IT’S GETTING close to the end of the financial year, so it’s time to take advantage of the Australian Tax Office’s generous small business $20,000 instant asset tax write-off to kit out your 4x4 ute.
For tradies and small business owners (those who earn up to $10 million) who have registered a vehicle through their business, this offer from the tax man means you can immediately deduct the cost of any ‘asset’ (up to $20K in value) fitted to your vehicle, for your 2017 tax return. This is achieved by deducting what is classified as the ‘business’ portion of your purchase (what percentage of the asset’s use is business-oriented).
The item in question can be new or second-hand and must be purchased before July 1, 2017. And, you can write off as many individual items (up to $20K value each) as you can afford. This means that ‘dream tourer’ may be closer to reality than you think – as long as your pockets are deep enough, of course, and you don’t tell porkies to your accountant or the ATO regarding how much ‘work use’ the equipment in question is subjected to.
For us, we’d start at the front and work back, kicking off with comprehensive protective bar-work (bullbar, side protection, sidesteps and rails), an electric winch, a dual-battery kit (for those worksite power requirements, as well as touring duties), and a set of spotties mounted on the bar. The most obvious (and popular) asset for any 4x4 ute is a locking canopy and roof racks, plus a cargo drawer system.
For those who need an open tray for work purposes, a soft or hardtop tonneau cover is the go; a number of the hardtop variants have a provision for fitment of luggage pods, bike racks, etc., so you can still take advantage of all that rear space for the family off-road camping trips without compromising your rig’s work capacity.
Speaking of capacity, an upgraded suspension system is another must, as is a new towbar and a fresh set of tyres if your current rubber is looking worn. Even accessories such as seat covers are claimable as a business asset.
This all sounds awesome, but it’s important to remember you still do have to pay for your goods initially, so make sure you consult your accountant before stumping up a pile of cash on any accessory. After that, it’s best to adhere to the old adage that honesty is the best policy when it comes to tax time, and make sure you place an accurate percentage value on each of your shiny new assets in regards to how much time they are used in a ‘work capacity’ and how much is leisure. If you do it properly, there’s plenty of scope to make a decent saving – or at the least, a significant cut to your annual tax bill – while both ensuring your vehicle is not only fit for purpose in the work place, but is ready to roll when it comes time to escape the five-day grind of work.