Show download pdf controls
  • Guide to depreciating assets 2012-13

    How to obtain this publication

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    You can download this publication in Portable Document Format (PDF) at Guide to depreciating assets 2013 (NAT 1996, PDF, 928KB).

    To obtain a printed copy of this publication:

    • use our automated self-help publications ordering service at any time. You need to know the full title of the publication to use this service
    • phone our Publications Distribution Service on 1300 720 092. You can speak to an operator between 8.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday. Before you phone, check whether there are other publications you may need; this will save you time and help us. For each publication you order, you need the full title.

    About this guide

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    As a general rule, you can claim deductions for expenses you incurred in gaining or producing your income (for example, in carrying on a business) but some expenditure, such as the cost of acquiring capital assets, is generally not deductible. However, you may be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of the cost of capital assets used in gaining assessable income.

    Guide to depreciating assets 2013 explains:

    • how to work out the decline in value of your depreciating assets
    • what happens when you dispose of or stop using a depreciating asset, and
    • the deductions you may be able to claim under the uniform capital allowance system (UCA) for capital expenditure other than on depreciating assets.

    Who should use this guide?

    Use this guide if you bought capital assets to use in gaining or producing your assessable income and you would like to claim a deduction for the assets’ decline in value. Also use this guide if you incurred other capital expenditure and want to know whether you can claim a deduction for the expenditure.

    Small business entities

    Small business entities may choose to use simplified depreciation rules. For more information, see Small business entities.

    Publications and services

    To find out how to get a publication referred to in this guide and for information about our other services, see More information.

    Unfamiliar terms

    For an explanation of any unfamiliar terms used throughout this guide, see Definitions. They are shown in bold when first used.

    Abbreviations used in this publication

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    ACT

    Australian Capital Territory

    CGT

    capital gains tax

    Commissioner

    Commissioner of Taxation

    EPA

    environmental protection activities

    forex

    foreign exchange

    GST

    goods and services tax

    LCA

    low-cost asset

    LVA

    low-value asset

    OAV

    opening adjustable value

    TOFA

    Taxation of financial arrangements

    TR

    Taxation Ruling

    TV

    termination value

    UCA

    uniform capital allowance system

    Carbon sink forests

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    You can claim a deduction, subject to certain conditions for the expenditure incurred in establishing trees in a carbon sink forest.

    • For such trees established in the 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11 or 2011–12 income year, you can claim an immediate deduction for the expenditure you incur in establishing the trees.
    • For such trees established in the 2012–13 or a later income year, you can claim a maximum capital write-off rate of 7% of the expenditure incurred in establishing the trees (conditions apply).

    You will find the new rules in Subdivision 40-J of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 and in Carbon sink forests.

    Deductions for the cost of depreciating assets

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    Under income tax law, you are allowed to claim certain deductions for expenditure incurred in gaining or producing assessable income, for example, in carrying on a business. Some expenditure, such as the cost of acquiring capital assets, is generally not deductible. Generally, the value of a capital asset that provides a benefit over a number of years declines over its effective life. Because of this, the cost of capital assets used in gaining assessable income can be written off over a period of time as tax deductions.

    Before 1 July 2001, the cost of plant (for example, cars and machinery) and software was written off as depreciation deductions.

    From 1 July 2001, the UCA applies to most depreciating assets, including plant. Under the UCA, deductions for the cost of a depreciating asset are based on the decline in value of the asset.

    Simplifying tax obligations for business

    The Commissioner has released ATO Practice Statement Law Administration PS LA 2003/8 – Taxation treatment of expenditure on low cost items for taxpayers carrying on a business. This practice statement provides guidance on two straightforward methods that you can use if you are carrying on a business to help determine whether you treat expenditure incurred in acquiring certain low-cost tangible assets as revenue or capital expenditure.

    Subject to certain qualifications, the two methods cover expenditure below a threshold and the use of statistical sampling to estimate total revenue expenditure on low-cost tangible assets. The threshold rule allows an immediate deduction for qualifying low-cost tangible assets costing $100 or less, including any goods and services tax (GST). If you have a low-value pool (see Low-value pools), the sampling rule allows you to use statistical sampling to determine the proportion of the total purchases on qualifying low-cost tangible assets that is revenue expenditure.

    We will accept a deduction for expenditure incurred on qualifying low-cost tangible assets calculated in accordance with this practice statement.

    The uniform capital allowance system

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    The UCA provides a set of general rules that applies across a variety of depreciating assets and certain other capital expenditure. It does this by consolidating a range of former capital allowance regimes. The UCA replaces provisions relating to:

    • plant
    • software
    • mining and quarrying
    • intellectual property
    • forestry roads and timber mill buildings, and
    • spectrum licences.

    The UCA maintains the pre–1 July 2001 treatment of some depreciating assets and capital expenditure such as certain primary production depreciating assets and capital expenditure.

    It also introduces new deductions for types of capital expenditure that did not previously attract a deduction, such as certain business and project-related costs; see Capital expenditure deductible under the UCA.

    You use the UCA rules to work out deductions for the cost of your depreciating assets, including those acquired before 1 July 2001. You can generally deduct an amount for the decline in value of a depreciating asset you held to the extent that you used it for a taxable purpose.

    However, an eligible small business entity may choose to work out deductions for their depreciating assets using the simplified depreciation rules; see Small business entities.

    Steps to work out your deduction

    Under the UCA, there are a number of steps to work out your deduction for the decline in value of a depreciating asset:

    Some of these steps do not apply:

    • if you choose to allocate an asset to a pool
    • if you can claim an immediate deduction for the asset
    • to certain primary production assets
    • to some assets used in rural businesses.

    See Working out decline in value.

    What is a depreciating asset?

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    A depreciating asset is an asset that has a limited effective life and can reasonably be expected to decline in value over the time it is used. Depreciating assets include such items as computers, electric tools, furniture and motor vehicles.

    Land and items of trading stock are specifically excluded from the definition of depreciating asset.

    Most intangible assets are also excluded from the definition of depreciating asset. Only the following intangible assets, if they are not trading stock, are specifically included as depreciating assets:

    • in-house software; see In-house software
    • certain items of intellectual property (patents, registered designs, copyrights and licences of these)
    • mining, quarrying or prospecting rights and information
    • certain indefeasible rights to use a telecommunications cable system
    • certain telecommunications site access rights
    • spectrum licences, and
    • datacasting transmitter licences.

    Improvements to land or fixtures on land (for example, windmills and fences) may be depreciating assets and are treated as separate from the land, regardless of whether they can be removed or not.

    In most cases, it will be clear whether or not something is a depreciating asset. If you are not sure, contact us or your recognised tax adviser.

    Depreciating assets excluded from the UCA

    Deductions for the decline in value of some depreciating assets are not worked out under the UCA. These assets are:

    • depreciating assets that are capital works, for example, buildings and structural improvements for which deductions
    • are available under the separate provisions for capital works
    • would be available if the expenditure had been incurred, or the capital works had been started, before a particular date
    • would be available if the capital works were used in a deductible way in the income year
    • cars where you use the cents per kilometre method or the 12% of original value method for calculating car expenses; these methods take the decline in value into account in their calculations
    • indefeasible rights to use an international telecommunications submarine cable system if the expenditure was incurred or the system was used for telecommunications purposes at or before 11.45am by legal time in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) on 21 September 1999
    • indefeasible rights to use a domestic telecommunications cable system or telecommunications site access rights if the expenditure was incurred before 12 May 2004; special rules apply to deem certain of those rights to be acquired before that date, and to exclude certain expenditure incurred on or after that date that actually relates to an earlier right
    • eligible work-related items, such as laptop computers, personal digital assistants, computer software, protective clothing, briefcases and tools of trade, if the item was provided to you by your employer, or some or all of the cost of the item was paid for or reimbursed by your employer, and the provision, payment or reimbursement was exempt from fringe benefits tax (there is no deduction available to you for the decline in value of such items).
    • depreciating assets for which deductions were available under the specific film provisions.

    Who can claim deductions for the decline in value of a depreciating asset?

    Only the holder of a depreciating asset can claim a deduction for its decline in value.

    In most cases, the legal owner of a depreciating asset will be its holder.

    There may be more than one holder of a depreciating asset, for example, joint legal owners of a depreciating asset are all holders of that asset. Each person’s interest in the asset is treated as a depreciating asset. Each person works out their deduction for decline in value based on their interest in the asset (for example, based on the cost of the interest to them, not the cost of the asset itself) and according to their use of the asset.

    In certain circumstances, the holder is not the legal owner. Some of these cases are discussed below.

    If you are not sure whether you are the holder of a depreciating asset, contact us or your recognised tax adviser.

    Leased luxury cars

    A leased car, either new or second-hand, is generally a luxury car if its cost exceeds the car limit that applies for the financial year in which the lease is granted. The car limit for 2012–13 is $57,466; see Car limit.

    For income tax purposes, a luxury car lease (other than a genuine short-term hire arrangement) is treated as a notional sale and loan transaction.

    The first element of the cost of the car to the lessee and the amount lent by the lessor to the lessee to buy the car is taken to be the car's market value at the start time of the lease. For further information on the first element of cost, see The cost of a depreciating asset.

    The actual lease payments made by the lessee are divided into notional principal and finance charge components. That part of the finance charge component applicable to the particular period may be deductible to the lessee.

    The lessee is generally treated as the holder of the luxury car and is entitled to claim a deduction for the decline in value of the car. For the purpose of calculating the deduction, the first element of the cost of the car is limited to the car limit for the year in which the lease is granted.

    Any deduction must be reduced to reflect any use of the car other than for a taxable purpose, such as private use.

    If the lessee does not actually acquire the car from the lessor when the lease terminates or ends, the lessee is treated as if they sold the car to the lessor. The lessee will need to work out any assessable or deductible balancing adjustment amount; see What happens if you no longer hold or use a depreciating asset?

    Depreciating assets subject to hire purchase agreements

    For income tax purposes, certain hire purchase and instalment sale agreements entered into after 27 February 1998 are treated as a notional sale of goods by the financier (or hire purchase company) to the hirer, financed by a notional loan from the financier to the hirer. The hirer is in these circumstances treated as the notional buyer and owner under the arrangement. The financier is treated as the notional seller.

    Generally, the cost or value of the goods stated in the hire purchase agreement or the arm’s length value is taken to be the cost of the goods to the hirer and the amount lent by the financier to the hirer to buy the goods.

    The hire purchase payments made by the hirer are separated into notional loan principal and notional interest under a formula set out in Division 240 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. The notional interest may be deductible to the hirer to the extent that the asset is used to produce assessable income.

    Under the UCA rules, if the goods are depreciating assets, the hirer is regarded as the holder provided it is reasonably likely that they will actually acquire the asset.

    If these conditions are met, the hirer is able to claim a deduction for decline in value to the extent that the assets are used for a taxable purpose, such as for producing assessable income.

    If the hirer actually acquires the goods under the agreement, the hirer continues to be treated as the holder. Actual transfer of legal title to the goods from the financier to the hirer is not treated as a disposal or acquisition.

    On the other hand, if the hirer does not actually acquire the goods under the arrangement, the goods are treated as being sold back to the financier at their market value at that time. The hirer will need to work out any assessable or deductible balancing adjustment amount; see What happens if you no longer hold or use a depreciating asset?

    The notional loan amount under a hire purchase agreement is treated as a limited recourse debt; see Limited recourse debt arrangements.

    Leased depreciating assets fixed to land

    If you are the lessee of a depreciating asset and it is affixed to your land, under property law you become the legal owner of the asset. As the legal owner you are taken to hold the asset. However, an asset may have more than one holder. Despite the fact that the leased asset is fixed to your land, if the lessor of the asset (often a bank or finance company) has a right to recover it, then they too are taken to hold the asset as long as they have that right to recover it. You and the lessor, each being a holder of the depreciating asset, would calculate the decline in value of the asset based on the cost that each of you incur.

    Example: Holder of leased asset fixed to land

    Jo owns a parcel of land. A finance company leases some machinery to Jo who pays the cost of fixing it to her land. Under the lease agreement, the finance company has a right to recover the machinery if Jo defaults on her lease payments.

    The finance company holds the machinery as it has a right to remove the machinery from the land. The finance company is entitled to deductions for the decline in value of the machinery based on the cost of the machinery to it.

    However, Jo also holds the machinery as it is attached to her land. She is entitled to a deduction for the decline in value based on the cost to her to hold the machinery. This would not include her lease payments but would include the cost of installing the machinery. For more information about what amounts form part of the cost of a depreciating asset, see The cost of a depreciating asset.

    End of example

    Depreciating assets which improve or are fixed to leased land

    If a depreciating asset is fixed to leased land and the lessee has a right to remove it, the lessee is the holder for the time that the right to remove the asset exists.

    Example: Holder of depreciating asset fixed to leased land

    Jo leases land from Bill, who owns the land. Jo purchases some machinery and fixes it to the land. Under property law the machinery is treated as part of the land so Bill is its legal owner.

    However, under the terms of her lease, Jo can remove the machinery from the land at any time. Because she has acquired and fixed the machinery to the land and has a right to remove it, Jo holds the machinery for the time that the right to remove it exists.

    End of example

    If a lessee or owner of certain other rights over land (for example, an easement) improves the land with a depreciating asset, that person is the holder of the asset if the asset is for their own use, even though they have no right to remove it from the land. They remain the holder for the time that the lease or right exists.

    Example: Holder of depreciating asset that improves leased land

    Jo leases land from Bill to use for farming. Jo installs an irrigation system on the land which is an improvement to the land. While Bill is the legal owner under property law as the irrigation system is part of his land, Jo holds the irrigation system. Even though she has no right to remove the irrigation system under her contract with Bill, Jo may deduct amounts for its decline in value for the term of the lease because:

    • she improved the land, and
    • the improvement is for her use.
    End of example

    Partnership assets

    The partnership and not the partners or any particular partner is taken to be the holder of a partnership asset, regardless of its ownership. A partnership asset is one held and applied by the partners exclusively for the purposes of the partnership and in accordance with the partnership agreement.

    Working out decline in value

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    From 1 July 2001, deductions for the decline in value of most depreciating assets, including those acquired before that date, are worked out under the UCA rules.

    The UCA contains general rules for working out the decline in value of a depreciating asset, and those rules are covered in this part of the guide. Transitional rules apply to depreciating assets held before 1 July 2001 so you can work out their decline in value using these rules; see Depreciating assets held before 1 July 2001.

    The general rules do not apply to some depreciating assets. The UCA provides specific rules for working out deductions for the assets listed below:

    There are also specific rules for working out notional deductions for depreciating assets used in carrying on research and development activities; see Research and development tax incentive schedule instructions 2013 (NAT 6709).

    When does a depreciating asset start to decline in value?

    The decline in value of a depreciating asset starts when you first use it, or install it ready for use, for any purpose, including a private purpose. This is known as a depreciating asset’s start time.

    Although an asset is treated as declining in value from its start time, a deduction for its decline in value is only allowable to the extent it is used for a taxable purpose; see Definitions.

    If you initially use a depreciating asset for a non-taxable purpose, such as for a private purpose, and in later years use it for a taxable purpose, you need to work out the asset’s decline in value from its start time, including the years you used it for a private purpose. You can then work out your deductions for the decline in value of the asset for the years you used it for a taxable purpose; see Decline in value of a depreciating asset used for a non-taxable purpose.

    Methods of working out decline in value

    You generally have the choice of two methods to work out the decline in value of a depreciating asset: the prime cost method or the diminishing value method. You can generally choose to use either method for each depreciating asset you hold.

    Once you have chosen a method for a particular asset, you cannot change to the other method for that asset.

    The Decline in value calculator will help you with the choice and the calculations.

    In some cases, you do not need to make the choice because you can claim an immediate deduction for the asset, for example, certain depreciating assets that cost $300 or less; see Immediate deduction (for certain non-business depreciating assets costing $300 or less).

    In other cases, you do not have a choice of which method you use to work out the decline in value. These cases are:

    • if you acquire intangible depreciating assets such as in-house software, certain items of intellectual property, spectrum licences, datacasting transmitter licences and telecommunications site access rights, you must use the prime cost method
    • if you acquire a depreciating asset from an associate who has deducted or can deduct amounts for the decline in value of the asset; see Depreciating asset acquired from an associate
    • if you acquire a depreciating asset but the user of the asset does not change or is an associate of the former user, for example, under sale and leaseback arrangements; see Sale and leaseback arrangements
    • if there has been rollover relief; see Rollover relief
    • if the asset has been allocated to a low-value pool or software development pool, the decline in value is calculated at a statutory rate; see Software development pools and Low-value pools.

    Both the diminishing value and prime cost methods are based on a depreciating asset’s effective life. The rules for working out an asset’s effective life are explained in Effective life.

    By working out the decline in value you determine the adjustable value of a depreciating asset. A depreciating asset’s adjustable value at a particular time is its cost (first and second elements) less any decline in value up to that time. See The cost of a depreciating asset for information on first and second elements of cost. Adjustable value is similar to the concept of undeducted cost used in the former depreciation rules. The opening adjustable value of an asset for an income year is generally the same as its adjustable value at the end of the previous income year.

    You calculate the decline in value and adjustable value of a depreciating asset from the asset’s start time independently of your use of the depreciating asset for a taxable purpose. However, your deduction for the decline in value is reduced to the extent that your use of the asset is for a non-taxable purpose; see Decline in value of a depreciating asset used for a non-taxable purpose. Your deduction may also be reduced if the depreciating asset is a leisure facility or boat even though the asset is used, or installed ready for use, for a taxable purpose; see Decline in value of leisure facilities and Decline in value of boats.

    The diminishing value method

    The diminishing value method assumes that the decline in value each year is a constant proportion of the remaining value and produces a progressively smaller decline over time. For depreciating assets that you started to hold on or after 10 May 2006 the formula for the decline in value is:

    base value

    x

    days held*
       365

    x

             200%         
    asset’s effective life

    *can be 366 in a leap year

    where the base value for the income year in which an asset’s start time occurs is the asset’s cost. For a later income year, the base value is the asset’s opening adjustable value for that year plus any amounts included in the asset’s second element of cost for that year.

    Generally, you can use this formula to work out the decline in value of an eligible depreciating asset if you started to hold it on or after 10 May 2006. However, this formula may not apply in some cases, for example, if you held an asset before 10 May 2006 but then disposed of it and reacquired it on or after 10 May 2006 just so that you could use this formula to work out the asset’s decline in value.

