the basis of such analysis appropriate recommendation has been suggested.

After studying the case study, it can be observed that the issue is such that a client of the firm has filed a tax return. Besides this, the client had recently purchased a rental property and in that tax return the firm has claimed for deduction relating to the rental property which he has recently acquired. However, afterward it was found that the client has returned the tax return without signing the same stating that an error was made at the time of making a claim with respect to deduction for interest and expenses regarding the first four months of the ownership of that rental property (Gurran and Phibbs 2015). This was so because the client believes that, as during that period the client was not drawing any income from that property, thus as per matching principle he cannot claim any deduction for the same. Hence, here the issue arises and the primary objective of the report is to analyze the issue and make the client understood the appropriate procedures for making the tax return and address the same properly as per tax laws prevailing in the country.

As per Section 4-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, it is required that each and every individual or business or company or any other entity who is deriving an income from any source and such income is assessable and subject to payment of tax shall pay the income tax by filing income tax return each year. In addition to this section 4-15 of the ITAA 1997, also explains the complete process of how to work out one’s income that is taxable. In that very section, it is stated that taxable income shall be computed after subtracting the total deductions from the assessable income (Easthope 2014).

Types of Rental Property Expenses

Assessable income can be referred to that income which is subject to payment of tax and which exceeds an individual’s tax-free income limit. According to the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, the assessable income has been further divided into two categories. One is the ordinary income under assessable income and the other is the statutory income. Section 6-5 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 define ordinary income as such income that has been drawn by the assesse in an ordinary concept (Baum and Crosby 2014). In other words, the income derived by any Australian resident, whether directly or indirectly from every sources that might be from Australia or may be outside in a particular financial year is known as ordinary income. Similarly, the definition of statutory income is set out under section 6-10 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. It states that there are certain income that cannot be termed as ordinary income but still they are included in an individual’s assessable income. Such incomes are termed as statutory income (Duffy et al. 2017).

In case if any such income that an individual might have received which is neither an ordinary income nor a statutory income then such income cannot form a part of that individual’s assessable income. This means that the individual will not require paying tax on such income.

Section 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 discuss about the general deductions that are allowed to be claimed while filing tax return (Hulse and Burke 2016). According to this section, it is found that one can subtract any loss to an extent of the amount:

  • The loss is involved in the process of gaining an assessable income, or
  • The loss is certainly involved for generating any assessable income through a business.

Nevertheless, the deduction cannot be claimed for a loss under this section to an extent where:

  • The loss is of capital nature or the loss is regarding capital loss itself, or
  • The loss is related to private purpose, or
  • The loss is related to any provision of this act and which prevents the individual from subtracting the same, or
  • The loss has incurred while generating income which is exempted from an individual’s assessable income or which is an individual’s non-assessable income (Nicholls 2014).

Thus from the above points it can be understood that any such loss or expense which an individual can deduct under section 8-1 of the ITAA 1997 can be termed as general deduction or allowable deduction.

In Australia, when an individual rent out any property and therefore the income which he receives from that property in full amount along with other associated payments is called rental or rent-related income of that individual.

There are certain circumstances under which an individual can claim for expenses that has incurred with respect to the rental property income. However, it is not possible for an individual to claim any deduction for such expenses incurred on rental property that is used for capital purpose or for private purpose (Edmonds et al. 2015). The rental expenses have been categorized into three parts or types:

  1. The expenses on which one cannot claim any deduction;
  2. The expenses that is related to the current financial year and on which one can claim immediate deduction;
  3. The expenses on which one can claim deduction over more than one year.

Interest Expenses Deduction

The later part of the report briefly elaborates every deduction.

 

  1. The Expenses on which no deductions are allowed:

There are certain expenses on which no deduction is permitted to an individual, it includes the following:

  • Cost of the property related to disposal and acquisition
  • Those expenses which the assesse have not incurred over the rental property such as electricity charges paid by the tenant.
  • Payments that are not linked to the rental property
  • Outgoings incurred by the assesse as travelling expenses with respect to the property prior acquisition (Almy 2014).

However one can claim deduction on certain expenditures incurred prior acquisition of the property such expenses includes interest on loan expenses, land rates and emergency services levy on the purchased land, expenses associated with rates of sewerage and water, local council, etc.

  1. Expenses on which immediate deduction is allowed:

The expenditures incurred by the assesse and on which immediate deduction is allowed includes:

  • Expenses incurred for the purpose of advertisement related to tenants
  • Expenses related to bank charges
  • Expenses related to fees and other charges of corporate bodies
  • Clearing expenses
  • Expenses related to insurance such as building, public liabilities, contents, etc.
  • Expenses related to interest on loan
  • Expenses related to preparation, registration and stamp duty charges for lease documents
  • Expenses related to in-house audio and video services.
  • Expenses related to mortgage charges
  • Pest control charges
  • Commission and fees related paid to the property agents
  • Expenditures that are spent for the purpose of attending any seminar that is related to the improvement of performances of a presently income generating property
  • Fees and charges of a quality surveyor.
  • Expenses related to security patrol fees/ charges
  • Cost of servicing, stationary and postage, telephone calls, tax related expenses.

However all the above expenses are allowable as deduction provided that the expenses have been originally incurred or spent by the assesse himself and not by the tenant.

