Personal finances, Savings and Economic - Your money

Tax deductions for cars rev up but speed bumps are ahead

MOTORISTS have been accelerating their efforts to grab a bigger tax refund, increasing their deduction claims for car expenses almost 30 per cent in just five years.

But tax deductions rule changes to be introduced this year mean that many will face a cut to what they can claim.

New Australian Taxation Office data shows more than 3.2 million individuals claimed almost $8.6 billion of work-related car expenses for the 2014 financial year, up from $6.66 billion in 2009.

H & R Block director of tax communications Mark Chapman said the rise in deductions reflected changing work patterns.

These days people are a lot more mobile in the way they work, he said. The days of going to an office and working nine to five sitting at a desk are largely gone.

The ATO has scrapped two of the four methods it allowed for claiming work-related vehicle deductions, leaving only the simple cents per kilometre calculation and the comprehensive logbook approach.

It has also reduced the cents per kilometre rate to 66c for all cars. Previously people with engines larger than 1.6 litres could claim 76c or 77c per kilometre.

An ATO spokesman said the changes were part of the 2014-15 Federal Budget.

Taxpayers need to be aware of these changes as it may affect how they claim for their car expenses, he said.

For example, it may be of greater benefit to claim under the logbook method than the cents per kilometre method, which is limited to a claim for 5000km of travel.

Mr Chapman said the change in the cents per kilometre allowance would hit the many motorists with larger cars, and their only alternative now was to use the logbook method.

The logbook is quite arduous, which is why its good you only have to keep it for 12 weeks once every five years.

The end of financial year is approaching quickly, so now is the time to act.

If you want an easy life the thing to do is to claim the cents per kilometre, but you can only do it if you claim up to 5000km, Mr Chapman said.

However, if you have more than one vehicle you can claim that 5000km per vehicle.

It can be a pain to keep a logbook but it does generally pay off in the long run. If using the logbook method you can claim depreciation.

This pullenvale home has 180 degree views of the green valley and surrounds

260 Old Farm Rd, Pullenvale

Offering stunning 180-degree views of the green valley and surrounds, this resort-style property named Pindari sits on a vast 1ha site orientated towards the vistas.

Contemporary interiors featuring high ceilings and quality fittings enhance the four-bedroom property, which extends over a single level and has a flowing indoor to outdoor design.

A long winding driveway amid established gardens leads to the entrance, and inside, a hallway to the main living hub. Here, lounge, kitchen and dining spaces sit in an open-plan configuration with pristine white tones and imported Italian floor tiles, complemented by rich timber accents.

From the living area, a set of timber and glass bi-fold doors open to bring the outdoors in, giving way to a terrace with space for dining and entertainment. The kitchen, also containing bi-fold doors to the terrace, has imported South American granite benchtops, ample white cabinetry, a walk-in pantry and a suite of stainless steel European appliances.

Also in the main house are three bedrooms, each containing a built-in wardrobe. One includes an ensuite, while the two others share a bathroom with separate shower and bathtub.

The main bedroom is accessed via a corridor, proving peace and privacy from the rest of the residence. With its ensuite, walk-in wardrobe, and glass sliding doors to a private pavilion, terrace and custom-built infinity-edged pool, the space evokes luxury and comfort.

Further highlights of this expansive property include a double garage, water features, a machinery shed and an orchard, as well as gently undulating green lawns and tropical gardens.

Selling agent Reuben Packer-Hill said Pindari was simply remarkable.

Designed by architect Phil Quayle, this resort-style residence exhibits picturesque surroundings and breathtaking 180-degree valley views, he said.

Private and tranquil, the property is enhanced by tireless, north to east sweeping valley views, alfresco entertaining spaces, luxuriant garden rooms and a custom wet-edge horizon pool.

Mr Packer-Hill said the prestigious acreage was a short drive to local schools. Guardian Sans Bold