    For depreciating assets you started to hold prior to 10 May 2006 the formula for the decline in value is:

    base value

    x

    days held*
       365

    x

              150%          
    asset’s effective life

    *can be 366 in a leap year

    Example: Base value, ignoring any GST impact

    Leo purchased a computer for $6,000. The computer’s base value in its start year would be its cost of $6,000. If the computer’s decline in value for that year is $1,500 and no amounts are included in the second element of the computer’s cost, its base value for the next income year would be its opening adjustable value of $4,500. This amount is the cost of the computer of $6,000 less its decline in value of $1,500.

    End of example

    ‘Days held’ is the number of days you held the asset in the income year in which you used it or had it installed ready for use for any purpose. If the income year is the one in which the asset’s start time occurs, you work out the days held from its start time. If a balancing adjustment event occurs for the asset during the income year (for example, if you sell it), you work out the days held up until the day the balancing adjustment event occurred; see What happens if you no longer hold or use a depreciating asset? for information about balancing adjustment events.

    Example: Diminishing value method, ignoring any GST impact

    Laura purchased a photocopier on 1 July 2012 for $1,500 and she started using it that day. It has an effective life of five years. Laura chose to use the diminishing value method to work out the decline in value of the photocopier. The decline in value for the 2012–13 income year would be $600. This is worked out as follows:

    1,500

    x

    365
    365

    x

    200%
       5

    If Laura used the photocopier wholly for taxable purposes in that income year, she would be entitled to a deduction equal to the decline in value. The adjustable value of the asset at 30 June 2013 would be $900. This is the cost of the asset ($1,500) less its decline in value up to that time ($600).

    End of example

    The prime cost method

    The prime cost method assumes that the value of a depreciating asset decreases uniformly over its effective life. The formula for the annual decline in value using the prime cost method is:

    asset's cost

    x

    days held*
       365

    x

           100%       
    asset’s effective life

    * can be 366 in a leap year

    Example: Prime cost method, ignoring any GST impact

    Using the facts of the previous example, if Laura chose to work out the decline in value of the photocopier using the prime cost method, the decline in value for the 2012–13 income year would be $300. This is worked out as follows:

    1,500

    x

    365
    365

    x

    100%
       5

    If Laura used the photocopier wholly for taxable purposes in that income year, she would be entitled to a deduction equal to the decline in value. The adjustable value of the asset at 30 June 2013 would be $1,200. This is the cost of the asset ($1,500) less its decline in value up to that time ($300).

    End of example

    If there has been rollover relief and the transferor used the prime cost method to work out the asset’s decline in value, the transferee should replace the asset’s effective life in the prime cost formula with the asset’s remaining effective life, that is, any period of the asset’s effective life that is yet to elapse when the transferor stopped holding the asset; see Rollover relief.

    An adjusted prime cost formula must be used if any of the following occurs:

    • you recalculate the effective life of an asset; see Effective life
    • an amount is included in the second element of an asset’s cost after the income year in which the asset’s start time occurs; see The cost of a depreciating asset
    • an asset’s opening adjustable value is reduced by a debt forgiveness amount; see Commercial debt forgiveness
    • you reduced the opening adjustable value of a depreciating asset that is the replacement asset for an asset subject to an involuntary disposal; see What happens if you no longer hold or use a depreciating asset?
    • an asset’s opening adjustable value is modified due to GST increasing or decreasing adjustments, input tax credits for the acquisition or importation of the asset, or input tax credits for amounts included in the second element of cost of an asset; see GST input tax credits, or
    • an asset’s opening adjustable value is modified due to forex realisation gains or forex realisation losses; see Foreign currency gains and losses.

    You must use the adjusted prime cost formula for the income year in which any of these changes are made (the ‘change year’) and later years. The formula for the decline in value is:

    opening adjustable value for the change year plus any second element of cost amounts for that year

    x

    days held*
       365

    x

             100%         
    asset’s remaining
    effective life

    *can be 366 in a leap year

    where the asset’s remaining effective life is any period of its effective life that is yet to elapse either at the start of the change year or, in the case of roll-over relief, when the balancing adjustment event occurs for the transferor.

    The prime cost formula must also be adjusted for certain intangible depreciating assets you acquire from a former holder; see Effective life of intangible depreciating assets.

    Depreciating assets held before 1 July 2001

    To work out the decline in value of depreciating assets you held before 1 July 2001, you generally use the same cost, effective life and method that you were using under the former law.

    The undeducted cost of the asset at 30 June 2001 becomes its opening adjustable value at 1 July 2001.

    You work out the undeducted cost of the asset under the former depreciation rules. It is the asset’s cost less the depreciation for the asset up to 30 June 2001, assuming that you used it wholly for producing assessable income.

    For a spectrum licence, a depreciating asset that is an item of intellectual property and certain depreciating assets used in mining, quarrying or minerals transport, the opening adjustable value at 1 July 2001 is the amount of unrecouped expenditure for the asset at 30 June 2001. These assets do not have an undeducted cost under the former rules.

    Special transitional rules apply to plant for which you used accelerated rates of depreciation before 1 July 2001 or could have used accelerated rates had you used the plant, or had it installed ready for use, for producing assessable income before that day. These rules ensure that accelerated rates continue to apply under the UCA; see Accelerated depreciation below.

    Accelerated depreciation

    For plant acquired between 27 February 1992 and 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999, accelerated rates of depreciation and broadbanding were available. The rates were based on effective life adjusted by a loading of 20% and broadbanded into one of seven rate groups. The loading, together with the broadbanding, produced accelerated rates of depreciation.

    Generally, accelerated rates of depreciation have not been available for plant acquired after 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999. To be taken to be plant acquired before that time, the plant must have been:

    • acquired under a contract entered into before that time
    • constructed, with construction starting before that time, or
    • acquired in some other way before that time.

    However, small business taxpayers have been able to continue to use accelerated rates for plant acquired after 21 September 1999 but before 1 July 2001 if they met certain conditions when the plant was first used or installed ready for use.

    Small business taxpayers have not been able to use accelerated rates of depreciation for assets they:

    • started to hold under a contract entered into after 30 June 2001
    • constructed, with construction starting after 30 June 2001, or
    • started to hold in some other way after 30 June 2001.

    You continue to use accelerated rates to work out the decline in value under the UCA if:

    • you used accelerated rates of depreciation for an item of plant before 1 July 2001, or
    • you could have used accelerated rates had you used the plant, or had you had it installed ready for use, for producing assessable income before that day.

    You replace the effective life component in the formula for working out the decline in value with the accelerated rate you were using. See a list of Accelerated rates of depreciation.

    Example: Working out decline in value using accelerated rates of depreciation, ignoring any GST impact

    Peter purchased a machine for use in his business for $100,000 on 1 July 1999.

    As the machine was acquired before 21 September 1999, Peter can use accelerated rates of depreciation to calculate his deductions. Using the prime cost method, a depreciation rate of 7% applies as the machine has an effective life of 30 years.

    To work out his deduction for the 2012–13 income year, Peter continues to use the same cost, method and rate that he was using before the start of the UCA.

    The decline in value of the machine for the 2012–13 income year is $7,000, worked out as follows:

    asset's cost

    x

    days held*
       365

    x

    prime cost rate

    100,000

    x

    365
    365

    x

    7%

    *can be 366 in a leap year

    End of example

    Decline in value of a depreciating asset used for a non-taxable purpose

    You calculate the decline in value and adjustable value of a depreciating asset from the start time independently of your use of the depreciating asset for a taxable purpose. However, you reduce your deduction for the decline in value to the extent that your use of the asset is for a non-taxable purpose.

    If you initially use an asset for a non-taxable purpose, such as for a private purpose, and in later years use it for a taxable purpose, you need to work out the asset’s decline in value from its start time including the years you used it for a private purpose. You can then work out your deductions for the decline in value of the asset for the years you used it for a taxable purpose.

    Example: Depreciating asset used partly for a taxable purpose, ignoring any GST impact

    Leo purchased a computer for $6,000 and used it only 50% of the time for a taxable purpose during the income year. If the computer’s decline in value for the income year is $1,500, Leo’s deduction would be reduced to $750, being 50% of the computer’s decline in value for the income year. The adjustable value at the end of the income year would be $4,500, irrespective of the extent of Leo’s use of the asset for taxable purposes.

    Example: Depreciating asset initially used for a non-taxable purpose

    Paul purchased a refrigerator on 1 July 2010 and immediately used it wholly for private purposes. He started a new business on 1 March 2013 and then used the refrigerator wholly in his business. Paul’s refrigerator started to decline in value from 1 July 2010 as that was the day he first used it. He needs to work out the refrigerator’s decline in value from that date. However, Paul can only claim a deduction for the decline in value for the period commencing 1 March 2013 when he used the refrigerator for a taxable purpose.

    End of example

    Decline in value of leisure facilities

    Your deduction for the decline in value of a leisure facility may be reduced even though you use it, or install it ready for use, for a taxable purpose. Your deduction is limited to the extent that:

    • the asset’s use is a fringe benefit, or
    • the leisure facility is used (or held for use) mainly in the ordinary course of your business of providing leisure facilities for payment, to produce your assessable income in the nature of rents or similar charges, or for your employees’ use or the care of their children.

    Decline in value of boats

    Your deduction for the decline in value of a boat that you use or hold may be reduced if the total of the amounts that you could otherwise deduct in respect of the use or holding of the boat exceeds your assessable income from using or holding the boat. The total amount of the deductions is reduced by the amount of the excess.

    Exceptions to that reduction are:

    • holding a boat as your trading stock
    • using a boat (or holding it) mainly for letting it on hire in the ordinary course of a business that you carry on
    • using a boat (or holding it) mainly for transporting the public or goods for payment in the ordinary course of a business that you carry on, or
    • using a boat for a purpose that is essential to the efficient conduct of a business that you carry on.

    Depreciating asset acquired from an associate

    If you acquired plant on or after 9 May 2001 or another depreciating asset on or after 1 July 2001 from an associate, such as a relative or partner, and the associate claimed or can claim deductions for the decline in value of the asset, you must use the same method of working out the decline in value that the associate used.

    If the associate used the diminishing value method, you must use the same effective life that they used. If they used the prime cost method you must use any remaining period of the effective life used by them.

    You must recalculate the effective life of the depreciating asset if the asset’s cost increases by 10% or more in any income year, including the year in which you start to hold it; see How to recalculate effective life.

    You can require the associate to tell you the method and effective life they used by serving a notice on them within 60 days after you acquire the asset. Penalties can be imposed if the associate intentionally refuses or fails to comply with the notice.

    Sale and leaseback arrangements

    If you acquired plant on or after 9 May 2001 or another depreciating asset after 1 July 2001 but the user of the asset does not change or is an associate of the former user, such as under a sale and leaseback arrangement, you must use the same method of working out the decline in value that the former holder used.

    If the former holder used the diminishing value method, you must use the effective life that they used. If they used the prime cost method, you must use any remaining period of the effective life used by them. If you cannot readily ascertain the method that the former holder used or if they did not use a method, you must use the diminishing value method. You must use an effective life determined by the Commissioner if you cannot find out the effective life that the former holder used or if they did not use an effective life.

    You must recalculate the effective life of the depreciating asset if the asset’s cost increases by 10% or more in any income year, including the year in which you start to hold it; see How to recalculate effective life.

    Immediate deduction (for certain non-business depreciating assets costing $300 or less)

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    The decline in value of certain depreciating assets costing $300 or less is their cost. This means you get an immediate deduction for the cost of the asset to the extent that you used it for a taxable purpose during the income year in which the deduction is available.

    The immediate deduction is available if all of the following tests are met for the asset:

    If you are not eligible to claim the immediate deduction, you work out the decline in value of the asset using the general rules for working out decline in value. Alternatively, you may be able to allocate the asset to a low-value pool; see Low-value pools.

    The immediate deduction is not available for the following depreciating assets:

    Cost is $300 or less

    If you are entitled to a GST input tax credit for the asset, the cost is reduced by the input tax credit before determining whether the cost is $300 or less.

    If you hold an asset jointly with others and the cost of your interest in the asset is $300 or less, you can claim the immediate deduction even though the depreciating asset in which you have an interest costs more than $300; see Jointly held depreciating assets.

    Example: Cost is $300 or less, ignoring any GST impact

    John, Margaret and Neil jointly own a rental property in the proportions of 50%, 25% and 25%. Based on their respective interests, they contribute $400, $200 and $200 to acquire a new refrigerator for the rental property. Margaret and Neil can claim an immediate deduction because the cost of their interest in the refrigerator does not exceed $300. John cannot claim an immediate deduction because the cost of his interest is more than $300.

    End of example

    Used mainly to produce non-business assessable income

    Some examples of depreciating assets used to produce non-business income are:

    • a briefcase or tools of trade used by an employee
    • freestanding furniture in a rental property, and
    • a calculator used in managing an investment portfolio.

    To claim the immediate deduction, you must use the depreciating asset more than 50% of the time for producing non-business assessable income.

    If you meet this test, you can use the asset for other purposes (such as to carry on a business) and still claim the deduction. However, if you use the asset mainly for producing non-business assessable income but you also use the asset for a non-taxable purpose, then the amount of deduction must be reduced by the amount attributable to the use for a non-taxable purpose.

    Example: Depreciating asset used mainly to produce non-business assessable income, ignoring any GST impact

    Rob buys a calculator for $150. The calculator is used 40% of the time by him in his business and 60% of the time for managing his share portfolio. As the calculator is used more than 50% of the time for producing non-business assessable income, Rob can claim an immediate deduction for it of $150.

    If Rob used his calculator 40% of the time for private purposes and 60% of the time for managing his share portfolio, he is still using the calculator more than 50% of the time for producing non-business assessable income. However, his deduction would be reduced by 40% to reflect his private use of the asset.

    End of example

    Not part of a set

    You need to determine whether items form a set on a case-by-case basis. You can regard items as a set if they are:

    • dependent on each other
    • marketed as a set, or
    • designed and intended to be used together.

    It is the cost of a set of assets you acquire in the income year that must not exceed $300. You cannot avoid the test by buying parts of a set separately.

    Example: Set of items, ignoring any GST impact

    In the 2012–13 income year, Paula, a primary school teacher, bought a series of six progressive reading books costing $65 each. The books are designed so that pupils move on to the next book only when they have successfully completed the previous book. The books are marketed as a set and are designed to be used together. The six books would be regarded as a set. Paula cannot claim an immediate deduction for any of these books because they form part of a set which she acquired in the income year, and the total cost of the set was more than $300.

    Example: Not a set, ignoring any GST impact

    Marie, an employee, buys a range of tools for her tool kit for work (a shifting spanner, a boxed set of screwdrivers and a hammer). Each item costs $300 or less. While the tools add to Marie’s tool kit, they are not a set. It would make no difference if Marie purchased the items at the same time and from the same supplier or manufacturer. An immediate deduction is available for all the items, including the screwdrivers. The screwdrivers are a set as they are marketed and used as a set. However, as the cost is $300 or less, the deduction is available.

    End of example

    A group of assets acquired in an income year can be a set in themselves even though they also form part of a larger set acquired over more than one income year. If the assets acquired in an income year are a set then the total cost of that set must not exceed $300. Assets acquired in another income year that form part of a larger set are not taken into account when working out the total cost of a set and whether items form a set.

    Example: Set of items part of a larger set, ignoring any GST impact

    In the 2012–13 income year, Paula, a primary school teacher, hears about a series of 12 progressive reading books. The books are designed so that pupils move on to the next book only when they have successfully completed the previous book. The first six books are at a basic level while the second six are at an advanced level.

    Paula buys one book a month beginning in January and by 30 June 2013 she holds the first six books (the basic readers) at a total cost of $240. Because of the interdependency of the books, the six books are a set even though they can be purchased individually and they form part of a larger set. An immediate deduction is available for each book because the cost of the set Paula acquired during the income year was not more than $300.

    If Paula acquires the other six books (the advanced readers) in the following income year, they would be regarded as a set acquired in that year.

    End of example

    The concept of a set requires more than one depreciating asset. In some cases, however, more than one item may be a single depreciating asset. An example would be a three volume dictionary. This is a single depreciating asset, not a set of three separate depreciating assets, as the three volumes have a single integrated function.

    Not one of a number of identical or substantially identical items

    Items are identical if they are the same in all respects. Items are substantially identical if they are the same in most respects even though there may be some minor or incidental differences. Factors to consider include colour, shape, function, texture, composition, brand and design.

    The total cost of the asset and any other identical or substantially identical asset that you acquire in the income year must not exceed $300. Do not take into account assets that you acquired in another income year.

    Example: Substantially identical items, ignoring any GST impact

    Jan buys three kitchen stools for her rental property in the 2012–13 income year. The stools are all wooden and of the same design but they are different colours. The colour of the stools is only a minor difference which is not enough to conclude that the stools are not substantially identical.

    The stools cost $150 each. Jan cannot claim an immediate deduction for the cost of each individual stool because they are substantially identical and their total cost exceeds $300.

    Example: Not substantially identical items

    Jan also buys some chairs for her rental property: a canvas chair for the patio, a high-back wooden chair for the bedroom dressing table and a leather executive chair for the study. While these are all chairs, they are not identical or substantially identical. Jan can claim the cost of each chair as an immediate deduction if the chair costs $300 or less.

    End of example

    Effective life

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    Generally, the effective life of a depreciating asset is how long it can be used by any entity for a taxable purpose or for the purpose of producing exempt income or non-assessable non-exempt income:

    • having regard to the wear and tear you reasonably expect from your expected circumstances of use
    • assuming that it will be maintained in reasonably good order and condition, and
    • having regard to the period within which it is likely to be scrapped, sold for no more than scrap value or abandoned.

    Effective life is expressed in years, including fractions of years. It is not rounded to the nearest whole year.

    Choice of determining effective life

    For most depreciating assets, you have the choice of either working out the effective life yourself or using an effective life determined by the Commissioner.

    You must make the choice for the income year in which the asset’s start time occurs. Generally, you must make the choice by the time you lodge your income tax return for that year.

    However, the choice is not available:

    Working out the effective life yourself

    The sort of information that you could use to make an estimate of the effective life of an asset includes:

    • the physical life of the asset
    • engineering information
    • the manufacturer’s specifications
    • your own past experience with similar assets
    • the past experience of other users of similar assets
    • the level of repairs and maintenance commonly adopted by users of the asset
    • retention periods
    • scrapping or abandonment practices.

    You work out the effective life of a depreciating asset from the asset’s start time.

    Commissioner’s determination

    In making his determination, the Commissioner assumes that the depreciating asset is new and has regard to general industry circumstances of use.

    As a general rule, use the Taxation Ruling or version of the Taxation Ruling schedule that is in force at the time you first use it, or have it installed ready for use. This will usually be when you:

    • enter into a contract to acquire an asset
    • otherwise acquire it, or
    • start to construct it.

