Tax records for rental properties and holiday homes

Find out about what records to keep and for how long for rental properties and holiday homes.

How long to keep rental records

You need to keep records for 5 years. Depending on your situation, that is 5 years from the date:

  • you lodge your tax return
  • of your last claim for the decline in value of an asset
  • it is certain that no capital gains tax event can occur after you acquire, sell or otherwise dispose of property
  • you resolve any disputes you have with us.

You will need these records to work out how much:

  • rental income you need to declare
  • you can claim as a deduction for your expenses
  • capital gain or loss you make when you dispose of your rental property.

In some circumstances, you may need to provide these records as proof that you were the one to incur the expense.

Format of your rental records

Rental records must be in English or be readily translatable into English.

You can keep your records in either paper or digital format. If you make copies, they must be a true and clear copy of the original.

We recommend you keep a back-up of all your digital records.

You can use the myDeductions tool in the ATO app to keep track of your records digitally. When you are ready to complete your tax return, you can:

  • email your data to yourself or to your tax agent
  • upload your data to pre-fill your tax return.

Types of rental records to keep

You should keep a record of the following for your rental property or holiday home:

Rental income

Records of the payments you receive, such as:

  • a statement from your property or managing agent
  • a rent book or bank statements that shows the rental payments going into your account
  • documents that show a record of any bond money you retain in place of rent.

For more information on rental income, see Rental income you must declare.

Rental expenses

Records for expenses you incur, such as:

  • bank statements showing the interest charged on money you borrowed for the rental property
  • loan documents
  • land tax assessments
  • documents or receipts that show amounts you pay for
    • advertising (including efforts to rent out the property)
    • bank charges
    • council rates
    • gardening
    • property agent fees
    • repairs or maintenance
  • documents showing details of expenses related to
    • the decline in value of depreciating assets
    • any capital work expenses, such as structural improvements
  • before and after photos for any capital works
  • travel expense documents, if you are eligible to claim¬†travel and car expenses¬†such as
    • travel diary or similar that shows nature of the activities, dates, places, times and duration of your activities and travel (you must have this if you travel away from home for 6¬†nights or more)
    • receipts for flights, fuel, accommodation, meals and other expenses while travelling
    • receipts for items you use for repairs and maintenance that you bought when you travel to, or stayed near, the rental property.

When you buy a rental property

Records when you buy (invest) in rental property, such as:

  • contract of purchase
  • conveyancing documents
  • loan documents
  • costs to buy the property
  • borrowing expenses.

While you own a rental property

Records for while you own a rental property, such as:

  • documents that show periods of personal use by you or your friends
  • document that show periods the property is used as your main residence
  • loan documents if you refinance your property
  • documents, receipts and before and after photos for capital improvements
  • tenant leases
  • documents for¬†rental expenses.

When you sell your rental property

Records for when you sell or otherwise dispose of your rental property, such as:

  • contract of sale
  • conveyancing documents
  • sale of property fees
  • calculation of capital gain or loss.

Records for multiple properties

Keep separate records for each property, if you have:

  • more than one property (including a block of apartments or similar)
  • a duplex
  • property that has been sub-divided.

This will ensure that you declare the correct rental income and claim the correct rental expenses for each property. It will also ensure that if you later sell or otherwise dispose of one or part of a property, you will have records to work out your capital gain or loss.

Last modified: 30 Jun 2023
QC 66379
https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Investments-and-assets/Residential-rental-properties/Records-for-rental-properties-and-holiday-homes/
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