The taxation Ruling 95/25 deals with the deduction of interest under section 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. The Para 2 of the TR 95/25 deals with the general principle governing the deduction of interest. The Para 2 says that interest expenses can only be allowed as deduction if the taxpayer is producing assessable income and the expenses is not of the capital nature (Warren 2016). In addition to this if the expenses related to interest is incurred for carrying business operation and not private purpose then the expenses can be allowed as deduction. The Para 3 of the TR 95/25 states that in the case of FC of T V Robert and FCT V Smith the general principles that are relevant for the deduction of interest are discussed (Kangave et al. 2016). The general principles that have been derived from the cases for the deduction of interest are:

  • The interest expenses should have sufficient connection with the gaining of assessable income.
  • The objective or the purpose of borrowed fund is analyzed to determine whether the interest expenses should be allowed as deduction.
  • There should be relevant connection between the income producing activity and the interest expenses. It is important that interest expenses should be capable of being traced back to the interest income (Daley and Coates 2015).
  • If the borrowed fund is only used for preserving the assets then only for this reason the interest expenses cannot be deducted.
  • The interest expenses related to borrowed fund will be continued to be deducted even if the fund is ceased to be used for producing the assessable income.

The interest expenses that is incurred for purchasing the rental property can be claimed as deduction. However, it is essential that the property should be rented or the property should be available for rent in the income year in which the deduction related to interest expenses is claimed (Harding 2013). That means if the property is used for the private purpose then the interest expenses cannot be claimed as deduction from the time the property is started to be used for the private purpose.

The property that is rented or available for rent can claim deduction for interest on loan if the loan is used for purchasing the depreciable assets, renovation or repair. In addition to this the interest expenses for the loan that have been taken for purchasing the land will be allowed as deduction from the time the loan is taken out (Ingles 2015).

Taxation Rulings on Deduction of Interest Expenses

The Taxation Ruling 2004/4 deals with the deduction of interest expenses prior to the commencement of income earning activity. The Para 6 states that borrowing is deducted after analyzing the purpose of the borrowing (Gurran et al. 2015). The Paras 8 of the TR 2004/4 clearly provides that interest expenses cannot be treated as capital expenses as it is a recurring expense. The Para 9 provides that interest incurred prior to the producing of assessable income will be allowed as deduction if:

  • The interest expenses is not early to be regarded as a part of the preliminary activity;
  • The period of outgoing interest prior to the earning of assessable income is not too long;
  • The interest income is incurred only for the purpose of producing assessable income and the effort is continuously made for full filling that end;

Thus from the above analysis it can be concluded that the expenses incurred by the assesse on interest on loan for the rental property is allowed as deduction as per Taxation Rulings 2004/4. As it is evident from the above paragraph which clarifies that Para 9 of the Taxation Rulings provide that interest expenses incurred before the rental property has started generation income will be allowed as deductible if the same is not regarded as a part of preliminary activity. Moreover, it is also mentioned under the deductions related Rental Property as laid down by the ATO that the interest on loan expenses paid by the assesse will be considered as deductible income for that current financial period.

Hence, it is thus established and proved through this report that the expenses which the client has incurred with respect to interest on loan paid against the rented property for the first four months when the property was not generating any income will be allowed as deduction.

Conclusion

After studying this report, it can be concluded that according to the taxation ruling and legislations laid out by the Australian Taxation Office in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, the expenses related to interest on loan will be allowed as deductible expenses even if the property does not generate any income as well. After studying this report one can gain considerable knowledge regarding assessable income, expenses which are subject to deduction, taxation rulings and ITAA 1997 with respect to allowable deduction, etc. which have immensely assisted in coming to an appropriate solution and suggestion.

References

Almy, R., 2014. Valuation and Assessment of Immovable Property. OECD Working Papers on Fiscal Federalism, (19), p.0_1.

Baum, A.E. and Crosby, N., 2014. Property investment appraisal. John Wiley & Sons.

Daley, J. and Coates, B., 2015. Property taxes. Grattan Institute.

Duffy, D., Kelleher, C. and Hughes, A., 2017. Landlord attitudes to the private rented sector in Ireland: survey results. Housing Studies, 32(6), pp.778-792.

Easthope, H., 2014. Making a rental property home. Housing Studies, 29(5), pp.579-596.

Edmonds, M., Holle, C. and Hartanti, W., 2015. Alternative assets insights: Super funds-tax impediments to going global. Taxation in Australia, 49(7), p.413.

Gurran, N. and Phibbs, P., 2015. Are governments really interested in fixing the housing problem? Policy capture and busy work in Australia. Housing Studies, 30(5), pp.711-729.

Gurran, N., Phibbs, P., Yates, J., Gilbert, C., Whitehead, C., Norris, M., McClure, K., Berry, M., Maginn, P. and Goodman, R., 2015. Housing markets, economic productivity, and risk: international evidence and policy implications for Australia—Volume 1: Outcomes of an Investigative Panel. Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, Melbourne.

Harding, M., 2013. Taxation of dividend, interest, and capital gain income.

Hulse, K. and Burke, T., 2016. Private rental housing in Australia: Political inertia and market change. Housing in 21st-century Australia: People, practices and policies, pp.139-152.

Ingles, D., 2015. Should capital income be taxed? And if so, how?. Browser Download This Paper.

Kangave, J., Nakato, S., Waiswa, R. and Zzimbe, P.L., 2016. Boosting Revenue Collection through Taxing High Net Worth Individuals: The Case of Uganda.

Nicholls, S., 2014. Perpetuating the problem: neoliberalism, commonwealth public policy and housing affordability in Australia. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 49(3), pp.329-347.

Warren, N., 2016. e?filing and compliance risk: evidence from Australian personal income tax deductions.

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