    However, if the asset’s start time does not occur within five years of this time, you must use the effective life that is in force at the asset’s start time. For an item of plant acquired under a contract entered into, otherwise acquired or started to be constructed before 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999, there is no restriction on the period within which the plant must be used. The general rule in the previous paragraph applies to such plant.

    The latest Taxation Ruling at the time of publication of this guide is Taxation Ruling TR 2012/2 – Income tax: effective life of depreciating assets (applicable from 1 July 2012), which lists the Commissioner’s determinations of the effective life for various depreciating assets. However, you should also note that the 2013 effective life of depreciating assets ruling is expected to be published in late June 2013.

    You need to work out which of the following apply:

    • Taxation Ruling TR 2012/2 (from 1 July 2012)
    • Taxation Ruling TR 2011/2 (from 1 July 2011)
    • Taxation Ruling TR 2010/2 (from 1 July 2010)
    • Taxation Ruling TR 2009/4 (from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010)
    • Taxation Ruling TR 2008/4 (from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009)
    • Taxation Ruling TR 2007/3 (from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008)
    • Taxation Ruling TR 2006/15 (from 1 January 2007 to 30 June 2007)
    • Taxation Ruling TR 2006/5 (from 1 July 2006 to 31 December 2006)
    • Taxation Ruling TR 2000/18 (from 1 January 2001 to 30 June 2006), or
    • Taxation Ruling IT 2685.

    As a general rule, the table of effective lives accompanying Taxation Ruling IT 2685 should be used only for depreciating assets:

    • acquired under a contract entered into
    • otherwise acquired, or
    • started to be constructed before 1 January 2001.

    Taxation Ruling IT 2685 contains depreciation rates (accelerated rates and broadbanded rates) which you should use only for plant that was acquired before 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999 or by certain small business taxpayers before 1 July 2001; see Accelerated depreciation.

    For an extract from Taxation Ruling TR 2012/2 showing the effective lives of some commonly used depreciating assets, see Examples of effective lives from Taxation Ruling TR 2012/2 (from 1 July 2012).

    Statutory caps on the Commissioner’s determination of effective life

    From 1 July 2002 there are statutory caps on the Commissioner’s determined effective life for certain depreciating assets. This means if you choose to use the Commissioner’s determination of effective life for an asset with a capped life, you must use the capped life if it is shorter than the Commissioner’s determination.

    Assets with capped lives include aeroplanes; helicopters; certain shipping vessels, certain buses, light commercial vehicles, trucks and trailers; and certain assets used in the oil and gas industries. For more information, see Taxation Ruling TR 2012/2.

    From the 2012/13 income year, there are also statutory caps on certain eligible shipping vessels. For more information, refer to the 2013 effective life of depreciating assets ruling, expected to be published in late June 2013, or the Tax Laws Amendment (Shipping Reform) Act 2012 and the Shipping Reform (Tax Incentives) Act 2012.

    Effective life of intangible depreciating assets

    The effective life of most intangible depreciating assets is prescribed under the UCA.

    Asset

    Effective life in years

    1

    Standard patent

    20

    2

    Innovation patent

    8

    3

    Petty patent

    6

    4

    Registered design

    15

    5

    Copyright (except copyright in a film)

    The shorter of 25 years from when you acquire it or the period until the copyright ends

    6

    A licence (except one relating to a copyright or in-house software)

    The term of the licence

    7

    A licence relating to a copyright (except copyright in a film)

    The shorter of 25 years from when you become the licensee or the period until the licence ends

    8

    In-house software

    4*

    9

    Spectrum licence

    The term of the licence

    10

    Datacasting transmitter licence

    15

    11

    Telecommunications site access right

    The term of the right

    * See In-house software for more information

    You do not have the choice of either working out the effective life yourself or using an effective life determined by the Commissioner for the intangible depreciating assets in the table above and other intangible depreciating assets. In addition, the effective life of these depreciating assets cannot be recalculated.

    The effective life of an indefeasible right to use a telecommunications cable system is the effective life of the telecommunications cable over which the right is granted.

    The effective life of any other intangible depreciating asset cannot be longer than the term of the asset as extended by any reasonably assured extension or renewal of that term.

    If you acquire any of the intangible assets listed in the above table (except items 5, 7 or 8) from a former holder and you choose to calculate the asset’s decline in value using the prime cost method, in the formula you must use the number of years remaining in that effective life at the start of the income year you acquired the asset, not the effective life shown in the table.

    Effective life of intangible depreciating assets that are mining, quarrying or prospecting rights

    The effective life of a mining, quarrying or prospecting right is provided in the table below:

    Asset

    Effective life in years

    A mining, quarrying or prospecting right relating to mining operations (except obtaining petroleum or quarry materials)

    The life of the mine or proposed mine or, if there is more than one, the life of the mine that has the longest life

    A mining, quarrying or prospecting right relating to mining operations to obtain petroleum

    The life of the petroleum field or proposed petroleum field

    A mining, quarrying or prospecting right relating to mining operations to obtain quarry materials

    The life of the quarry or proposed quarry or, if there is more than one, the life of the quarry that has the longest estimated life

    If you acquire a mining, quarrying or prospecting right listed in the above table, you will need to work out the effective life yourself. You will do this by estimating the period until the end of the life of the mine or proposed mine to which the right relates or, if there is more than one such mine, the life of the mine that has the longest estimated life.

    You will have a choice of using either the prime cost or diminishing value method to work out the decline in value of the mining, quarrying or prospecting right.

    You will also be able to recalculate the effective life of the mining, quarrying or prospecting right if there are changed circumstances. Some examples of circumstances that could cause a variation include:

    • a considerable structural price change for the mineral being extracted which leads to the mine’s premature permanent closure
    • previously uneconomically mineable geologies becoming economically mineable
    • a noticeable improvement in extraction methods or transport arrangements from the mine which leads to faster extraction of the mineral and a consequential shortening of the remaining life of the mine
    • new information becoming available as a result of further exploration or prospecting on the mining tenement as to the presence of minerals likely to be recoverable which leads to an increase in the remaining life of the mine, or
    • a change to the accepted industry practice that affects the estimation of the life of the mine.

    Choice of recalculating effective life

    You may choose to recalculate the effective life of a depreciating asset if the effective life you have been using is no longer accurate because the circumstances relating to the nature of the asset’s use have changed.

    You can recalculate an asset’s effective life each time those circumstances change. It can be done in any income year after the one in which the asset’s start time occurs, and whether you worked out the previous effective life yourself or you used the effective life determined by the Commissioner.

    Some examples of changed circumstances relating to the nature of the use of an asset are:

    • your use of the asset turns out to be more or less rigorous than expected
    • there is a downturn in the demand for the goods or services that the asset is used to produce that will result in the asset being scrapped
    • legislation prevents the asset’s continued use
    • changes in technology make the asset redundant, or
    • there is an unexpected demand, or lack of success, for a film.

    You cannot choose to recalculate the effective life of any depreciating asset for which you:

    • used accelerated rates of depreciation before 1 July 2001; see Accelerated depreciation, or
    • could have used accelerated rates of depreciation before 1 July 2001 if you had used the asset to produce assessable income or had it installed ready for that use.

    In addition, the effective life of certain intangible depreciating assets cannot be recalculated; see Effective life of intangible depreciating assets.

    Requirement to recalculate effective life

    In some circumstances, you must recalculate the effective life of a depreciating asset.

    You must recalculate the effective life of a depreciating asset if its cost is increased by 10% or more in an income year after the one in which its start time occurs and you either:

    • worked out the effective life of the asset yourself, or
    • used the Commissioner’s determination of effective life (or a capped life) and the prime cost method to work out the asset’s decline in value.

    Even though you may be required to recalculate the effective life of an asset, you may conclude that the effective life remains the same.

    You may also be required to recalculate the effective life of a depreciating asset:

    How to recalculate effective life

    You work out the recalculated effective life from the depreciating asset’s start time. You use the same principles to recalculate the effective life of a depreciating asset that you would to work out the original effective life yourself; see Working out the effective life yourself.

    Effect of recalculating effective life

    If you recalculate the effective life of a depreciating asset, the new effective life starts to apply for the income year for which you make the recalculation.

    If you are using the diminishing value method to work out the decline in value of a depreciating asset, you use the new estimate of effective life in the formula as the asset’s effective life. Under the prime cost method, you must use the adjusted prime cost formula from the year for which you recalculate the asset’s effective life; see Methods of working out decline in value for information about the adjusted prime cost formula.

    Depreciating assets and taxation of financial arrangements (TOFA)

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    The key provisions of the TOFA rules are found in Division 230 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

    When do the TOFA rules start to apply to you?

    If the TOFA rules apply to you, they will apply to the financial arrangements that you start to have from the beginning of your income year commencing on or after 1 July 2010 (unless you elected for the rules to apply a year earlier).

    Do the TOFA rules apply to you?

    The TOFA rules will apply to you if you are:

    • an authorised deposit-taking institution, securitisation vehicle or financial sector entity with an aggregated annual turnover of $20 million or more
    • a superannuation entity, approved deposit fund, pooled superannuation fund, managed investment scheme or entity with a similar status under foreign law relating to foreign regulation, with assets of $100 million or more
    • any other entity (other than an individual) which satisfies one or more of the following
    • an aggregated turnover of $100 million or more
    • assets of $300 million or more
    • financial assets of $100 million or more.

    If you do not meet these requirements you can elect to have the TOFA rules apply to you.

    TOFA rules and UCA

    The TOFA rules contain interaction provisions which may modify the cost and termination value of a depreciating asset acquired by an entity to which the TOFA rules apply. This will be the case where payment (or a substantial proportion of the payment) is deferred for more than 12 months after delivery of the depreciating asset.

    See also:

    The cost of a depreciating asset

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    To work out the decline in value of a depreciating asset, you need to know its cost.

    Under the UCA, the cost of a depreciating asset has two elements.

    The first element of cost is, generally, amounts you are taken to have paid to hold the asset, such as the purchase price. It also includes amounts incurred after 30 June 2005 that you are taken to have paid for starting to hold the asset. The amounts must be directly connected with holding the asset.

    The first element of cost is worked out as at the time you begin to hold the asset.

    The second element of cost is, generally, amounts you are taken to have paid after that time to bring the asset to its present condition and location, such as a cost of improving the asset. It also includes expenses incurred after 30 June 2005 for a balancing adjustment event occurring for the asset (that is, costs incurred to stop holding or using the asset). See What happens if you no longer hold or use a depreciating asset? for information on balancing adjustment events. Such expenses may include advertising or commission expenses or the cost of demolishing the asset.

    The first element of a depreciating asset’s cost cannot include an amount that forms part of the second element of cost of another depreciating asset. For example, if a depreciating asset is demolished so another depreciating asset can be installed on the same site, the demolition costs will form part of the second element of cost of the asset demolished. The amount is not also included in the first element of cost of the new asset.

    In this guide, when the words ‘ignoring any GST impact’ are used it should be noted that if you are not entitled to claim an input tax credit for GST for a depreciating asset that you hold, the cost of the depreciating asset includes any GST paid.

    Example: First and second elements of cost, ignoring any GST impact

    Terry wants to buy a vehicle for his business and the vehicle is not available in Australia. He locates a company in the United States from which he would be able to purchase the vehicle. He travels to the United States for the sole purpose of buying the vehicle and incurs travel costs of $5,000. Terry purchases the vehicle for $45,000.

    The first element of cost is $50,000. This amount includes the purchase cost of the vehicle and the travel costs. The travel costs would be included in the first element of cost of the vehicle because they are directly connected with Terry starting to hold the vehicle. If Terry installs an alarm in the vehicle two months later at a cost of $1,500, that amount will be included in the second element of cost of the vehicle as the cost was incurred after he began to hold the vehicle.

    End of example

    For both first and second elements of cost of a depreciating asset, amounts you are taken to have paid include:

    • an amount you pay
    • the market value of a non-cash benefit you provide
    • if you incur or increase a liability to pay an amount, the amount of the liability or increase
    • if you incur or increase a liability to provide a non-cash benefit, the market value of the non-cash benefit or the increase
    • if all or part of another’s liability to pay you an amount is terminated, the amount of the liability or part terminated
    • if all or part of another’s liability to provide a non-cash benefit (except the depreciating asset) to you is terminated, the market value of the non-cash benefit or part terminated.

    The cost of a depreciating asset does not include:

    • amounts of input tax credits to which you are or become entitled; see GST input tax credits
    • expenditure not of a capital nature, or
    • any amount that you can deduct or that is taken into account in working out a deductible amount under provisions outside the UCA.

    Example: Expenditure not of a capital nature and deductible outside the UCA

    Carolyn uses a motor vehicle for her business. As a result of Carolyn’s use of the vehicle, she needs to replace the tyres. The cost of replacing the tyres is not included in the second element of the vehicle’s cost because it would ordinarily be deductible under the repair provisions.

    End of example

    There are special rules to work out the cost of depreciating assets in certain circumstances. Some of the common cases are covered below. If you are not sure of the cost of a depreciating asset, contact us or your recognised tax adviser.

    GST input tax credits

    If the acquisition or importation of a depreciating asset constitutes a creditable acquisition or a creditable importation, the cost of the asset is reduced by any input tax credit you are, or become, entitled to for the acquisition or importation. If you become entitled to the input tax credit in an income year after the one in which the asset’s start time occurred, the asset’s opening adjustable value is also reduced by the amount of the input tax credit.

    If the cost of a depreciating asset is taken to be its market value (such as for assets acquired under a private or domestic arrangement), the market value is reduced by any input tax credit to which you would be entitled had the acquisition been solely for a creditable purpose.

    Similarly, any input tax credit you are entitled to claim for the second element of a depreciating asset’s cost reduces the cost of the asset. Its opening adjustable value is also reduced if you become entitled to the input tax credit in an income year after the one in which the asset’s start time occurred.

    Certain adjustments under the GST legislation reduce or increase the cost and, in some cases, the opening adjustable value of the asset. For example, these can commonly arise in the event of a change in price or because of the application of volume discounts. Other adjustments are treated as an outright deduction or income.

    In this guide, when the words ‘ignoring any GST impact’ are used it should be noted that if you are not entitled to claim an input tax credit for GST for a depreciating asset that you hold, the cost of the depreciating asset includes any GST paid.

    Jointly held depreciating assets

    If a depreciating asset is held by more than one person, each holder works out their deduction for the decline in value of the asset based on the cost of their interest in the asset and not the cost of the asset itself.

    Car limit

    Cars designed mainly for carrying passengers are subject to a car limit. If the first element of cost exceeds the car limit for the financial year in which you start to hold it, that first element of cost is reduced to the car limit.

    The car limit for 2012–13 is $57,466.

    Before applying the car limit you may need to:

    If a car with a cost exceeding the car limit is held by more than one person, the car limit is applied to the cost of the car and not to each holder’s interest in the car. Once the car limit has been applied, the cost of the car (reduced to the car limit) is apportioned between each holder’s interest. Each holder then works out their deduction for the decline in value of the car; see Jointly held depreciating assets.

    The car limit also applies under the luxury car lease rules; see Leased luxury cars.

    The car limit does not apply in certain circumstances to some cars fitted out for transporting disabled people.

    When a balancing adjustment event occurs for the car, the termination value must be adjusted under a special formula; see Balancing adjustment rules for cars.

    Car acquired at a discount

    If a car is acquired at a discount, the first element of its cost may be increased by the discount portion. The discount portion is any part of the discount that is due to the sale of another asset for less than market value, for example, a trade-in.

    A car’s cost is not affected by a discount obtained for other reasons.

    The adjustment is only made if the cost of the car (after GST credits or adjustments) plus the discount portion exceeds the car limit and if you or another entity has deducted or can deduct an amount for the other asset for any income year.

    This rule does not apply to some cars fitted out for transporting disabled people.

    When a balancing adjustment event occurs for the car, the termination value must be increased by the same discount portion; see Balancing adjustment rules for cars.

    Example: Car acquired at a discount, ignoring any GST impact

    Kristine arranges to buy a $60,000 sedan for business use from Greg, a car dealer. She offers the station wagon she is using for this purpose, worth $20,000, as a trade-in. Greg agrees to reduce the price of the sedan to below the car limit if Kristine accepts less than market value for the trade-in. Kristine agrees to accept $15,000 for the trade-in and the price of the sedan is reduced to $55,000 (that is, a discount of $5,000).

    The cost of the car plus the discount is more than the car limit so the first element of the car’s cost is increased by the amount of the discount to $60,000. As the first element of cost then exceeds the car limit, it must be reduced to the car limit for the income year. The termination value of the wagon would be taken to be the market value of $20,000 as Kristine and Greg were not dealing at arm’s length; see Termination value.

    End of example

    Non-arm’s length and private or domestic arrangements

    The first element of a depreciating asset’s cost is the market value of the asset at the time you start to hold it if:

    • the first element of the asset’s cost would otherwise exceed its market value and you do not deal at arm’s length with another party to the transaction, or
    • you started to hold the asset under a private or domestic arrangement (for example, as a gift from a family member).

    Similar rules apply to the second element of a depreciating asset’s cost. For example, if something is done to improve your depreciating asset under a private or domestic arrangement, the second element of the asset’s cost is the market value of the improvement when it is made.

    The market value may need to be reduced for any input tax credits to which you would have been entitled; see GST input tax credits.

    Note that there are special rules for working out the effective life and decline in value of a depreciating asset acquired from an associate, such as a spouse or partner; see Depreciating asset acquired from an associate.

    Depreciating asset acquired with other property

    If you pay an amount for a depreciating asset and something else, only that part of the payment that is reasonably attributable to the depreciating asset is treated as being paid for it. This applies to first and second elements of cost.

    Apportionment on the basis of the market values of the various items for which the payment is made will generally be reasonable.

    Example: Apportionment of cost

    Sam undertakes to pay an upholsterer $800 for a new desk and $300 to re-upholster a chair in a more durable material. He negotiates a trade discount of $100. The $1,000 paid should be apportioned between:

    • the first element of cost of the desk, and
    • the second element of cost of the chair

    based on the relative market values of the desk and the labour and materials used to upholster the chair.

    End of example

    Hire purchase agreements

    For income tax purposes, certain hire purchase agreements entered into after 27 February 1998 are treated as notional sale and loan transactions.

    If the goods subject to the hire purchase agreement are depreciating assets and the hirer is the holder of the depreciating assets (see Depreciating assets subject to hire purchase agreements) the hirer may be entitled to deductions for the decline in value. Generally, the cost or value stated in the hire purchase agreement or the arm’s length value is taken to be the cost of the depreciating assets.

