Depreciation is a tax benefit that property owners can claim for the wear and tear of their investment property over time. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to property depreciation rules in Australia, helping investors maximize their tax deductions and make informed financial decisions.

What is Property Depreciation?

Property depreciation refers to the decline in value of an investment property due to wear and tear over time. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) allows property investors to claim this reduction in value as a tax deduction.


Types of Depreciation

  1. Capital Works Depreciation (Division 43): This depreciation applies to the structural elements of the building, such as walls, floors, roofs, and fixed assets like plumbing and electrical systems. It can be claimed over a period of 25 to 40 years, depending on the construction commencement date.
  2. Plant and Equipment Depreciation (Division 40): This category covers removable assets within the property, such as appliances, carpets, blinds, and furniture. The depreciation rates for these items vary based on their effective life as determined by the ATO

Depreciation Methods

  1. Prime Cost Method: This method allows for an equal deduction to be claimed each year over the asset’s effective life.
  2. Diminishing Value Method: Under this method, higher depreciation deductions can be claimed in the earlier years, as the deductions are calculated as a percentage of the remaining value.

Obtaining a Depreciation Schedule

To accurately claim depreciation deductions, it is advisable to obtain a professionally prepared tax depreciation schedule. Quantity surveyors or qualified depreciation specialists can create this schedule, which outlines all depreciable assets in the property and their respective values.

Conditions for Claiming Depreciation

  1. Ownership: To claim depreciation, you must own the property and have it available for rent.
  2. Age of Property: Both new and older properties can claim depreciation benefits, but the effective life and depreciation rates may differ.
  3. Construction Commencement Date: The date of construction commencement determines the claimable rate for capital works depreciation.

Legislation Changes from 2017

In 2017, the government introduced legislation that restricted the ability to claim depreciation on second-hand plant and equipment assets for properties purchased after May 9th, 2017. However, capital works deductions and deductions for new assets remained unchanged.

Scrapping Schedule

When renovating an investment property, property owners can claim a deduction for the remaining depreciable value of assets being replaced or disposed of, known as a scrapping schedule. This can provide additional tax benefits.

Importance of Professional Advice

Given the complexity of property depreciation rules, it is highly recommended to seek professional advice from qualified accountants, tax depreciation specialists, or quantity surveyors. They can ensure accurate calculations, maximize deductions, and help navigate any legislative changes.


Understanding property depreciation rules in Australia is crucial for property investors to optimize their tax benefits. By recognising the different types of depreciation, the methods of calculation, and the conditions for claiming, investors can ensure they make the most of their investment property. Seeking professional advice and obtaining a depreciation schedule will further aid in maximising deductions and complying with tax regulations, ultimately enhancing the financial viability of property investments.