The new law on ring-fencing rental losses is now in force, which means:

  • In most cases ring-fenced deductions will be carried forward and can only be used against residential rental or sale of property income in future years.
  • Property investors will, in most cases, no longer be able to reduce their tax liability by offsetting residential rental property deductions against their other income, such as salary or wages, or business income.

What does this mean? Here’s an example to guide you through: 
Tony owns a three bedroom rental property in Pakuranga, which he lets out at $570 per week. After paying the interest on his mortgage, property management fees, rates and other outgoings, he ends up with a $3,000 tax loss. Tony also works as an IT Manager for the Big Company Limited and receives a $100,000 annual salary.

Before the rule change, Tony would have been able to offset his $3,000 tax loss against his $100,000 annual salary, so that his total taxable income would be $97,000 ($100,000 – $3,000 = $97,000). This way, Tony would most likely have been able to claim a tax refund at the end of the year, because Big Company Limited would have deducted taxes from his salary at an assumed taxable income of $100,000 (rather than the actual taxable
income of $97,000).

The new rules stops that from happening. Instead, the $3,000 tax loss would be carried over to the next tax year, where it can only be offset against any rental profits / taxable property gains.

The new rules apply from the start of the 2019-2020 income year and apply to:

  • Mainly rental properties but can also include other residential land.
  • Individuals, partnerships, trusts, look-through companies and close companies.

Own a rental property? We’re happy to talk you through your tax implications so you don’t get caught out.

Written by Gordon Tian

January 14, 2020

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