    Death of the holder

    If a depreciating asset starts being held by you as a legal personal representative (say, as the executor of an estate) as a result of the death of the former holder, the cost of the asset to you is generally its adjustable value on the day the former holder died.

    If the former holder allocated the asset to a low-value pool, the cost of the asset to you is the amount of the closing balance of the pool for the income year in which the former holder died that is reasonably attributable to the asset; see Low-value pools.

    If you start to hold a depreciating asset because it passes to you as a beneficiary of an estate or as a surviving joint tenant, the cost of the asset to you is its market value when you started to hold it reduced by any capital gain that was ignored when the owner died or when it passed from the legal personal representative. See the Guide to capital gains tax 2013 (NAT 4151) for information about when these gains can be disregarded.

    Commercial debt forgiveness

    Generally, an amount that you owe is a commercial debt if you can claim a deduction for the interest paid on the debt or you would have been able to claim a deduction for interest if it had been charged. The amount of the commercial debt includes any accrued but unpaid interest.

    If a commercial debt is forgiven, you may be required to make a reduction for a depreciating asset. If a reduction is made for a depreciating asset, the asset’s cost is reduced by the debt forgiveness amount. If the reduction is made in a year later than the one in which the asset’s start time occurs, the opening adjustable value of the asset is also reduced.

    If an asset’s opening adjustable value is reduced and you use the prime cost method to work out the asset’s decline in value, you need to use the adjusted prime cost formula for the income year that the change is made and in later years; see Methods of working out decline in value.

    Recoupment of cost

    If you recoup an amount that you had previously included in the cost of a depreciating asset, you may need to include that recouped amount in your assessable income. An amount you receive for the sale of a depreciating asset at market value is not an assessable recoupment.

    Foreign currency gains and losses

    If you purchased a depreciating asset in foreign currency, the first element of the asset’s cost is converted to Australian currency at the exchange rate applicable when you began to hold the asset, or when the obligation was satisfied, whichever occurred first. From 1 July 2003, if the foreign currency amount became due for payment within the 24-month period that began 12 months before the time when you began to hold the depreciating asset, any realised foreign currency gain or loss (referred to as a forex realisation gain or a forex realisation loss) can modify the asset’s cost, the opening adjustable value, or the opening balance of your low-value pool (as the case may be). Otherwise, that gain or loss is included in assessable income or allowed as a deduction, respectively.

    If the foreign currency amount relates to the second element of the cost of a depreciating asset, the translation to Australian currency is made at the exchange rate applicable at the time you incurred the relevant expenditure, and the 12-month rule applies instead of the 24-month rule. The 12-month rule requires that the foreign currency became due for payment within 12 months after the time you incurred the relevant expenditure.

    In some circumstances you may be able to elect that forex gains and losses do not modify the asset’s cost, the opening adjustable value or the opening balance of your low-value pool. For more information, see Foreign exchange (forex): election out of the 12 month rule.

    TOFA and the cost of a depreciating asset

    If the TOFA rules apply to you and you start or cease to have a financial arrangement (or part of a financial arrangement) as consideration for acquiring a depreciating asset, the TOFA rules will operate to determine the first element of cost. In general the rules mean the first element of cost is the market value of the depreciating asset at the time of acquisition.

    In the same way, the TOFA rules can also affect the second element of a depreciating asset’s cost when the financial arrangement is consideration for something obtained which is relevant to the second element of cost, for example, capital improvements.

    Example: TOFA and the cost of a depreciating asset

    Aus Co is subject to the TOFA rules.

    Aus Co enters into a contract on 1 July 2012 to buy a depreciating asset for $100,000. The depreciating asset will be delivered in 6 months time on 1 January 2013 and payment will be made on 1 July 2014 (that is, 18 months after delivery). The market value of the depreciating asset on 1 January 2013 is $90,000.

    On 1 January 2013 when Aus Co receives the depreciating asset it will start to have a financial arrangement (the obligation to pay $100,000 in 18 months) which is provided to acquire the depreciating asset.

    The TOFA rules mean that Aus Co is taken to have provided an amount equal to the market value of the depreciating asset (worked out at the time it is acquired) for its acquisition. Therefore, Aus Co’s first element of cost of the depreciating asset will be $90,000.

    The financial arrangement will be taxed separately under the TOFA rules. Any gain or loss worked out under those rules (loss of $10,000 in this example) will not form part of the first element of cost of the depreciating asset.

    End of example

    The TOFA rules also provide for a hedging tax-timing method that allows gains and losses from certain hedging financial arrangements to be recognised and characterised in accordance with the tax treatment of the underlying item being hedged. For example, if this method applies to a gain or loss on a hedging financial arrangement used to hedge against risks for a depreciating asset, the gain or loss will be assessable or deductible on the same basis as the decline in value deduction.

    Note however that the gain or loss on the hedging financial arrangement will not form part of the cost of the depreciating asset.

    What happens if you no longer hold or use a depreciating asset?

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    If you cease to hold or use a depreciating asset, a balancing adjustment event may occur. If there is a balancing adjustment event, you need to calculate a balancing adjustment amount to include in your assessable income or to claim as a deduction.

    A balancing adjustment event occurs for a depreciating asset when:

    • you stop holding it, for example, if the asset is sold, lost or destroyed
    • you stop using it and expect never to use it again
    • you stop having it installed ready for use and you expect never to install it ready for use
    • you have not used it and decide never to use it, or
    • a change occurs in the holding or interests in an asset which was or is to become a partnership asset.

    A balancing adjustment event does not occur just because a depreciating asset is split or merged; see Split or merged depreciating assets.

    However, a balancing adjustment event does occur if you stop holding part of a depreciating asset.

    Expenses of a balancing adjustment event (such as advertising or commission expenses) may be included in the second element of the cost of the depreciating asset; see The cost of a depreciating asset.

    You work out the balancing adjustment amount by comparing the asset’s termination value (such as the proceeds from the sale of an asset) and its adjustable value at the time of the balancing adjustment event; see Termination value.

    If the termination value is greater than the adjustable value, you include the excess in your assessable income.

    If the termination value is less than the adjustable value, you can deduct the difference.

    Example: Working out an assessable balancing adjustment amount, ignoring any GST impact

    Bridget purchased a cabinet that she held for two years and used wholly for a taxable purpose. She then sold the cabinet for $1,300. Its adjustable value at the time was $1,200.

    As the termination value of $1,300 is greater than the adjustable value of the cabinet at the time of its sale, the difference of $100 is included in Bridget’s assessable income as an assessable balancing adjustment amount.

    Example: Working out a deductible balancing adjustment amount, ignoring any GST impact

    If Bridget sold the cabinet for $1,000, the termination value would be less than the adjustable value of the cabinet at the time of its sale ($1,200). The difference of $200 is a deductible balancing adjustment amount.

    End of example

    There are situations where these general balancing adjustment rules do not apply:

    • If a depreciating asset has been partly used for a non-taxable purpose, the balancing adjustment amount is reduced to reflect only the taxable use. Additionally, a capital gain or capital loss can arise to the extent that the depreciating asset was used for a non-taxable purpose; see Depreciating asset used for a non-taxable purpose.
    • Similarly, if the depreciating asset is a leisure facility or a boat and your deductions for the decline in value of the asset have been reduced, the balancing adjustment amount is reduced and a capital gain or capital loss can arise; see Leisure facilities and boats.
    • There are special balancing adjustment rules for cars; see Balancing adjustment rules for cars.
    • A balancing adjustment event for a depreciating asset in a low-value or common-rate pool or for which expenditure has been allocated to a software development pool is dealt with under specific rules for those pools; see Balancing adjustment event for a depreciating asset in a low-value pool, Common-rate pools and Software development pools.
    • If the disposal of a depreciating asset is involuntary, you may be able to offset an assessable balancing adjustment amount; see Involuntary disposal of a depreciating asset.
    • The assessment of a balancing adjustment amount for an eligible vessel may be deferred for two years where a certificate obtained under the Shipping Reform (Tax Incentives) Act 2012 applied to that vessel on the day of the balancing adjustment event. Additionally, rollover relief on the deferred amount may be available.
    • Rollover relief may apply to the disposal of a depreciating asset in certain circumstances, such as where an asset is transferred between spouses pursuant to a court order following a marriage breakdown; see Rollover relief.
    • There are no specific balancing adjustment rules for some primary production depreciating assets (see Primary production depreciating assets) or certain depreciating assets used for landcare operations, electricity connections or phone lines (see Landcare operations and Electricity connections and phone lines). However, such assets may be considered part of land for capital gains tax (CGT) purposes.
    • There are special balancing adjustment rules for depreciating assets used in carrying on research and development activities; see the Research and development tax incentive schedule instructions 2013 for more information.

    A GST liability will generally occur when a depreciating asset is disposed of by a GST registered entity. For more information, see the fact sheet GST and the disposal or capital assets (NAT 7682).

    Termination value

    The termination value is, generally, what you receive or are taken to receive for the asset when a balancing adjustment event occurs. It is made up of amounts you receive and the market value of non-cash benefits (such as goods or services) you receive for the asset.

    The most common example of termination value is the proceeds from selling an asset. The termination value may also be an insurance payout for the loss or destruction of a depreciating asset.

    The termination value is reduced by the GST payable if the balancing adjustment event is a taxable supply. It can be modified by increasing or decreasing adjustments.

    If the termination value is taken to be the market value of the asset (for example, in the case of assets disposed of under a private or domestic arrangement), the market value is reduced by any input tax credit to which you would be entitled had you acquired the asset solely for a creditable purpose.

    An amount is not an assessable recoupment if it is included in the termination value of a depreciating asset; see Recoupment of cost.

    There are special rules to work out the termination value of depreciating assets in certain circumstances. Some of the more common cases are covered below. If you are not sure of the termination value of a depreciating asset, contact us or your recognised tax adviser.

    Non-arm's length and private or domestic arrangements

    The termination value of a depreciating asset is its market value just before you stopped holding it where:

    • the termination value would otherwise be less than market value and you did not deal at arm’s length with another party to the transaction, or
    • you stopped holding the asset as a result of a private or domestic arrangement (for instance, you gave the asset to a family member).

    Selling a depreciating asset with other property

    If you received an amount for the sale of several items that include a depreciating asset, you need to apportion the amount received between the termination value of the depreciating asset and the other items. The termination value is only that part of what you received that is reasonably attributable to the asset.

    Apportionment on the basis of the market values of the various items for which the amount is received will be acceptable.

    Example: Depreciating asset sold with other property, ignoring any GST impact

    Ben receives $100,000 for the sale of both a chainsaw (a depreciating asset) and a block of land (not a depreciating asset). It would be reasonable to apportion the $100,000 between:

    • the termination value of the chainsaw, and
    • the proceeds of sale for the land

    based on the relative market values of the chainsaw and the land.

    End of example

    TOFA and the termination value of a depreciating asset

    If the TOFA rules apply to you and you start or cease to have a financial arrangement (or part of a financial arrangement) as consideration for providing a depreciating asset, the TOFA rules will determine the termination value of the depreciating asset. In general the rules mean the termination value is the market value of the depreciating asset at the time of disposal.

    Example: TOFA and the termination value of a depreciating asset

    ABC Co is subject to the TOFA rules.

    ABC Co enters into a contract on 1 July 2012 to sell its depreciating asset for $100,000. The depreciating asset will be delivered in 6 months time on 1 January 2013 and payment will be received on 1 July 2014 (that is, 18 months after delivery). The market value of the depreciating asset on 1 January 2013 is $90,000.

    On 1 January 2013 when ABC Co delivers the depreciating asset it will start to have a financial arrangement (the right to receive $100,000 in 18 months which is received for the provision of the depreciating asset).

    The TOFA rules mean that ABC Co is taken to have received an amount equal to the market value of the depreciating asset (worked out at the time it is provided) for its disposal. Therefore, ABC Co's termination value for the depreciating asset will be $90,000.

    The financial arrangement will be taxed separately under the TOFA rules. Any gain or loss worked out under those rules (gain of $10,000 in this example) will not form part of the termination value of the depreciating asset.

    End of example

    The TOFA rules also provide for a hedging tax-timing method that allows gains and losses from certain hedging financial arrangements to be recognised and characterised in accordance with the tax treatment of the underlying item being hedged. For example, if this method applies to a gain or loss on a hedging financial arrangement used to hedge risks for a depreciating asset, the gain or loss will be assessable or deductible on the same basis as for the depreciating asset. Therefore, when there is a balancing adjustment event for that depreciating asset it may be necessary to separately work out:

    • the balancing adjustment assessable or deductible amount on the depreciating asset, and
    • the assessable or deductible amount for any part of the gain or loss on the hedging financial arrangement under the TOFA rules that has not yet been assessed or deducted.

    The gain or loss on the hedging financial arrangement will not form part of the termination value of the depreciating asset.

    Depreciating asset you stop using or never use

    The termination value of a unit of in-house software you still hold but stop using and expect never to use again, or decide never to use, is zero; see In-house software.

    For any other asset, if you stop using it and expect never to use it again but still hold it, the termination value is the market value when you stop using it. For a depreciating asset you decide never to use but still hold, the termination value is the market value when you make the decision.

    Death of the holder

    If a person dies and a depreciating asset starts to be held by their legal personal representative (such as the executor of their estate), a balancing adjustment event occurs. The termination value of the asset is its adjustable value on the day the holder died. If they had allocated the asset to a low-value pool, the termination value is the amount of the closing balance of the pool for the income year in which the holder died that is reasonably attributable to the asset; see Low-value pools.

    If the asset passes directly to a beneficiary of their estate or to a surviving joint tenant, the termination value is the asset’s market value on the day the holder died.

    Depreciating asset used for a non-taxable purpose

    If a depreciating asset is used both for a taxable purpose and for a non-taxable purpose, the balancing adjustment amount must be reduced by the amount that is attributable to the use for a non-taxable purpose. In addition, a capital gain or capital loss may arise under the capital gain and capital loss provisions. The amount of the capital gain or capital loss is the difference between the asset’s cost and its termination value that is attributable to the use for a non-taxable purpose.

    For depreciating assets that are used wholly for a non-taxable purpose, the balancing adjustment amount is reduced to zero. The difference between the asset’s termination value and its cost can be a capital gain or capital loss.

    For some depreciating assets, any capital gain or capital loss arising will be disregarded even though the asset is used for a non-taxable purpose. These assets include:

    • cars that are designed to carry a load of less than one tonne and fewer than nine passengers
    • motor cycles
    • valour or brave conduct decorations awarded
    • a collectable (such as a painting or an antique) if the first element of its cost is $500 or less
    • assets for which you can deduct an amount for the decline in value as a small business entity under the simplified depreciation rules for the income year in which the balancing adjustment event occurred
    • assets acquired before 20 September 1985
    • assets used solely to produce exempt income.

    In addition, a capital gain arising from the disposal of a personal use asset (an asset used or kept mainly for personal use or enjoyment) of which the first element of cost is $10,000 or less is disregarded for CGT purposes. A capital loss arising from the disposal of any personal use asset is also disregarded for CGT purposes.

    Example: Sale of a depreciating asset used partly for a taxable purpose, ignoring any GST impact

    Andrew sells a computer for $600. The computer’s cost is $1,000. It has been used 40% of the time for private purposes. At the time of its sale, the computer’s adjustable value is $700.

    Andrew can claim a deduction of $60. This is 60% (the proportion of use for a taxable purpose) of the balancing adjustment amount (the difference between the computer’s termination value and its adjustable value at the time of its sale).

    In addition, a capital loss of $160 arises. This is 40% (the proportion of use for a non-taxable purpose) of the difference between the computer’s termination value and its cost.

    End of example

    Leisure facilities and boats

    If a balancing adjustment event occurs for a depreciating asset that is a leisure facility or a boat and your deductions for the decline in value of the asset have been reduced (see Decline in value of leisure facilities and Decline in value of boats) the balancing adjustment amount is reduced to the extent your deductions for decline in value were reduced. In addition, a capital gain or capital loss may arise in respect of the difference between the asset’s cost and its termination value that is attributable to the reduction.

    These rules are similar to those for working out the balancing adjustment amount for a depreciating asset used for a non-taxable purpose.

    Plant acquired before 21 September 1999 and other depreciating assets acquired before 1 July 2001

    Any assessable balancing adjustment amount or capital gain (if the asset was used for a non-taxable purpose) may be reduced if a balancing adjustment event occurs for:

    • an item of plant that was acquired before 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999, or
    • a depreciating asset acquired before 1 July 2001 that is not plant.

    The amount of the reduction is the cost base of the asset for CGT purposes less its cost. The purpose of this reduction is to preserve CGT cost base advantages for assets acquired before these dates.

    One reason that the cost base might exceed the cost is indexation of the cost base. There is indexation of the cost base to 30 September 1999 where:

    • a CGT event happens to an asset acquired before 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999, and
    • the asset was owned for 12 months or more.

    Indexation is not available for assets for which capital gains and capital losses are disregarded; see Depreciating asset used for a non-taxable purpose for a list of such assets. However, the balancing adjustment amount is reduced if the asset is:

    • a car that is designed to carry a load of less than one tonne and fewer than nine passengers
    • a motor cycle
    • a valour decoration
    • a collectable (such as a painting or an antique) if the first element of its cost is $500 or less
    • an asset acquired before 20 September 1985, or
    • an asset used solely to produce exempt income.

    In these cases, the balancing adjustment amount is reduced by the difference between the asset’s termination value and its cost that is attributable to the use of the asset for a taxable purpose.

    See the Guide to capital gains tax 2013 for more information about indexation of a cost base and the impact of indexation on discount capital gains.

    Balancing adjustment rules for cars

    If a balancing adjustment event occurs for your car, you need to work out any balancing adjustment amount. Special rules apply to the calculation of balancing adjustment amounts for cars.

    If a balancing adjustment event occurs for a car you used for a non-taxable purpose, you disregard any capital gain or capital loss.

    If you use the one-third of actual expenses method or the logbook method of claiming car expenses, your balancing adjustment amount needs to be reduced by the amount that is attributable to the use of the car for a non-taxable purpose.

    Example: If you use the one-third of actual expenses method, ignoring any GST impact

    Louise acquired a car on 1 July 2011. During both the 2011–12 and 2012–13 income years, Louise used the one-third of actual expenses method to work out her deductions for car expenses. She sold her car for $24,500 on 30 June 2013. At that time, the adjustable value of the car was $18,200.

    Louise’s balancing adjustment amount is reduced by the amount attributable to her use of the car for a non-taxable purpose. As she used the one-third of actual expenses method to work out her deductions for car expenses, her balancing adjustment amount is reduced by two-thirds. Louise’s balancing adjustment would be $2,100, that is, one-third of the difference ($6,300) between the termination value and the adjustable value of the car. Louise must include the amount of $2,100 in her assessable income.

