Good Record Keeping for Your Investment Property


You need to keep proper records if you want to make a claim against your rental property – even if you have a tax agent. There are a number of important documents you need to hold on to. I recommend placing them all in a single folder (a bright colour is hard to lose). You can then place documents into the folder easily throughout the year as you pay them. Allocate one sleeve for council rates, another for bank statements, and so on.


Here are some handy things to know about record keeping for your property:

 Records must be kept for at least five years from the date your tax return is lodged. The ATO can go back further than five years if they suspect fraud

 You must keep records of the rental income you receive as well as the deductible expenses you pay

 Purchase and sale documents s must be kept for five years from the date you sell or dispose of your rental property. Purchase documents include settlement statement, contracts, and all receipts relating to purchase such as legal fees, stamp duty, survey and valuation fees and loan documentation. Sale documents include settlement statement, contracts, and all receipts relating to sale such as legal fees, advertising, agent’s commission

 You must keep records of every transaction over the period of ownership of the property. Holding costs such as interest on loans, rates, insurance, and repairs and maintenance during a period of main residency may reduce capital gains tax in certain circumstances.

 It’s a good idea to make an appointment through your real estate agent when inspecting your property – travel for drive by “inspections” are not tax deductible

 Make sure it is clear when you paid the bill, particularly if you are paying late. If you are paying insurance by the month, ensure you include both year’s renewal notices with the monthly payments listed.  Remember thermal receipts fade in plastic so you may need a paper envelope to keep those in. You can also photocopy them laid out together so that you have a more permanent record.

 Go paperless – if you prefer you can always scan your documents and send them electronically to your accountant. Use your smart phone to take photos of receipts through the year and save them in a secure location as electronic tax records ready for tax time.




by Carol Allan

Carol is a Senior Accountant at Insight Accounting advice. She is a registered tax agent, has a Bachelor of Commerce and Advanced Diploma in Accounting. Carol’s areas of expertise include tax and property advice.



The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information.