Asbestos register now required by law - reduce the risks and costs of removal by acting early

In November 2013, Australia recognised the first national Asbestos Awareness Month and in the following article from the December edition of Property Investor, BMT Tax Depreciation shared some important information for property investors dealing with asbestos.

Any Australian property built prior to 1980 has an increased chance that some form of asbestos material has been used in its construction. This can be a major concern for any investment property owner, particularly when faced with the potential health risks and if necessary, the cost of asbestos removal.

If left undamaged, asbestos does not usually pose a health risk, however, when disturbed or damaged, the fibres within asbestos become a health concern to anyone exposed to them.

Due to the serious health risks associated with asbestos, it is now law in most Australian states and territories that every commercial building constructed prior to the 31st of December 2003 has an asbestos register and an asbestos management plan. It is the responsibility of the person with control or management of the property to ensure that the register and management plan are both current.

An asbestos register lists all identified and assumed asbestos within a building. The asbestos management plan outlines the presence of asbestos as well as the safe work procedures, control measures and emergency procedures for a building containing any identified asbestos. This management plan must be kept up-to-date and reviewed at least once every five years.

In a situation where asbestos becomes hazardous, it may need to be removed. For a property owner, the cost of its removal can be a large burden. However, under Section 40-755 (Environmental Protection Act) of the Income Tax Assessment Act, a property owner is able to claim a deduction for the removal of asbestos from their income producing property if the asbestos poses a health risk.

The Australian Taxation Office allows the property owner to deduct the expenditure incurred for the main purpose of carrying out environmental protection activities. The removal of damaged asbestos from a residential investment property or commercial building is classified as an environmental protection activity as its sole purpose is to prevent contamination or pollution of a property.

When completing any improvement to an income producing property, including asbestos removal, make sure you contact a specialist Quantity Surveyor so that the remaining depreciable value of items being removed is captured. A post-work depreciation schedule should also be completed as any replaced items and structural improvements are eligible to be claimed and this could mean a greater cash return from your investment property.

Posted by Charles Tarbey on 09/01/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

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