    Example: If you use the logbook method, ignoring any GST impact

    If Louise used the logbook method to work out her deductions for car expenses and her logbook showed that the level of her business use was 40%, her balancing adjustment amount would be $2,520. This is 40% of the difference between the termination value and the adjustable value of the car ($6,300 × 40% = $2,520). Louise must include the amount of $2,520 in her assessable income.

    End of example

    If you have only used the cents per kilometre method or the 12% of original value method of claiming car expenses, no balancing adjustment amount arises because the decline in value of the car is not worked out separately under those methods. The decline in value is taken into account as part of the calculation of the car expenses. However, if you switch between these methods and the one-third of actual expenses method or the logbook method of claiming car expenses, you may have to work out a balancing adjustment amount. This is only expected to occur in a limited number of cases. If you are affected and you are unsure of how to work out your balancing adjustment amount, contact us or your recognised tax adviser.

    For a car subject to the car limit (see Car limit) you need to reduce the termination value. You multiply the termination value by the following fraction:

    car limit + amounts included in the car’s second element of cost
    total cost of the car

    where the total cost of the car is the sum of the first and second elements of cost, ignoring the car limit and after any adjustments for input tax credits; see GST input tax credits. You use the reduced termination value to work out your balancing adjustment amount for the car.

    If a car was acquired at a discount and the cost of the car was increased by a discount portion, the termination value of the car must also be increased by that discount portion; see Car acquired at a discount.

    If you are a lessee under a luxury car lease or a hirer under a hire purchase agreement and you do not acquire the car when the lease or agreement terminates or ends, you are treated as if you had sold the asset to the lessor or financier, respectively. You will need to work out any assessable or deductible balancing adjustment amount.

    Involuntary disposal of a depreciating asset

    An involuntary disposal occurs if a depreciating asset is:

    • lost or destroyed
    • compulsorily acquired by an entity (other than a foreign government agency)
    • disposed of to an entity (other than a foreign government agency) after they served a notice on you inviting you to negotiate a sale agreement. They must have informed you that, if negotiations are unsuccessful, the asset will be compulsorily acquired either under an Australian law, other than chapter 6A of the Corporations Act 2001 or under a foreign law, other than the equivalent of chapter 6A of the Corporations Act 2001
    • fixed to land that is disposed of to an entity (other than a foreign government agency) where a mining lease was compulsorily granted over the land and the lease significantly affected (or would have significantly affected) your use of the land, and the entity to which you disposed of the land is the lessee.

    You may offset an assessable balancing adjustment amount arising from an involuntary disposal against the cost of one or more replacement assets. If you offset an amount against the cost of a replacement asset for an income year after the one in which the replacement asset’s start time occurs, you must also reduce the sum of its opening adjustable value plus any second elements of its cost for that later year.

    You must incur the expenditure on the replacement asset, or start to hold it, no earlier than one year before the involuntary disposal and no later than one year after the end of the income year in which that disposal occurred.

    The Commissioner can agree to extend the time limit, for example, if it is unlikely that insurance claims for the disposal of the original asset will be settled within the required time even though you have taken all reasonable steps to have the insurance claims settled.

    To offset the assessable balancing adjustment amount, the replacement asset must be wholly used, or installed ready for use, by you for a taxable purpose at the end of the income year in which you incurred the expenditure on the asset or you started to hold it, and you must be able to deduct an amount for it.

    Rollover relief

    If rollover relief is available under the UCA rules, no balancing adjustment amount arises when a balancing adjustment event occurs for a depreciating asset. In some cases, rollover relief is automatic, for example, transfers pursuant to a court order following a marriage breakdown.

    In some cases, rollover relief must be chosen. If the event arises from a change in the holding of, or in interests in, a partnership asset such as a variation in the constitution of a partnership or in a partnership interest, the transferor and the transferee must jointly choose the rollover relief.

    Rollover relief may be available if you cease to hold a vessel covered by a certificate issued under Part 2 of the Shipping Reform (Tax Incentives) Act 2012. If the available relief is chosen, only the balancing adjustment amount that exceeds the cost of acquiring another certified vessel is included in assessable income.

    When rollover relief applies, the transferee of the depreciating asset can claim deductions for the asset’s decline in value as if there had been no change in holding.

    The transferee must use the same method that the transferor used to work out the decline in value of the asset.

    If the transferor used the diminishing value method, the transferee must also use the same effective life that the transferor was using.

    If the transferor used the prime cost method, the transferee must replace the asset’s effective life in the prime cost formula with the asset’s remaining effective life, that is, any period of the asset’s effective life that is yet to elapse when the transferor stopped holding the asset.

    The first element of cost for the transferee is the adjustable value of the asset when it was held by the transferor just before the balancing adjustment event occurred.

    There are specific record-keeping requirements for rollover relief; see Record keeping for rollover relief.

    For the 2007–08 income year and later years the roll-over relief available under the UCA rules has been extended to small business entities that choose to claim their capital allowance deductions under the simplified depreciation rules; see Small business entities.

    Limited recourse debt arrangements

    If expenditure on a depreciating asset is financed or refinanced wholly or partly by limited recourse debt (including a notional loan under certain hire purchase or instalment sale agreements of goods), excessive deductions for capital allowances are to be included as assessable income. This will occur where the limited recourse debt terminates but has not been paid in full by the debtor. Because the debt has not been paid in full, the capital allowance deductions allowed for the expenditure exceed the deductions that would be allowable if the unpaid amount of the debt was not counted as capital expenditure of the debtor. Special rules apply in working out whether the debt has been fully paid.

    If you are not sure what constitutes a limited recourse debt or how to work out your adjustment to assessable income, contact us or your recognised tax adviser.

    Split or merged depreciating assets

    If you hold a depreciating asset that is split into two or more assets, or a depreciating asset that is merged into another depreciating asset, you are taken to have stopped holding the original depreciating asset and to have started holding the split or merged asset. However, a balancing adjustment event does not occur just because depreciating assets are split or merged.

    An example of splitting a depreciating asset is removing a CB radio from a truck. If you install the radio in another truck you may be merging the two assets (radio and truck).

    After depreciating assets are split or merged, each new asset must satisfy the definition of a depreciating asset if the UCA rules are to apply to it. For each depreciating asset you start to hold, you need to establish the effective life and cost.

    The first element of cost for each of the split or merged depreciating assets is:

    • a reasonable proportion of the adjustable value of the original asset just before the split or merger, and
    • the same proportion of any costs of the split or merger.

    If a balancing adjustment event occurs to a merged or split depreciating asset (for example, if it is sold) the balancing adjustment amount is reduced:

    • to the extent the asset has been used for a non-taxable purpose
    • by any amount of the original depreciating asset that is reasonably attributable to use for a non-taxable purpose of the original depreciating asset before the split or merger.

    This reduction is not required if the depreciating asset is mining, quarrying or prospecting rights or information, provided certain activity tests are satisfied.

    Foreign currency gains and losses

    If you sell a depreciating asset in foreign currency, the termination value of the asset is converted to Australian currency at the exchange rate applicable when you stopped holding the asset. Under the forex provisions, you may make a foreign currency gain or loss if the Australian dollar value of the foreign currency when received differs from the Australian dollar value of the termination value. Any realised foreign currency gain or loss on the transaction is included in assessable income or allowed as a deduction, respectively.

    If the TOFA rules apply to you, then the following may differ:

    • the method that you use to calculate your foreign currency gain or loss, and
    • the first element of the depreciating asset’s cost.

    For more information about the TOFA rules, see Guide to the taxation of financial arrangements (TOFA) rules.

    Low-value pools

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    From 1 July 2000, an optional low-value pooling arrangement for plant was introduced. It applied to certain plant costing less than $1,000 or having an undeducted cost of less than $1,000. Such plant could be allocated to a low-value pool and depreciated at statutory rates.

    The UCA adopts most of the former rules for a low-value pool. From 1 July 2001, the decline in value of certain depreciating assets can be worked out through a low-value pool.

    Transitional rules apply so that a low-value pool created before 1 July 2001 continues and is treated as if it were created under the UCA. The closing balance of the pool worked out under the former rules is used to start working out the decline in value of the depreciating assets in the pool under the UCA.

    Under the UCA, you can allocate low-cost assets and low-value assets to a low-value pool.

    A low-cost asset is a depreciating asset whose cost is less than $1,000 (after GST credits or adjustments) as at the end of the income year in which you started to use it, or had it installed ready for use, for a taxable purpose.

    A low-value asset is a depreciating asset:

    • that is not a low-cost asset
    • that has an opening adjustable value for the current year of less than $1,000, and
    • for which you used the diminishing value method to work out any deductions for decline in value for a previous income year.

    The decline in value of an asset that you hold jointly with others is worked out on the cost of your interest in the asset. This means that if you hold an asset jointly and the cost of your interest in the asset or the opening adjustable value of your interest is less than $1,000, you can allocate your interest in the asset to your low-value pool; see Jointly held depreciating assets.

    The following depreciating assets cannot be allocated to a low-value pool:

    • assets for which you used the prime cost method to work out any deductions for decline in value for a previous income year
    • horticultural plants
    • assets for which you deduct amounts under the simplified depreciation rules; see Small business entities
    • assets that cost $300 or less for which you can claim an immediate deduction; see Immediate deduction (for certain non-business depreciating assets costing $300 or less)
    • assets that you either use, or have used, in carrying on research and development activities for which you are entitled to a tax offset for a deduction in their decline in value, and your entitlement to that tax offset is worked out under Division 355 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, or
    • portable electronic devices*, computer software, protective clothing, briefcases and tools of trade, if the item was provided to you by your employer, or some or all of the cost of the item was paid for or reimbursed by your employer, and the provision, payment or reimbursement was exempt from fringe benefits tax.

    * Portable electronic devices include laptops, portable printers, personal digital assistants, calculators, mobile phones and portable GPS navigation receivers.

    Allocating depreciating assets to a low-value pool

    A low-value pool is created when you first choose to allocate a low-cost or low-value asset to the pool.

    When you allocate an asset to the pool, you must make a reasonable estimate of the percentage of your use of the asset that will be for a taxable purpose over its effective life (for a low-cost asset) or the effective life remaining at the start of the income year for which it was allocated to the pool (for a low-value asset). This percentage is known as the asset’s ‘taxable use percentage’.

    It is this taxable use percentage of the cost or opening adjustable value that is written off through the low-value pool.

    Example: Working out the taxable use percentage

    Kate allocates a low-cost asset to a low-value pool. The asset has an effective life of three years. Kate intends to use the asset 90% for taxable purposes in the first year, 80% in the second year and 70% in the third year. A reasonable estimation of the taxable use percentage would be the average of these estimates, that is, 80%.

    End of example

    Once you have allocated an asset to the pool, you cannot vary your estimate of the taxable use percentage even if the actual use of the asset turns out to be different from your estimate.

    Once you choose to create a low-value pool and a low-cost asset is allocated to the pool, you must pool all other low-cost assets that you start to hold in that income year and in later income years. However, this rule does not apply to low-value assets. You can decide whether to allocate low-value assets to the pool on an asset-by-asset basis.

    Once you have allocated an asset to the pool, it remains in the pool.

    Working out the decline in value of depreciating assets in a low-value pool

    Once you allocate an asset to a low-value pool, it is not necessary to work out its adjustable value or decline in value separately. Only one annual calculation for the decline in value for all of the depreciating assets in the pool is required.

    You work out the deduction for the decline in value of depreciating assets in a low-value pool using a diminishing value rate of 37.5%.

    For the income year in which you allocate a low-cost asset to the pool you work out its decline in value at a rate of 18.75% or half the pool rate. Halving the rate recognises that assets may be allocated to the pool throughout the income year. This eliminates the need to make separate calculations for each asset based on the date it was allocated to the pool.

    To work out the decline in value of the depreciating assets in a low-value pool, add:

    • 18.75% of  
      • the taxable use percentage of the cost (first and second elements) of low-cost assets you have allocated to the pool for the income year, and
      • the taxable use percentage of any amounts included in the second element of cost for the income year of  
        • all assets in the pool at the end of the previous income year, and
        • low-value assets allocated to the pool for the income year
         
       

    and

    • 37.5% of  
      • the closing pool balance for the previous income year, and
      • the taxable use percentage of the opening adjustable value of any low-value assets allocated to the pool for the income year.
       

    Example: Working out the decline in value of depreciating assets in a low-value pool, ignoring any GST impact

    During the 2012–13 income year, John bought a printer for $990. John allocated low-cost assets to a low-value pool in the 2011–12 income year so he had to allocate the printer to the pool because it too was a low-cost asset. He estimated that only 60% of its use would be for taxable purposes. He therefore allocated only 60% of the cost of the printer to the pool, that is, $594.

    Assume that at the end of the 2011–12 income year, John’s low-value pool had a closing pool balance of $5,000. Also assume that John did not allocate any other low-cost or low-value assets to the pool for the 2012–13 income year. John’s deduction for the decline in value of the assets in the pool for the 2012–13 income year would be $1,986. This is worked out as follows:

    18.75% of the taxable use percentage of the cost of the printer allocated to the pool during the year
    (18.75% x $594)

    $111

    plus 37.5% of the closing pool balance for the previous year
    (37.5% x $5,000)

    $1,875

     

    End of example

    The closing balance of a low-value pool for an income year is:

    • the closing pool balance for the previous income year
      plus
    • the taxable use percentage of the cost (first and second elements) of any low-cost assets allocated to the pool for the income year
      plus
    • the taxable use percentage of the opening adjustable value of low-value assets allocated to the pool for the income year
      plus
    • the taxable use percentage of any amounts included in the second element of cost for the income year of  
      • assets in the pool at the end of the previous income year, and
      • low-value assets allocated for the income year
        less
       
    • the decline in value of the assets in the pool for the income year.

    Example: Working out the closing balance of a low-value pool, ignoring any GST impact

    Following on from the previous example, and assuming that John made no additional allocations to or reductions from his low-value pool, the closing balance of the pool for the 2012–13 income year would be $3,608:

    Closing pool balance for the 2011–12 income year

    $5,000

    plus the taxable percentage of the cost of the printer

    $594

    less the decline in value of the assets in the pool for the income year

    ($1,986)

     

    End of example

    Balancing adjustment event for a depreciating asset in a low-value pool

    If a balancing adjustment event occurs for a depreciating asset in a low-value pool, you reduce the amount of the closing pool balance for that income year by the taxable use percentage of the asset’s termination value. If the taxable use percentage of the asset’s termination value exceeds the closing pool balance, you reduce the closing pool balance to zero and include the excess in your assessable income.

    A capital gain or capital loss may arise if the asset is not used wholly for a taxable purpose. The difference between the asset’s cost and its termination value that is attributable to the estimated use for a non-taxable purpose is treated as a capital gain or capital loss.

    Example: Disposal of a depreciating asset in a low-value pool, ignoring any GST impact

    Following on from the previous examples, during the 2013–14 income year John sells the printer for $500. Because he originally estimated that the printer would only be used 60% for taxable purposes, the closing balance of the pool is reduced by 60% of the termination value of $500, that is, $300.

    A capital loss of $196 also arises. As the printer’s taxable use percentage is 60%, 40% of the difference between the asset’s cost ($990) and its termination value ($500) is treated as a capital loss.

    Assuming that John made no additional allocations to or reductions from his low-value pool, the closing balance of the pool for the 2013–14 income year is $1,955:

    Closing pool balance for the 2012–13 income year

    $3,608

    less the decline in value of the assets in the pool for the year (37.5% x $3,608)

    ($1,353)

    less the taxable use percentage of the termination value of pooled assets that were disposed of during the year

    ($300)

     

    End of example

    This guide includes a worksheet to help you work out your deductions for depreciating assets in a low-value pool.

    In-house software

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    In-house software is computer software, or a right (for example, a licence) to use computer software:

    • that you acquire or develop (or have another entity develop) that is mainly for your use in performing the functions for which it was developed, and
    • for which no amount is deductible outside the UCA or the simplified depreciation rules for small business entities.

    If expenditure on software is deductible under the ordinary deduction provisions of the income tax law, the software is not in-house software. A deduction for such expenditure is allowable in the income year in which it is incurred.

    Expenditure to develop software for exploitation of the copyright is not in-house software. The copyright is intellectual property, which is a depreciating asset, and the decline in value would be calculated using an effective life of 25 years and the prime cost method.

    Under the UCA, expenditure on in-house software may be deducted in the following ways:

    • the decline in value of acquired in-house software, such as off-the-shelf software, is worked out using an effective life of four years (if you started to hold the in-house software under a contract entered into after 7.30 PM AEST on 13 May 2008 or otherwise started to hold it after that day) and the prime cost method
    • expenditure incurred in developing (or having developed) in-house software may be (or may need to be) allocated to a software development pool
    • if expenditure incurred in developing (or having another entity develop) in-house software is not allocated to a software development pool, it can be capitalised into the cost of a resulting unit of in-house software and its decline in value can then be worked out using an effective life of two and a half years (or four years if the development started after 7.30 PM AEST on 13 May 2008) and the prime cost method from the time the software is first used or installed ready for use
    • if in-house software costs $300 or less and it is used mainly for producing non-business assessable income, an immediate deduction may be allowable; see Immediate deduction (for certain non-business depreciating assets costing $300 or less).

    The termination value of in-house software that you still hold but stop using and expect never to use again or decide never to use is zero. As a result, you can claim an immediate deduction for the cost of the software at that time.

    You can also claim an immediate deduction for expenditure incurred on an in-house software development project (not allocated to a software development pool) if you have not used the software or had it installed ready for use and decide that you will never use it or have it installed ready for use. The amount you can deduct is your total expenditure on the software less any amount you derive for the software or a part of it. Your deduction is limited to the extent that, when you incurred the expenditure, you intended to use the software, or have it installed ready for use, for a taxable purpose.

    Software development pools

    The choice of allocating expenditure on developing in-house software to a software development pool was available before 1 July 2001 and continues under the UCA.

    Under the UCA rules, you can choose to allocate to a software development pool expenditure that you incur on developing (or on having developed) in-house software that you intend to use solely for a taxable purpose. Once you allocate expenditure on such in-house software to a pool, you must allocate all such expenditure incurred in that year or a later year to a software development pool. A different pool is created for each income year in which you incur expenditure on developing (or on having developed) in-house software.

    Expenditure on developing in-house software that you do not intend to use solely for a taxable purpose and expenditure on acquiring in-house software cannot be allocated to a software development pool.

