1. Is your Quantity Surveyor a member of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS)?
The AIQS is our industry body and thay assist their members to keep on top of the ATO rules. To find out whether your QS is a member click here, Then go to “Find a Member” and click on the Business Register. If your QS isn’t there, it should ring a few alarm bells.
2. Is your Quantity Surveyor a Tax Agent?
On March 1, 2010, the new Tax Agent Services regime came into effect. All people doing Depreciation Schedules need to be registered as Tax Agents. And not all of the people currently doing them will make the grade. We’ll be pleased to see some of the dodgy providers getting chased out of the industry.
The fact that all providers from July 1, 2011 need Professional Indemnity insurance will chase more people out. (We’ve had PI insurance since we started.)
3. Does your Quantity Surveyor specialize in tax work?
Many QSs turn their hands to tax work during the tax season, but because it is not their core business they are sometimes not up to date with the current rules. Many of the Tax Depreciation Schedules produced each year will not pass an ATO audit and you need to remember that you are liable for any errors – you are the ATO’s client, not the QS.
4. Will your property be inspected by an ‘appropriately qualified person’?
Some quantity surveying companies are taking short cuts by using untrained people to carry out cursory inspections and gather information. This information is then sent to a QS to cost up (or in one case it is sent interstate for a data entry operator to punch into an Excell program). The ATO and the AIQS frown upon this practice. Sure, these companies may produce cheaper schedules, but is it worth the risk? And if you have questions after you get your Schedule, you will get much better answers if the person who inspected the property is the person who works out the costs. Also, if your property is being inspected by an appropriately qualified person, you should NOT have to provide plans.
5. Will your Depreciation Schedule be complete?
It seems like a silly question, but we’ve seen a few one pagers that only give the first year’s depreciation – our Schedules run for 20 years. We’ve seen Depreciation Schedules that only provide one method of depreciation. And we’ve seen lots that don’t include the Low Value Pool as an option.
6. Can your accountant extract information from the Schedule easily?
More than 60% of our work comes to us from accountants. That’s because those accountants know that we provide them with a document that has exactly what they need i.e. the construction cost at the time of construction and a written-down value of the Assets as of the first available to lease date. You would be amazed at the number of Depreciation Schedules that give Asset values that accountants need to fiddle with – and guess who pays for that.
7. Does your QS service the entire country?
Now, this might not be a consideration for your first property. But what if you buy another one? It will be handy if you don’t have to go hunting for another Depreciation Schedule provider. We can just open another job under your existing profile, give you a discount for coming back to us, and we’re off and running.
8. Can your QS handle volume?
You’re not likely to be requesting dozens of Depreciation Schedules at once, but during tax season, things can get pretty busy for the companies that do this work. Last tax season, we heard that one company was quoting an 8 week turnaround time and then not even meeting that promise. During the quiet season, our turnaround time is 2-3 weeks. During the busy season it’s 2-4 weeks. But if you tell us it’s urgent, and if your tenant cooperates, we can often turn job round in less than a week.
9. Can your QS answer your questions about the finished Depreciation Schedule?
This is something that few people think about before they order a Depreciation Schedule. Let’s say it’s the first time you’ve seen a Depreciation Schedule. Chances are you may need a few clues on how to read it – even though we’ve made it as straightforward as possible. Just call 1300 66 00 33 and the person you speak will probably be able to answer your questions. If you’ve gone with a cheap supplier and your only contact number is a mobile, good luck with getting a bunch of questions answered.
Or let’s say you have a query about the value ascribed to certain items. Who will you talk to if the person who visited the property wasn’t the person who put the costs together? We’ve heard of one of the companies that operate this way just not returning calls. They figure they’ve done the job, got your money, and that’s that.
10. What if I want to amend my Depreciation Schedule?
Right now, the last thing you want to think about is spending more money on your rental property, but there are some things you can’t avoid. Chances are in the first couple of years you might to replace a hot water heater, or a stove, or maybe some carpet. If that happens, your depreciation Schedule needs to be changed. If it’s only a couple of items, we can do this free of charge and get the revised Schedule to you the next day. If it’s a bigger renovation, we have a Self Assist facility where you can amend your own Schedule – provided it’s one that we have done.
(As a parting shot, we always smile when we hear those companies offering a ‘Lifetime Schedule’ because the inference there is that your property will never, ever need any improvements.)
To find out how Depreciator represents genuine value, call us NOW on 1300 66 00 33 or email us at email@example.com.