Taxes and property go hand in hand – much to the chagrin of those liable to pay it. Luckily, there are some very real benefits to be had if you understand the property tax system and how best to manage your investment. “Having a clear understanding of the costs and benefits involved in buying a property is the logical first step,” explains Pearl Scheltema, CEO of Fitzanne Estates and an industry veteran, with more than three decades of real estate experience.
The real costs of buying property
All properties valued at more than R1-million are subject to transfer fees, legal and agency fees, and municipal costs. For investors buying buy-to-let properties, however, it’s also important to consider the cost implications.
Rental income: The rent collected from an investment property makes up part of the owners’ income and, as such, is taxable income.
Capital Gains Tax: This is the tax payable on any profits made from your investment. For owners of primary residences, there is an exemption for properties valued at up to R2-million.
“Having a property in a trust is typically a good way to spread the income you derive from an investment property, meaning your overall tax rate tends to be lower than if you were to buy as an individual,” explains Scheltema. And there’s more good news!
Making your property work for you
Property investors have several avenues at their disposal to leverage their real estate income and reduce tax liabilities. “Being smart with your property admin and understanding the implication of each action goes a long way in protecting your investment,” says Scheltema.
The following costs associated with owning a property are tax-deductible and can off-set the income derived from rentals and eventual selling of the property. Keep a clear record of these expenses to ensure your tax season is as painless as possible: Rates and taxes; bond interest; advertisements; agency fees; homeowner’s insurance; garden and repair services; and security and property levies.
These are considered maintenance and running costs that keep your property in a consistent state. “It’s important to note that costs associated with improving or upgrading an investment property cannot be tax deductible, as this inherently adds value to your portfolio,” Scheltema clarifies.
There’s also much to be said for choosing the right area to invest in. Those in the market for investment opportunities would be well-served looking at Urban Development Zones (UDZ), as these can also offer considerable savings. When investing in UDZ, ensure you have the necessary documentation and follow all necessary steps laid out by SARS, as failing to do so would forfeit any tax savings.
Finally, those with larger property portfolios stand to benefit from an allowance of up to 5% of their purchase price. This is valid for investors who own a minimum of five unused, new South African rental properties.
With so many things to consider, you want a team of property advisors who know what they’re doing. Fitzanne Estates are ready to do just that, with a team of professionals well-versed in the necessary documentation and regulations, ensuring you get the most from your investment.
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More about Fitzanne Estates
Fitzanne Estates (Pty) Ltd is a Property Management Company who can sufficiently administer your property investment to the benefit of the Landlord, the Body Corporate and the NPC – Non-Profit Company. Services include Letting, Sectional Title Management, Full Title Management (NPC – Non-Profit Company) and Sales.