    If you are entitled to claim a GST input tax credit for expenditure allocated to a software development pool, the expenditure in the pool for the income year in which you are entitled to the credit is reduced by the amount of the credit. Certain adjustments under the GST legislation for expenditure allocated to a software development pool are treated as an outright deduction or income. Other adjustments reduce or increase the amount of the expenditure that has been allocated to the pool for the adjustment year.

    You do not get any deduction for expenditure in a software development pool in the income year in which you incur it. You are allowed deductions at the rate of 40% in each of the next two years and 20% in the year after that.

    If you have allocated software development expenditure on a project to a software development pool and the project is abandoned, the expenditure remains to be deducted as part of the pool.

    If you have pooled in-house software development expenditure and you receive consideration for the software (for example, insurance proceeds on the destruction of the software), you must include that amount in your assessable income unless you make the choice for rollover relief to apply and do so. Choice of rollover relief is only available in this context where a change occurs in the holding of, or of interests in, the software; see Rollover relief.

    You must also include any recoupment of the expenditure in your assessable income.

    If the receipt of consideration arises from a non-arm’s length dealing and the amount is less than the market value of what the receipt was for, you are taken to receive that market value instead.

    Common-rate pools

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    Before 1 July 2001, certain items of plant that had the same depreciation rate and that were used solely for producing assessable income could be allocated to a common-rate pool so that a single calculation of deductions could be made.

    You cannot allocate depreciating assets to a common-rate pool under the UCA. However, if you have allocated plant to a common-rate pool before 1 July 2001, you can continue to claim deductions under the UCA. The pool is treated as a single depreciating asset and the decline in value is worked out using the following rules:

    • the diminishing value method must be used
    • the opening adjustable value and the cost of the asset on 1 July 2001 is the closing balance of the pool on 30 June 2001
    • the effective life component of the diminishing value formula must be replaced with the pool percentage you used before the start of the UCA
    • in applying the diminishing value formula for the income year in which the UCA starts, the base value is the opening adjustable value of the asset, and
    • any second elements of the cost of assets in the pool are treated as second elements of the cost of the pool.

    If a balancing adjustment event occurs for a depreciating asset in the pool or you stop using an asset wholly for taxable purposes, the asset is removed from the pool. The pool is treated as having been split into the removed asset and the remaining pooled items. The removed asset is then subject to the general rules for working out decline in value or balancing adjustment amounts. The cost of the removed asset and the remaining pool is worked out using the rules for working out the cost of a split asset; see Split or merged depreciating assets.

    Primary production depreciating assets

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    The general principles of the UCA apply to most depreciating assets used in primary production.

    However, the decline in value of the following primary production depreciating assets is worked out using special rules:

    • facilities used to conserve or convey water
    • horticultural plants, and
    • grapevines.

    For depreciating assets deductible under these special rules, you cannot use the general rules for working out decline in value or claim the immediate deduction for depreciating assets costing $300 or less.

    Deductions for these assets are not available to a partnership. Costs incurred by a partnership are allocated to each partner who can then claim the relevant deduction for their share of the expenditure.

    There are no specific balancing adjustment rules for these depreciating assets. However, the assets may be considered part of the land for CGT purposes.

    When the land is disposed of, any deductions you have claimed, or can claim, for the assets may reduce the cost base of the land. See the Guide to capital gains tax 2013 for more information.

    Primary producers may also be able to claim deductions for capital expenditure on landcare operations, electricity connections and phone lines; see Landcare operations and Electricity connections and phone lines.

    Water facilities

    A water facility includes plant or a structural improvement that is primarily and principally for the purpose of conserving or conveying water. It also includes an alteration, addition or extension to that plant or structural improvement. Examples of water facilities are dams, tanks, tank stands, bores, wells, irrigation channels, pipes, pumps, water towers and windmills.

    The meaning of water facility has been extended to include certain other expenditure incurred on or after 1 July 2004:

    • a repair of a capital nature to plant or a structural improvement that is primarily and principally for the purpose of conserving or conveying water (for example, if you purchase a pump that needs substantial work done to it before it can be used in your business, the cost of repairing the pump may be treated as a water facility)
    • a structural improvement, or an alteration, addition or extension to a structural improvement, that is reasonably incidental to conserving or conveying water
    • a repair of a capital nature to a structural improvement that is reasonably incidental to conserving or conveying water.

    Examples of structural improvements that are reasonably incidental to conserving or conveying water are a bridge over an irrigation channel, a culvert (a length of pipe or multiple pipes that are laid under a road to allow the flow of water in a channel to pass under the road) and a fence preventing livestock entering an irrigation channel.

    Expenditure incurred on or after 1 July 2004 on a repair of a capital nature, or a change, to a depreciating asset may be eligible for the deduction for water facilities under the extended rules. This is the case even though the pre 1 July 2004 expenditure on the asset itself is not eligible for the deduction under the rules before they were extended. This is because the repair or change to the asset is not treated as part of the asset under the extended rules, and the extended rules are separately applied only to that repair or change.

    You can claim a deduction for the decline in value of a water facility in equal instalments over three income years.

    Unless you are an irrigation water provider, the expenditure must be incurred by you primarily and principally for conserving or conveying water for use in a primary production business that you conduct on land in Australia. You may claim the deduction even if you are only a lessee of the land. Your deduction is reduced where the water facility is not wholly used for either:

    • carrying on a primary production business on land in Australia, or
    • a taxable purpose.

    The deduction for water facilities was extended to irrigation water providers for expenditure incurred on or after 1 July 2004. An irrigation water provider is an entity whose business is primarily and principally the supply of water to entities for use in primary production businesses on land in Australia. The supply of water by the use of a motor vehicle is excluded.

    If you are an irrigation water provider, you must incur the expenditure primarily and principally for the purpose of conserving or conveying water for use in primary production businesses conducted by other entities on land in Australia (being entities supplied with water by you). Your deduction is reduced if the water facility is not used wholly for a taxable purpose.

    If the expenditure incurred arises from a non-arm’s length dealing and is more than the market value of what the expenditure was for, the amount of the expenditure is taken to be that market value instead.

    No deduction is available for capital expenditure incurred on acquiring a second-hand commercial water facility unless you can show that no one else has deducted or could deduct an amount for earlier capital expenditure on the construction or previous acquisition of the water facility.

    If you are a primary producer and a small business entity, you can choose to work out your deductions for water facilities under either the simplified depreciation rules or these UCA rules. For more information about the simplified depreciation rules, see Small business entities.

    You may need to include a recoupment of expenditure on water facilities in your assessable income. As the expenditure is deductible over more than one income year, special rules apply to determine the amount of any recoupment to be included in assessable income in the year of recoupment and in later income years. An amount received for the sale of a water facility for its market value is not regarded as an assessable recoupment.

    Horticultural plants

    A horticultural plant is a live plant or fungus that is cultivated or propagated for any of its products or parts.

    You can claim a deduction for the decline in value of horticultural plants, provided:

    • you owned the plants (lessees and licensees of land are treated as if they own the horticultural plants on that land)
    • you used them in a business of horticulture to produce assessable income, and
    • the expense was incurred after 9 May 1995.

    Your deduction for the decline in value of horticultural plants is based on the capital expenditure incurred in establishing the plants. This does not include the cost of purchasing or leasing land, or expenditure in draining swamp or low-lying land or on clearing land. It would include, for example:

    • the costs of acquiring and planting seeds, and
    • part of the cost of ploughing, contouring, fertilising, stone removal and topsoil enhancement relating to the planting.

    You cannot claim this deduction for forestry plants.

    If the expenditure incurred arises from a non-arm’s length dealing and is more than the market value of what the expenditure was for, the amount of the expenditure is taken to be that market value instead.

    The period over which you can deduct the expenditure depends on the effective life of the horticultural plant. You can choose to work out the effective life yourself or you can use the effective life determined by the Commissioner which is listed in Taxation Ruling TR 2012/2.

    If the effective life of the plant is less than three years, you can claim the establishment expenditure in full generally in the year in which the first commercial season starts.

    If the effective life of the plant is three or more years, you can write off the establishment expenditure over the maximum write-off period, which generally begins at the start of what is expected to be the plant’s first commercial season. If the plant is destroyed before the end of its effective life, you are allowed a deduction in that year for the remaining unclaimed establishment costs less any proceeds, for example, insurance.

    Table: Plants with an effective life of three or more years

    Effective life

    Annual write-off rate

    Maximum write-off period

    3 to less than 5 years

    40%

    2 years 183 days

    5 to less than 6 2/3 years

    27%

    3 years 257 days

    6 2/3 to less than 10 years

    20%

    5 years

    10 to less than 13 years

    17%

    5 years 323 days

    13 to less than 30 years

    13%

    7 years 253 days

    30 years or more

    7%

    14 years 105 days

    Where ownership of the horticultural plants changes, the new owner is entitled to continue claiming the balance of capital expenditure they incurred in establishing the plants on the same basis.

    If you are a primary producer and a small business entity, you must use the UCA rules to work out your deductions for horticultural plants. For more information about the simplified depreciation rules, see Small business entities.

    You may need to include a recoupment of expenditure on horticultural plants in your assessable income. As the expenditure may be deductible over more than one income year, special rules apply to determine the amount of any recoupment to be included in assessable income in the year of recoupment and in later income years. An amount received for the sale of a horticultural plant for its market value is not regarded as an assessable recoupment.

    Grapevines

    The specific rules for working out the decline in value of grapevines only apply to grapevines that are planted and first used by you in a primary production business before 1 October 2004. If a grapevine is planted and first used by you in a primary production business on or after 1 October 2004, the decline in value of the grapevine is worked out under the provisions relating to horticultural plants; see Horticultural plants

    The decline in value of a grapevine is worked out at a rate of 25%, provided:

    • you own the grapevine, or
    • the grapevine is established on Crown land that you hold under a quasi-ownership right (such as a lease) and that is used in a primary production business.

    If you are not entitled to work out your deduction for decline in value under the provisions relating to grapevines because these conditions are not met, a deduction may be available for decline in value under the provisions relating to horticultural plants; see Horticultural plants.

    Your deduction for the decline in value of grapevines is based on the capital expenditure incurred in establishing the grapevines. Capital expenditure incurred in establishing grapevines does not include the cost of purchasing or leasing land, expenditure on draining swamps or low-lying land, or expenditure on clearing land, but it does include, for example, the cost of:

    • preparing the land (ploughing and topsoil enhancement)
    • planting the vines, and
    • the vines.

    If the expenditure incurred arises from a non-arm’s length dealing and is more than the market value of what the expenditure was for, the amount of the expenditure is taken to be that market value instead.

    You start to deduct the decline in value of grapevines from the time you first use the grapevines in a primary production business to produce assessable income. If ownership of the grapevines changes, the remaining deduction is available to the new owner while they use the grapevines in a primary production business.

    If a grapevine is destroyed before the end of the write-off period, you are allowed a deduction in the year of destruction for the remaining unclaimed establishment expenditure less any proceeds, for example, insurance.

    If you are a primary producer and small business entity, you must use the UCA to work out your deductions for grapevines. For more information about the simplified depreciation rules, see Small business entities.

    A recoupment of expenditure on grapevines may be assessable income. As the expenditure is deductible over more than one income year, special rules apply to determine the amount of any recoupment to be included in assessable income in the year of recoupment and in later income years. An amount received for the sale of a grapevine for its market value is not regarded as an assessable recoupment.

    Capital expenditure deductible under the UCA

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    The UCA maintains the pre 1 July 2001 treatment of some capital expenditure and allows deductions for some capital expenditure that did not previously attract a deduction. Most of these deductions are only available if the expenditure does not form part of the cost of a depreciating asset.

    The following types of capital expenditure are deductible under the UCA:

    Generally, to work out your deductions you need to reduce the expenditure by the amount of any GST input tax credits you are entitled to claim for the expenditure. Increasing or decreasing adjustments that relate to the expenditure may be allowed as a deduction or included in assessable income, respectively. Special rules apply to input tax credits on expenditure allocated to a project pool; see Project pools.

    Small business entities that have chosen to use the simplified depreciation rules (except primary producers) may deduct capital expenditure under these UCA rules only if the expenditure is not part of the cost of a depreciating asset. Primary producers that are using the simplified depreciation rules can choose to deduct certain depreciating assets under the UCA rules; see Small business entities.

    Landcare operations

    You can claim a deduction in the year you incur capital expenditure on a landcare operation for land in Australia.

    Unless you are a rural land irrigation water provider, the deduction is available to the extent you use the land for either:

    • a primary production business, or
    • in the case of rural land, carrying on a business for a taxable purpose from the use of that land, except a business of mining or quarrying.

    You may claim the deduction even if you are only a lessee of the land.

    The deduction for landcare operations was extended to rural land irrigation water providers for certain expenditure they incur on or after 1 July 2004. A rural land irrigation water provider is an entity whose business is primarily and principally supplying water to entities for use in primary production businesses on land in Australia or businesses (except mining or quarrying businesses) using rural land in Australia. The supply of water by the use of a motor vehicle is excluded.

    If you are a rural land irrigation water provider, you can claim a deduction for capital expenditure you incur on a landcare operation for:

    • land in Australia that other entities (being entities supplied with water by you) use at the time for carrying on primary production businesses, or
    • rural land in Australia that other entities (being entities supplied with water by you) use at the time for carrying on businesses for a taxable purpose from the use of that land (except a business of mining or quarrying).

    A rural land irrigation water provider’s deduction is reduced by a reasonable amount to reflect an entity’s use of the land for a non-taxable purpose after the water provider incurred the expenditure.

    A landcare operation is one of the following:

    1. erecting fences to separate different land classes in accordance with an approved land management plan
    2. erecting fences primarily and principally to keep animals out of areas affected by land degradation to prevent or limit further degradation and to help reclaim the areas
    3. constructing a levee or similar improvement
    4. constructing drainage works (other than the draining of swamp or low-lying land) primarily and principally to control salinity or assist in drainage control
    5. an operation primarily and principally for eradicating or exterminating animal pests from the land
    6. an operation primarily and principally for eradicating, exterminating or destroying plant growth detrimental to the land
    7. an operation primarily and principally for preventing or combating land degradation other than by erecting fences
    8. an extension, alteration or addition to any of the assets described in the first four points above or an extension of an operation described in the fifth to seventh points.

    The meaning of landcare operation was extended to apply to expenditure incurred on or after 1 July 2004 on:

    • a repair of a capital nature to an asset that is deductible under a landcare operation
    • constructing a structural improvement that is reasonably incidental to levees or drainage works deductible under a landcare operation
    • a repair of a capital nature, or an alteration, addition or extension, to a structural improvement that is reasonably incidental to levees (or similar improvements) or drainage works deductible under a landcare operation.

    An example of a structural improvement that may be reasonably incidental to drainage works is a fence constructed to prevent livestock entering a drain that was constructed to control salinity.

    Expenditure incurred on or after 1 July 2004 on a repair of a capital nature, or a change to a depreciating asset may be eligible for the deduction for landcare operations under the extended rules even though the pre 1 July 2004 expenditure on the asset itself is not eligible for the deduction under the rules before they were extended. This is because the repair or change to the asset is not treated as part of the asset under the extended rules, so the extended rules are separately applied to that repair or change.

    No deduction is available for landcare operations if the capital expenditure is on plant unless it is on certain fences, dams or other structural improvements. You work out the decline in value of plant not deductible under the landcare provisions using the general rules for working out decline in value; see Methods of working out decline in value.

    There are no specific balancing adjustment rules for a depreciating asset on which capital expenditure has been incurred that is deductible under the landcare provisions. That asset may, however, be considered part of the land for CGT purposes.

    If a levee is constructed primarily and principally for water conservation, it would be a water facility and no deduction would be allowable under these rules. You would need to work out its decline in value under the rules for water facilities; see Water facilities.

    If you are a rural land irrigation water provider and you can deduct expenditure under both the water facilities and landcare operation rules, you can only deduct the expenditure as expenditure on a water facility.

    You cannot deduct an amount for landcare operations if any entity can deduct an amount for that expenditure, in any income year, under the carbon sink forest rules; see Carbon sink forests.

    If the expenditure incurred arises from a non-arm’s length dealing and is more than the market value of what the expenditure was for, the amount of the expenditure is taken to be that market value instead.

    A recoupment of the expenditure may be included in your assessable income.

    The deduction is not available to a partnership. Costs incurred by a partnership are allocated to each partner who can claim a deduction for their share of the relevant capital expenditure.

    Capital expenditure on a landcare operation may be incurred on a depreciating asset. However, if the expenditure is deductible under these rules, you cannot use the general rules for working out decline in value or claim the immediate deduction for certain depreciating assets costing $300 or less.

    If you incur the capital expenditure on a depreciating asset and you are a primary producer and a small business entity, you can choose to work out your deductions for these depreciating assets using either the simplified depreciation rules or these UCA rules. For more information about the simplified depreciation rules, see Small business entities.

    Electricity connections and phone lines

    You may be able to claim a deduction over 10 years for capital expenditure you incur on:

    • connecting mains electricity to land on which a business is carried on for a taxable purpose or upgrading an existing connection to that land, or
    • a telephone line on, or extending to, land on which a primary production business is carried on.

    If the expenditure incurred arises from a non-arm’s length dealing and is more than the market value of what the expenditure was for, the amount of the expenditure is taken to be that market value instead.

    A recoupment of the expenditure may be included in your assessable income.

    These deductions are not available to a partnership. Costs incurred by a partnership are allocated to each partner who can claim a deduction for their share of the relevant capital expenditure.

    Such capital expenditure may be incurred on a depreciating asset. However, if the expenditure is deductible under these rules, you cannot use the general rules for working out decline in value or claim the immediate deduction for depreciating assets costing $300 or less.

    If you incur the capital expenditure on a depreciating asset and you are a primary producer and a small business entity, you can choose to work out your deductions for these depreciating assets using either the simplified depreciation rules or these UCA rules. For more information about the simplified depreciation rules, see Small business entities.

    There are no specific balancing adjustment rules for a depreciating asset on which capital expenditure has been incurred that is deductible under these rules. That asset may, however, be considered part of the land for CGT purposes.

    Environmental protection activities (EPA)

    You can claim an immediate deduction for expenditure that you incur for the sole or dominant purpose of carrying on EPA. EPA are activities undertaken to prevent, fight and remedy pollution, and to treat, clean up, remove and store waste from your earning activity or a site on which another entity carried on a business that you acquired and carry on substantially unchanged as your earning activity. Your earning activity is one you carried on, carry on or propose to carry on for one or more of these purposes:

    • producing assessable income (other than a net capital gain)
    • exploration or prospecting
    • mining site rehabilitation.

    You may also claim a deduction for expenditure on EPA relating to a site if the pollution or waste is caused by another entity to which you have leased or granted a right to use the site.

