What expenses are claimable if my house is in a Trust?

Question from Mark Marcijasz updated on 2nd October 2007:

We have a discretionary trust which owns a number of rental properties. We are trustees and beneficiaries of the trust. Our home is not in the trust but is in our own names (we need to sort this out at some stage). Are we able to claim home office expenses in the tax return for the trust given our home is not part of the trust. If not, could we claim home office expenses if we put our home into the trust. Many thanks, Mark.

Our expert responded:

As you own your home yourself, you can claim the home office portion of all of your costs eg interest, rates, insurance, telephone, repairs and maintenance. Once your home is transferred into a trust (and I would recommend a different trust to the one that owns your rental properties) then some of the costs such as interest and rates can't be claimed as those costs no longer belong to you. They belong to the Trust. You need to balance the claiming of these costs against the asset protection you get from having your home inside a trust.

Recommended reading:
Family Trusts - A NZ guide by Martin Hawes $29.95
Managing Family Trusts by Martin Hawes $24.95
Trusts - A Kiwi sham by Mark Maxwell $29.95

Kenina Court is a director of Acorn Solutions Limited, an accounting firm dedicated to working with clients to help them create wealth. She is an avid property investor, entrepreneur and seminar presenter on asset protection and wealth strategies.



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