Hidden tax benefit in rental plan

A HIDDEN tax benefit is giving investors about $100,000, either as a cash payment or tax concession, just for investing in affordable rental properties.

Your ears are pricked but I can hear you ask, 'What's the catch?'

The National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) was a 2007 Federal election promise, and part of a $4.3 billion Australian Government initiative to encourage people to invest in privately-owned rental housing.

People who invest in approved NRAS housing projects will be given a government tax benefit of $9524 a year for 10 years. The only catch is that the property must be rented at 20-25% below normal market value.

Mackay Regional Housing Company chief executive officer Jennifer Emmett said it is well worth people looking into the NRAS scheme.

"It is a great investment opportunity and it is also helping provide the community with much needed affordable rental properties," she said.

"People will need to weigh up whether the tax incentive will cover the costs of the low rental price.

"It is a great program and there hasn't really been much talk about it. Absolutely everybody can be a part of it."

NRAS dwellings range from studio apartments to large family homes and are located where affordable rental accommodation is most needed, especially in areas where employment, schools and other services are available nearby.

New dwellings can enter the scheme and continue to become available for rent through to 2016.

In Mackay and its surrounds 342 dwellings have been supported under the Scheme.

In Queensland, following round four, more than 11,000 incentives have been supported.

The Government has committed to support 50,000 NRAS properties, with up to 35,000 dwellings across the country by June 30, 2014, and the remaining 15,000 by June 30, 2016.

The NRAS is not a grants program but provides financial incentives to participants to build and rent affordable dwellings (at rates at least 20% less than market rates) to eligible tenants.

The Australian Government provides the incentives annually at the end of the NRAS year, following confirmation of eligibility.

For more information call Ms Emmett at Mackay Regional Housing Company on 4953 4952.

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