    The deduction is not available for:

    • EPA bonds and security deposits
    • expenditure on acquiring land
    • expenditure on constructing or altering buildings, structures or structural improvements
    • expenditure to the extent that you can deduct an amount for it under another provision.

    Expenditure on EPA that is also for an environmental impact assessment of your project is not deductible as expenditure on EPA. However, if it is capital expenditure directly connected with a project, it could be a project amount for which a deduction would be available over the project life; see Project pools.

    Expenditure that forms part of the cost of a depreciating asset is not deductible as expenditure on EPA if a deduction is available for the decline in value of the asset.

    A recoupment of the expenditure may be included in your assessable income.

    Note that expenditure incurred on or after 19 August 1992 on certain earthworks constructed as a result of carrying out EPA can be written off at a rate of 2.5% under the provisions for capital works expenditure.

    Mining and quarrying, and minerals transport

    From 1 July 2001, you work out deductions for the decline in value of depreciating assets used in mining and quarrying, and in minerals transport using the general rules; see Working out decline in value.

    However, the decline in value of a depreciating asset that you first use for exploration or prospecting for minerals (including petroleum), or quarry materials, obtainable by activities carried on for the purpose of producing assessable income, can be its cost. This means you can deduct the cost of the asset in the year in which you start to use it for such activities to the extent that the asset is used for a taxable purpose.

    An immediate deduction is available for payments of petroleum and mineral resource rent tax and for capital expenditure that does not form part of the cost of a depreciating asset and is incurred on:

    • exploration or prospecting for minerals (including petroleum), or quarry materials, obtainable by activities carried on for the purpose of producing assessable income, or
    • rehabilitation of your mining or quarrying sites.

    If the expenditure arises from a non-arm’s length dealing and is more than the market value of what the expenditure was for, the amount of the expenditure is taken to be that market value instead.

    A recoupment of the expenditure may be included in assessable income.

    Expenditure incurred after 30 June 2001 which does not form part of the cost of a depreciating asset and is not otherwise deductible may be a project amount that you can allocate to a project pool for which deductions are available. To be a project amount, mining capital expenditure or transport capital expenditure must be directly connected with carrying on the mining operations or business, respectively.

    Mining capital expenditure is capital expenditure you incur on:

    • carrying out eligible mining or quarrying operations
    • site preparation for those operations
    • necessary buildings and improvements for those operations
    • providing or contributing to the cost of providing water, light, power, access or communications to the site of those operations
    • buildings used directly for operating or maintaining plant for treating minerals or quarry materials
    • buildings and improvements for storing minerals or quarry materials before or after their treatment
    • certain housing and welfare (except for quarrying operations).

    Transport capital expenditure includes capital expenditure on:

    • a railway, road, pipeline, port or other facility used principally for transporting minerals, quarry materials or processed minerals (other than wholly within the site of mining operations) or the transport of petroleum in certain circumstances
    • obtaining a right to construct or install such a facility
    • compensation for damage or loss caused by constructing or installing such a facility
    • earthworks, bridges, tunnels or cuttings necessary for such a facility
    • contributions you make in carrying on business to someone else’s expenditure on the above items.

    For information on how to work out deductions using a project pool, see Project pools.

    Special transitional rules ensure that amounts of undeducted expenditure as at 30 June 2001 incurred under the former special provisions for the mining and quarrying and mineral transport industries remain deductible over the former statutory write-off periods, for example, over the lesser of 10 years and the life of the mine.

    Similarly, the former statutory write-off continues to apply to expenditure you incurred after 30 June 2001 if:

    • it would have qualified for deduction under the former special provisions

    and either:

    • it is a cost of a depreciating asset that you started to hold under a contract entered into before 1 July 2001 or otherwise started to hold or began to construct before that day, or
    • your expenditure was incurred under a contract entered into before 1 July 2001 and the expenditure does not relate to a depreciating asset.

    Eligible exploration or prospecting expenditure incurred after 30 June 2001 that is a cost of a depreciating asset that you started to hold under a contract entered into before 1 July 2001, or otherwise started to hold or began to construct before that day, is deductible at the time it is incurred.

    Project pools

    Under the UCA, you can allocate to a project pool certain capital expenditure incurred after 30 June 2001 that is directly connected with a project you carry on (or propose to carry on) for a taxable purpose, and write it off over the project life. Each project has a separate project pool.

    The project must be of sufficient substance and be sufficiently identified that it can be shown that the capital expenditure said to be a ‘project amount’ is directly connected with the project.

    A project is carried on if it involves some form of continuing activity. The holding of a passive investment such as a rental property would not have sufficient activity to constitute the carrying on of a project.

    The capital expenditure is known as a ‘project amount’ and is expenditure incurred:

    • to create or upgrade community infrastructure for a community associated with the project; this expenditure must be paid (not just incurred) to be a project amount
    • for site preparation costs for depreciating assets (other than draining swamp or low-lying land, or clearing land for horticultural plants)
    • for feasibility studies or environmental assessments for the project
    • to obtain information associated with the project
    • in seeking to obtain a right to intellectual property
    • for ornamental trees or shrubs.

    Mining capital expenditure and transport capital expenditure (see Mining and quarrying, and minerals transport) can also be a project amount that you can allocate to a project pool and for which you can claim a deduction.

    The expenditure must not be otherwise deductible or form part of the cost of a depreciating asset held by you.

    If the expenditure incurred arises from a non-arm’s length dealing and is more than the market value of what the expenditure was for, the amount of the expenditure is taken to be that market value instead.

    The deduction for project amounts allocated to a project pool begins when the project starts to operate. For projects that start on or after 10 May 2006 and that only contain project amounts incurred on or after 10 May 2006 the calculation is:

     pool value x 200% 
    DV project pool life

    For projects that started before 10 May 2006 the calculation is:

     pool value x 150% 
    DV project pool life

    The ‘DV project pool life’ is the project life of a project or the most recently recalculated project life of a project.

    Certain projects may be taken to have started to operate before 10 May 2006 (for example, when a project is abandoned and restarted on or after 10 May 2006 so that deductions can be calculated using the post 9 May 2006 formula).

    The pool value for an income year is, broadly, the sum of the project amounts allocated to the pool up to the end of that year less the sum of the deductions you have claimed for the pool in previous years (or could have claimed had the project operated wholly for a taxable purpose).

    The pool value can be subject to adjustments.

    If you are entitled to claim a GST input tax credit for expenditure allocated to a project pool, you reduce the pool value in the income year in which you are, or become, entitled to the credit by the amount of the credit. Certain increasing or decreasing adjustments for expenditure allocated to a project pool may also affect the pool value.

    If during any income year commencing after 30 June 2003 you met or otherwise ceased to have an obligation to pay foreign currency incurred as a project amount allocated to a project pool, a foreign currency gain or loss (referred to as a forex realisation gain or loss) may have arisen under the forex provisions. If the project amount was incurred after 30 June 2003 (or earlier, if you so elected) and became due for payment within 12 months after you incurred it, then the pool value for the income year you incurred the project amount is adjusted by the amount of any forex realisation gain or loss. This is known as ‘the 12-month rule’. You are able to elect out of the 12-month rule in limited circumstances (for more information, see Foreign exchange (forex): election out of the 12 month rule). If you have elected out of the 12-month rule, the pool value is not adjusted; instead, any forex realisation loss is generally deductible and any gain is included in assessable income.

    DV project pool life: You must estimate the project life of your project each year. The project life may not change, but reconsider the question each year. If your new estimate is different from the previous estimate, the DV project pool life you use in the formula is that new estimated project life, not the project life estimated the previous year.

    The project life is worked out by estimating how long (in years and fractions of years) it will be from when the project starts to operate until it stops operating. Factors that are personal only to you, such as how long you intend to carry on the project, are not relevant when objectively estimating project life. Factors outside your control, such as something inherent in the project itself, for example, a legislative or environmental restriction limiting the period of operation, would be relevant.

    If there is no finite project life, there is no project and therefore no deduction is available under these rules.

    There is no need to apportion the deduction if the project starts to operate during the income year, or for project amounts incurred during the income year.

    You reduce the deduction to the extent to which you operate the project for a non-taxable purpose during the income year.

    If the project is abandoned, sold or otherwise disposed of in the income year, you can deduct the sum of the closing pool value of the prior income year plus any project amounts allocated to the pool during the income year, after allowing for any necessary pool value adjustments. A project is abandoned if it stops operating and will not operate again.

    Your assessable income will include any amount received for the abandonment, sale or other disposal of a project.

    If you recoup an amount of expenditure allocated to a project pool or if you derive a capital amount for a project amount or something on which a project amount was expended, you must include the amount in assessable income.

    If any receipt arises from a non-arm’s length dealing and the amount is less than the market value of what the receipt was for, you are taken to have received that market value instead.

    Business related costs – section 40-880 deductions

    The UCA introduced a five-year write-off for seven specific types of business related capital expenditure incurred after 30 June 2001. Such expenditure, also known as blackhole expenditure, did not previously attract a deduction.

    As part of a new treatment for blackhole expenditure, new rules apply to business related capital expenditure incurred after 30 June 2005. Deductions are now allowable for a greater range of such expenditure, provided that no other provision either takes the expenditure into account or denies a deduction. Section 40-880 deductions are no longer limited to the seven specific types of expenditure that were previously deductible.

    Expenditure incurred after 30 June 2005 is deductible if you incur it:

    • for your business
    • for a business that used to be carried on, such as capital expenses incurred in order to cease the business
    • for a business proposed to be carried on, such as the costs of feasibility studies, market research or setting up the business entity
    • as a shareholder, beneficiary or partner to liquidate or deregister a company or to wind up a trust or partnership (and the company, trust or partnership has carried on a business).

    If you incur expenditure for your existing business, a business that you used to carry on or a business that you propose to carry on, the expenditure is deductible to the extent the business is, was or is proposed to be carried on for a taxable purpose.

    You cannot deduct expenditure for an existing business that is carried on by another entity. However, you can deduct expenditure you incur for a business that used to be, or is proposed to be, carried on by another entity. The expenditure is only deductible to the extent that:

    • the business was, or is proposed to be, carried on for a taxable purpose, and
    • the expenditure is in connection with your deriving assessable income from the business and the business that was carried on or is proposed to be carried on.

    A five-year straight-line write-off is allowed for certain capital expenditure incurred to terminate a lease or licence if the expenditure is incurred in the course of carrying on a business, or in connection with ceasing to carry on a business. See the details under Change 3 in the fact sheet Other-capital-expenses.

    If you are an individual operating either alone or in partnership, this deduction may be affected by the non-commercial loss rules; see Non-commercial losses  

    Example

    Ralph decides to start carrying on his existing business through a company. The business will continue to be carried on for a taxable purpose. Ralph will be the only shareholder of the company and he will be entitled to receive all the profits from the business. He incurs expenses to incorporate the existing business. Legally, Ralph and the company are separate entities. However, Ralph can deduct the incorporation expenses (subject to non-commercial loss rules). This is because the expenditure is in connection with the business proposed to be carried on by the company and the expenditure is in connection with his deriving assessable income from the business.

    End of example

    The extent to which a business is, was or is proposed to be carried on for a taxable purpose is worked out at the time the expenditure is incurred. For an existing business or a business proposed to be carried on, you need to take into account all known and predictable facts in all years.

    For a business to be ‘proposed to be’ carried on, you need to be able to sufficiently identify the business and there needs to be a commitment of some substance to commence the business. Examples of such a commitment are establishing business premises, investment in capital assets and development of a business plan. The commitment must be evident at the time the expenditure is incurred. It must also be reasonable to conclude that the business is proposed to be carried on within a reasonable time. This time may vary according to the industry or the nature of the business.

    The deduction cannot be claimed for capital expenditure to the extent to which it:

    • can be deducted under another provision
    • forms part of the cost of a depreciating asset you hold, used to hold or will hold
    • forms part of the cost of land
    • relates to a lease or other legal or equitable right
    • would be taken into account in working out an assessable profit or deductible loss
    • could be taken into account in working out a capital gain or a capital loss
    • would be specifically not deductible under the income tax laws if the expenditure was not capital expenditure
    • is specifically not deductible under the income tax laws for a reason other than the expenditure is capital expenditure
    • is of a private or domestic nature
    • is incurred for gaining or producing exempt income or non-assessable non-exempt income
    • is excluded from the cost or cost base of an asset because, under special rules in the UCA or CGT regimes respectively, the cost or cost base of the asset was taken to be the market value
    • is a return of or on capital (for example, dividends paid by companies or distributions by trustees) or a return of a non-assessable amount (for example, repayments of loan principal).

    If the expenditure arises from a non-arm’s length dealing and is more than the market value of what the expenditure was for, the amount of the expenditure is taken to be that market value instead.

    You deduct 20% of the expenditure in the year you incur it and in each of the following four years.

    Even if the business ceases or the proposed business does not commence (for example, if there is an unforeseen change in circumstances) the deduction may be able to be claimed over the five years. Deductions for expenditure for a proposed business can be claimed before the business is carried on. However, if you are an individual taxpayer, the non-commercial loss rules may defer your deductions for pre- and post-business expenditure; see Non-commercial losses.

    A recoupment of the expenditure may be included in your assessable income.

    Small business entities

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    From the 2007–08 income year the simplified tax system provisions have been replaced with new streamlined provisions for small business entities. The concessions that were available under the simplified tax system have, in effect, carried over to the new rules. This means that you can gain access to the concessions that were previously available to you as a simplified tax system taxpayer if you meet the new small business eligibility criteria.

    For more information, see Small business entity concessions  

    Eligibility

    You are eligible to be a small business entity for an income year if:

    • you carry on a business in that year, and
    • you have an aggregated turnover of less than $2 million.

    Similarly to the previous grouping rules that existed under the former simplified tax system, the new aggregation rules use the concepts of ‘connected with’ (which is based on control) and ‘affiliates’ to determine whether the turnover of any related businesses need to be included in the aggregated turnover of your business.

    It is not necessary to specifically elect to be an eligible small business each year in order to access the concessions. However, you must assess your eligibility for the concessions each year.

    Simplified depreciation rules

    If you are an eligible small business you may choose to calculate deductions for your depreciating assets using these rules.

    In general, the taxable purpose proportions of the adjustable values and second element of cost amounts of most:

    • depreciating assets costing less than $6,500 each can be written off immediately
    • other depreciating assets are pooled in a general small business pool and deducted at the rate of 30%
    • newly acquired assets are deducted at 15% (half the pool rate) in the first year, regardless of when they were acquired during the year.
    • the threshold at which a small business can write-off the total balance of the general small business pool is aligned with the instant write-off threshold of $6,500.

    The taxable purpose proportion is your reasonable estimate of the proportion you will use, or have installed ready for use, a particular depreciating asset for a taxable purpose.

    There are also special rules for motor vehicles, see Special motor vehicle depreciation rules.

    Simplified depreciation

    If a small business entity chooses to stop using the simplified depreciation concession, it cannot again choose to use that concession until at least five years after the income year in which it chose to stop using that concession.

    If you are eligible, and choose to continue to use the simplified depreciation rules, you will continue to include any new depreciating assets in the relevant pool. If you choose not to use the simplified depreciation rules you cannot add any new assets to those pools. You can alternatively account for those assets under the UCA rules.

    For more information, see Small business entity concessions.

    Special motor vehicle depreciation rules

    For eligible motor vehicles acquired in 2012-13 and subsequent income years, small business entities are able to claim an accelerated initial deduction.

    If an eligible motor vehicle is acquired, you can choose to claim an immediate deduction up to $5,000 in the year you start to use the motor vehicle, or have it installed ready for use, for a taxable purpose. The remainder of the purchase cost is then depreciated as part of the general small business pool at 15% in the first year and 30% in later years.

    An eligible motor vehicle is generally any motor powered road vehicle (including four wheel drive vehicles). However it does not include road vehicles that are not used on public roads, or only travel on public roads as a secondary function to their main use. An eligible motor vehicle can be purchased new or second-hand.

    Examples of eligible motor vehicles include:

    • cars
    • trucks
    • vans
    • utilities
    • motorbikes
    • scooters.

    Examples of motor vehicles that are not eligible include:

    • road rollers
    • graders
    • tractors
    • combine harvesters
    • earthmoving equipment
    • trailers.

    Example: The main function of a motor vehicle is related to public use

    Adam and John own a civil engineering business that is a small business entity. They purchase a truck and a mini excavator. The truck is a road vehicle and its main function is to transport soil to and from work sites. The mini excavator is used to dig and move soil around work sites. Occasionally the mini excavator travels small distances on public roads between work sites, however this is secondary to its main purpose. In these circumstances, the truck is a motor vehicle that can be written off under the special small business motor vehicle depreciation rules, but the mini excavator is not.

    End of example

    Small businesses cannot use these rules if they are entitled to write off the cost of a motor vehicle immediately using the instant asset write-off rules because the vehicle cost less than $6,500, see Simplified depreciation rules.

    Motor vehicles that are not subject to instant asset write-off rules are allocated to the general small business pool in the start year. Once in the pool, the deduction available in the start year will depend on the amount of the taxable purpose proportion of the adjustable value of the motor vehicle.

    However, if in the start year, a motor vehicle is added to the general small business pool that has a low value (that is, the deduction that can be claimed for the pool is less than $6,500, but more than zero), then the deduction is claimed under the general small business pool rules rather than the special motor vehicle depreciation rules. See Simplified depreciation rules.

    Example: the amount of the deduction for the general small business pool is less than $6,500 in the start year

    Hans' Florist is a small business entity that buys a $7,000 second hand van in the 2012-13 income year for flower deliveries. The van is only used for business purposes. In the same year, Hans' Florist sells a large display refrigerator for $1,700. The opening pool balance for the year was $1,000. Hans' Florist works out the deduction for the general small business pool as follows:

    $1,000 + $7,000 = $8,000 - $1,700 = $6,300

    Hans' Florist can claim a deduction for the general small business pool of $6,300, writing off the entire value of the pool. The deductions for the motor vehicle are included in the $6,300 deduction for the general small business pool and no further deductions are available for the van.

    End of example

    Assets for which deductions are claimed under the UCA

    For some depreciating assets, deductions must be claimed under the UCA rather than under the simplified depreciation rules:

    • assets that are leased out, or are expected to be leased out, for more than 50% of the time on a depreciating asset lease*
    • assets allocated to a low-value or a common-rate pool before you started to use the simplified depreciation rules (those assets must remain in the pool and deductions must be claimed under the UCA)
    • horticultural plants, and
    • in-house software where the development expenditure is allocated to a software development pool; see Software development pools.

    * This does not apply to depreciating assets subject to hire purchase agreements, or short-term hire agreements on an intermittent hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis where there is no substantial continuity of hiring.

