Don’t get into hot water with claims

Property investors often worry about ongoing repairs and maintenance costs however these concerns can often be reduced by claiming back these costs when completing a tax return. Before claiming deductions, it is necessary for investors to understand the difference between claiming repairs, maintenance and capital improvements.



The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) defines repairs as work completed to fix damage or deterioration of a property, for example replacing part of a damaged fence. A deduction cost paid to repair a rental property can be claimed as an immediate 100 per cent deduction in the year the expense is incurred.


Maintenance is defined as work completed to prevent deterioration to a property, for example mowing the lawns. Costs for maintenance of a rental property can also be claimed as an immediate deduction in the year the expense is paid.

Capital improvements

Improving the condition or value of an item beyond its original state at the time of purchase is defined as a capital improvement. These are classified as either capital works deductions or plant and equipment and must be depreciated over time. Capital works deductions include renovations such as adding an internal wall and also includes items which cannot easily be removed from the property. Plant and equipment items include removable items such as carpet and hot water systems.

Consult an expert

To calculate the effective life and depreciation rate of any asset you might be replacing or adding to your investment property, visit the Depreciation Rate Finder on the BMT Tax Depreciation website.

Guest Expertbradley-beer

Bradley Beer (B. Con. Mgt, AAIQS, MRICS) is the Chief Executive Officer of BMT Tax Depreciation.

Bradley joined BMT in 1998 and as such he has substantial knowledge about property investment supported by expertise in property depreciation and the construction industry.

Bradley is a regular keynote speaker and presenter covering depreciation services on television, radio, at conferences and exhibitions Australia-wide.