    Depreciating assets used in rental properties are generally excluded from the simplified depreciation rules on the basis that they are subject to a depreciating asset lease.

    Capital expenditure deductible under the UCA

    As the simplified depreciation rules apply only to depreciating assets, certain capital expenditure incurred by a small business entity that does not form part of the cost of a depreciating asset may be deducted under the UCA rules for deducting capital expenditure.

    This includes capital expenditure on certain business related costs and amounts directly connected with a project.

    In-house software

    Under the UCA, you can choose to allocate to a software development pool expenditure you incur in developing (or having another entity develop) in-house software you intend to use solely for a taxable purpose. Once you allocate expenditure on such software to a pool, you must allocate all such expenditure incurred thereafter (in that year or in a later year) to a pool; see Software development pools.

    If you have allocated such expenditure to a software development pool either before or since using the simplified depreciation rules, you must continue to allocate such expenditure to a software development pool and calculate your deductions under the UCA.

    If you:

    • have not previously allocated such expenditure to a software development pool and you choose not to do so this year, or
    • incur the expenditure in developing in-house software that you do not intend using solely for a taxable purpose,

    then you can capitalise it into the cost of the unit of software developed and claim deductions for the unit of in-house software under the simplified depreciation rules when you start to use it (or install it ready for use) for a taxable purpose. Its decline in value can then be worked out using an effective life of four years (if you started to hold the in-house software under a contract entered into after 7.30 PM AEST on 13 May 2008 or otherwise started to hold it after that day) and the prime cost method.

    Deductions for in-house software acquired off the shelf by a small business entity for use in their business are available under the simplified depreciation rules. For example, such an item costing less than $6,500 will qualify for an outright deduction.

    Primary producers

    A small business entity can choose to claim deductions under either the simplified depreciation rules or the UCA for certain depreciating assets used in the course of carrying on a business of primary production. The choice is available for water facilities and for depreciating assets relating to landcare operations, electricity connections and phone lines.

    You can choose to claim your deductions under the simplified depreciation rules or the UCA for each depreciating asset. Once you have made the choice, it cannot be changed.

    Record keeping

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    You must keep the following information for a depreciating asset:

    • the first and second elements of cost
    • the opening adjustable value for the income year
    • any adjustments made to cost or adjustable value
    • the date you started holding the asset and its start time
    • the rate or effective life used to work out the decline in value
    • the method used to work out the decline in value
    • the amount of your deduction for the decline in value and any reduction for use of the asset for a non-taxable purpose
    • the adjustable value at the end of the income year
    • any recoupment of cost you have included in assessable income, and
    • if a balancing adjustment event occurs for the asset during the year, the date of the balancing adjustment event, termination value, adjustable value at that time, the balancing adjustment amount, any reduction of the balancing adjustment amount and details of any rollover or balancing adjustment relief.

    You must also keep:

    • details of how you worked out the effective life of a depreciating asset where you have not adopted the effective life determined by the Commissioner
    • if you have recalculated the effective life of an asset, the date of the recalculation, the recalculated effective life, the reason for the recalculation and details of how you worked out the recalculated effective life, and
    • original documents such as suppliers’ invoices and receipts for expenditure on the depreciating asset.

    Additional record-keeping requirements apply if you acquire an asset from an associate or if you acquire a depreciating asset but the user is the same or is an associate of the former user; see Depreciating asset acquired from an associate and Sale and leaseback arrangements.

    Failure to keep proper records will attract penalties.

    Record keeping for low-value pools

    For depreciating assets in a low-value pool, you need to keep the following details (some details relate to the assets and some to the pool):

    • the start time of assets in the pool and the date you started holding them
    • the closing pool balance at the end of the previous income year
    • any second elements of cost incurred for the income year for assets in the pool at the end of the previous income year
    • the opening adjustable value of any low-value assets you have allocated to the pool for the income year
    • the first element of cost of any low-cost assets allocated to the pool for the income year
    • the second element of cost of low-cost assets and low-value assets allocated to the pool for the income year
    • the taxable use percentage of each amount added to the pool for the income year
    • the termination value and taxable use percentage for any assets in the pool in respect of which a balancing adjustment event occurred during the income year and the date of the balancing adjustment event
    • the closing pool balance
    • the decline in value
    • any amount included in assessable income because the taxable use percentage of the termination value exceeds the closing pool balance, and
    • any recoupment of cost you have included in assessable income.

    Because a capital gain or capital loss may arise when a balancing adjustment event occurs:

    • for a depreciating asset which you expect to use for a non-taxable purpose, or
    • for a depreciating asset which you have allocated to a low-value pool and expect to use for a non-taxable purpose

    then you must keep the following information:

    • the first and second elements of cost
    • the termination value, and
    • the taxable use percentage.

    Generally, records relating to a depreciating asset allocated to a low-value pool must be retained for a period of five years starting from the end of the income year in which the asset is allocated to the pool. However, there are two exceptions.

    1. If an amount is included in the second element of an asset’s cost after the asset is allocated to a low-value pool, the records of the cost must be retained for a period of five years from the time the expenditure is incurred.
    2. Records of acquisitions relating to delayed claims for GST input tax credits must be retained for at least five years after lodgment. Therefore, if a claim for input tax credits relates to a depreciating asset in a low-value pool, the record of acquisition may need to be retained for a period of five years which begins later than the end of the income year in which the asset is allocated to the pool.

    Record keeping for rollover relief

    If automatic rollover relief applies (see Rollover relief) the transferor must give the transferee a notice containing enough information for the transferee to work out how the UCA rules apply to the transferee’s holding of the depreciating asset. Generally, this needs to be done within six months after the end of the transferee’s income year in which the balancing adjustment event occurred. The transferee must keep a copy of the notice for five years after the asset is:

    • disposed of, or
    • lost or destroyed

    whichever happens earlier.

    If a transferor and transferee jointly choose rollover relief, the decision must be in writing and must contain enough information for the transferee to work out how the UCA rules apply to the transferee’s holding of the depreciating asset. Generally, the choice needs to be made within six months after the end of the transferee’s income year in which the balancing adjustment event occurred. The transferor must keep a copy of the agreement for five years after the balancing adjustment event occurred. The transferee must keep a copy for five years after the next balancing adjustment event that occurs for the asset.

    Definitions

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    The most commonly used UCA terms are explained here. A comparison of some of the UCA terms with those used in the former depreciation rules is provided in the table below:

    Former depreciation rules

    UCA

    Plant

    Depreciating asset

    Own

    Hold

    Cost

    First and second elements of cost

    Luxury car limit

    Car limit

    Income-producing use

    Taxable purpose

    Depreciation

    Decline in value

    Undeducted cost

    Adjustable value

    Adjustable value: A depreciating asset’s adjustable value at a particular time is its cost (first and second elements) less any decline in value up to that time.

    The opening adjustable value of an asset for an income year is generally the same as its adjustable value at the end of the previous income year.

    Balancing adjustment amount: The balancing adjustment amount is the difference between the termination value and the adjustable value of a depreciating asset at the time of a balancing adjustment event.

    If an asset’s termination value is greater than its adjustable value, the difference is generally an assessable balancing adjustment amount.

    If the termination value is less than the adjustable value, the difference is generally a deductible balancing adjustment amount.

    Balancing adjustment event: Generally, a balancing adjustment event occurs for a depreciating asset if you stop holding it (for example, if you sell it) or you stop using it and you expect never to use it again.

    Car limit: If the first element of cost of a car exceeds the car limit for the financial year in which you start to hold it, that first element of cost is generally reduced to the car limit. The car limit for 2012–13 is $57,466.

    Decline in value: Deductions for the cost of a depreciating asset are based on the decline in value.

    For most depreciating assets, you have the choice of two methods to work out the decline in value of a depreciating asset: the prime cost method or the diminishing value method; see Methods of working out decline in value.

    Depreciating asset: A depreciating asset is an asset that has a limited effective life and can reasonably be expected to decline in value over the time it is used.

    Some assets are specifically excluded from the definition of depreciating asset; see What is a depreciating asset?

    Effective life: Generally, the effective life of a depreciating asset is how long it can be used by any entity for a taxable purpose or for the purpose of producing exempt income or non-assessable non-exempt income:

    • having regard to the wear and tear from your expected circumstances of use
    • assuming it will be maintained in reasonably good order and condition, and
    • having regard to the period within which it is likely to be scrapped, sold for no more than scrap value or abandoned.

    First element of cost: The first element of cost is, broadly, the amount paid (money or the market value of property given) or the amount taken to have been paid to hold the asset. It also includes amounts incurred after 30 June 2005 that are taken to have been paid for starting to hold the asset. The amounts must be directly connected with holding the asset.

    Holder: Only a holder of a depreciating asset may deduct an amount for its decline in value. In most cases, the legal owner of a depreciating asset will be its holder; see Who can claim deductions for the decline in value of a depreciating asset?

    Indexation: Indexation is a methodology used in calculating a cost for capital gains tax for depreciating assets acquired before 21 September 1999 that have been used partly for a private purpose.

    Second element of cost: The second element of cost is, broadly, the amount paid (money or the market value of property given) or the amount taken to have been paid to bring the asset to its present condition and location at any time, such as the cost incurred to improve the asset. It also includes expenses incurred after 30 June 2005 on a balancing adjustment event occurring for the asset, such as advertising or commission expenses.

    Start time: A depreciating asset’s start time is generally when you first use it (or install it ready for use) for any purpose, including a private purpose.

    Taxable purpose: A taxable purpose is the purpose of producing assessable income, the purpose of exploration or prospecting, the purpose of mining site rehabilitation, or environmental protection activities.

    Termination value: Generally, the termination value is what you receive or are taken to receive for an asset as a result of a balancing adjustment event, such as the proceeds from selling an asset.

    Guidelines for using the depreciating assets worksheet

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    The depreciating assets worksheet

    Primary production only and Non-primary production only: Use a separate worksheet for each category.

    Cost: The cost of a depreciating asset includes the first and second elements of cost. You must adjust the cost of an asset in certain circumstances, such as when the first element of a car’s cost exceeds the car limit. If you have adjusted the cost of the asset, include the adjusted cost in this column; see The cost of a depreciating asset.

    Opening adjustable value and Adjustable value at end of year: The adjustable value of a depreciating asset at any time is its cost reduced by any decline in value up to that time. The opening adjustable value of an asset for an income year is generally the same as its adjustable value at the end of the previous income year.

    Balancing adjustment events: Generally, a balancing adjustment event occurs for a depreciating asset when you stop holding it (for example, if you sell it) or when you stop using it and you expect never to use it again; see What happens if you no longer hold or use a depreciating asset?

    Termination value: Generally, the termination value is what you receive or are taken to have received for the asset as a result of a balancing adjustment event, such as the proceeds from selling the asset; see Termination value.

    Balancing adjustment amounts: If the asset’s termination value is greater than its adjustable value, the excess is generally an assessable balancing adjustment amount. If the termination value is less than the adjustable value, the difference is a deductible balancing adjustment amount. If you use the asset for a non-taxable purpose, you reduce the balancing adjustment amount and a capital gain or capital loss may arise; see Depreciating asset used for a non-taxable purpose.

    Balancing adjustment relief: This refers to the offsetting of otherwise assessable balancing adjustment amounts for involuntary disposals (see Involuntary disposal of a depreciating asset) or when rollover relief applies; see Rollover relief.

    Decline in value: There are two methods of working out the decline in value of a depreciating asset, prime cost and diminishing value; see Methods of working out decline in value.

    Effective life and Percentage rate: Both the prime cost and diminishing value methods are based on a depreciating asset’s effective life; see Effective life. However, if you are able to use accelerated rates of depreciation (see Accelerated depreciation) you use the relevant percentage rate to work out the decline in value rather than the effective life.

    A list of accelerated rates is provided; see Accelerated rates of depreciation.

    Taxable use percentage: This is the proportion of your use of a particular depreciating asset for a taxable purpose.

    Deduction for decline in value: Your deduction for the decline in value of the asset is the decline in value reduced to the extent you used the asset for a non-taxable purpose; see Decline in value of a depreciating asset used for a non-taxable purpose. Your deduction may also be reduced if the asset is a leisure facility or a boat.

    Examples of effective lives from Taxation Ruling TR 2012/2 (from 1 July 2012)

    Depreciating asset

    Effective life
    in years

    Carpets

     

    • in commercial office buildings

     

    8

    • in ten-pin bowling centres

     

    4

    Computers

     

    • generally

     

    4

    • laptops

     

    3

    Curtains and drapes

    6

    Fire extinguishers

    15

    Hot water installations for commercial office buildings (excluding commercial boilers and piping)

    15

    Lawn mower

     

    • motor

     

    6 2/3

    • self-propelled

     

    5

    Library (professional)

    10

    Motor vehicles

     

    • cars generally

     

    8

    • hire and travellers’ cars

     

    5

    • taxis

     

    4

    • motorcycles and scooters

     

    6 2/3

    Office machines and equipment

     

    • photocopying machines

     

    5

    Point of sale assets

     

    • cash registers, stand-alone type

     

    10

    Power tools (hand operated, air or electric)

    5

    Power tools (hand operated, battery)

    3

    Television receivers

     

    • generally
     

    10

    Tools (loose)

    5

    Vacuum cleaners (electric)

    10

    Accelerated rates of depreciation

    You only use the tables below if you are able to use accelerated depreciation; see Accelerated depreciation. You use the rate that corresponds to the effective life of the item of plant. The following tables show the appropriate rates.

    For most general items of plant the accelerated rates are as follows (note that the first four categories are unlikely to apply for currently held items as the rates only apply to items acquired before 1 July 2001 with an effective life of less than seven years):

    Effective life in years

    Prime cost rate %

    Diminishing value rate %

    Less than 3

    100

    3 to less than 5

    40

    60

    5 to less than 6 2/3

    27

    40

    6 2/3 to less than 10

    20

    30

    10 to less than 13

    17

    25

    13 to less than 30

    13

    20

    30 or more

    7

    10

    For most cars and motorcycles the following rates apply (note that the first four categories are unlikely to apply for currently held cars and motorcycles as the rates only apply to items acquired before 1 July 2001 with an effective life of less than seven years):

    Effective life in years

    Prime cost rate %

    Diminishing value rate %

    Less than 3

    100

    3 to less than 5

    33

    50

    5 to less than 6 2/3

    20

    30

    6 2/3 to less than 10

    15

    22.5

    10 to less than 13

    10

    15

    13 to less than 20

    8

    11.25

    20 to less than 40

    5

    7.5

    40 or more

    3

    3.75

    Guidelines for using the low-value pool worksheet

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    The low-value pool worksheet.

    Description of low-value asset: In this column include a brief description of any low-value assets you allocated to the pool for the current year. A low-value asset is a depreciating asset (other than a horticultural plant) that is not a low-cost asset but that has an opening adjustable value of less than $1,000 worked out using the diminishing value method.

    Opening adjustable value of low-value asset: The adjustable value of any depreciating asset at any time is its cost (first and second elements) reduced by any decline in value up to that time. The opening adjustable value of an asset for an income year is generally the adjustable value at the end of the previous income year.

    Taxable use percentage: When you allocate an asset to a low-value pool, you must make a reasonable estimate of the percentage of your use of the asset that will be for a taxable purpose over its effective life (for a low-cost asset) or its effective life remaining at the start of the income year it was allocated to the pool (for a low-value asset).

    Reduced opening adjustable value of low-value asset: This is the taxable use percentage of the opening adjustable value of any low-value asset you have allocated to the pool for the income year.

    Description of low-cost asset or second element of cost of asset in pool: In this column include a brief description of any low-cost assets you allocated to the pool for the income year. A low-cost asset is a depreciating asset (other than a horticultural plant) whose cost (first and second elements) as at the end of the year in which the start time occurred is less than $1,000. Also show in this column a description of any amounts included in the second element of cost of any assets in the pool at the end of the previous year and of any low-value assets allocated for this year. The second element of an asset’s cost is capital expenditure on the asset which is incurred after you start to hold it, such as a cost of improving the asset; see The cost of a depreciating asset.

    Cost of low-cost asset and Second element of cost: Include the cost after you have made any adjustments, such as for GST input tax credits; see The cost of a depreciating asset.

    Reduced cost of low-cost asset or second element of cost: This is the taxable use percentage multiplied by:

    • the cost of each low-cost asset you allocated to the pool for the income year
    • any amounts included in the second element of cost for the income year for  
      • assets in the pool at the end of the previous year
      • low-value assets which you allocated to the pool in the current income year.
       

    Balancing adjustment events: Generally, a balancing adjustment event occurs for a depreciating asset if you stop holding it (for example, if you sell it) or you stop using it and you expect never to use it again; see What happens if you no longer hold or use a depreciating asset?

    Termination value: Generally, the termination value is what you receive or are taken to have received for the asset as a result of a balancing adjustment event, such as the proceeds from selling the asset; see Termination value.

    Reduced termination value: This is the taxable use percentage of the asset’s termination value. Use the taxable use percentage you estimated when you allocated the asset to the pool. This reduced termination value decreases the amount of the closing pool balance. If it exceeds the amount of the closing pool balance, make that balance zero and include the excess in assessable income. If you use the asset for a non-taxable purpose, a capital gain or capital loss may arise when a balancing adjustment event occurs for the asset; see Balancing adjustment event for a depreciating asset in a low-value pool.

    Worksheet 1: Depreciating assets

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    Download worksheet 1: Depreciating assets (PDF, 124KB) here.

    Worksheet 2: Low-value pool

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    Download worksheet 2: Low-value pool (PDF, 121KB) here.

    More information

    Attention

    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

    End of attention

    Publications

    To get any publication referred to in this guide:

    Phone

    We can offer a more personalised service if you provide a tax file number (TFN).

    • Individual 13 28 61
      Individual income tax and general personal tax enquiries, including capital gains tax.
    • Business 13 28 66
      Information about business income tax, fringe benefits tax (FBT), fuel tax credits (FTC), goods and services tax (GST), pay as you go (PAYG) and activity statements, including lodgment and payment, accounts and business registration (including Australian business number and tax file number), and dividend and royalty withholding tax.
    • Superannuation 13 10 20

    Other services

    If you do not speak English well and need help from us, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50.

    If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, phone us through the National Relay Service (NRS) on the numbers listed below, and ask for the ATO number you need:

    • TTY users, phone 13 36 77. For ATO 1800 free call numbers, phone 1800 555 677.
    • Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) users, phone 1300 555 727. For ATO 1800 free call numbers, phone 1800 555 727.
    • Internet relay users, connect to the NRS at relayservice.com.auExternal Link
      Last modified: 04 Mar 2016QC 28182