WEEKEND READS: Catch up on the most interesting articles I’ve read this week

There are more interesting articles, commentaries and analyst reports on the Web every week than anyone could read in a month.

Each Saturday morning I like to share some of the ones I’ve read during the week.

So enjoy for some weekend reading…and please forward to your friends by clicking the social link buttons.

ATO targets rental property and work-related deductions for tax evasion

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the ATO is now targeting suspected ‘dodgy’ claims relating to rental properties and work-related deductions.

Each year, about 12 million Australians lodge tax returns.

Last year, the ATO contacted more than 350,000 taxpayers about errors or omissions in their returns. It expects to do the same this year.

Work expenses, rental deductions under watch

tax money ato taxes financial iouExcessive work-related claims and personal travel claimed as work travel would be monitored.

Income from renting out property would also be scrutinised, as would deductions for repairs and maintenance of such property.

Holiday homes reserved for private use by family and friends would be under the spotlight.

Splitting income with a spouse was also a red flag.

Data matching to track cash economy

Third-party providers – such as banks, health insurers and employers – give the ATO data about individual taxpayers, which the agency uses to pre-fill returns.

The ATO also gets data from state and territory title offices, online auction houses, share registries, AUSTRAC and treaty partners.

The ATO also uses third-party data to cross-check what people claim on their returns.

Data cross-checking of individual returns by the ATO resulted in $950 million in liabilities last year.

The ATO was able to detect tens of thousands in incoming transfers to a taxpayer over two years from an overseas sporting club by using AUSTRAC data, which, ultimately, resulted in a tax bill of more than $25,000.

It uses a process called “web scraping”, which allows it to pull information from the internet.

It will scan popular websites such as eBay, Gumtree and cafe and restaurant online reviews to detect people illegally operating in the cash economy.

The fun and free game from the United Nations that is saving and improving lives

Freerice is a non-profit website that is owned by and supports the United Nations World Food Programme, based in Rome.

Free Rice

You answer educational questions (you can choose the subject) and with each correct answer 10 grains of rice are donated to those in need.

Freerice has two goals:

  • Provide education to everyone for free.
  • Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free

This is made possible by the generosity of the sponsors who advertise on the site.

It is a great investment in yourself.

Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your education can improve your life.

Somewhere in the world, a person could be eating rice that you helped provide.

Rental Guarantees | Prices predicted to fall by 2017  | The Reno Kings’ tips | How depreciation affects capital gains tax? | Renting to Family Members

Another great Real Estate Talk show produced by Kevin Turner.

This week listen to:

  • Andrew Mirams tells us how Australia’s biggest banks have been forced to restrict their mortgage lending, in a move that could severely impact investors.
  • Michael Yardney shares some personal insight about being as happy as you wish…if you get rid of the 10 deadly habits he will outline.
  • Belinda Smith discusses flipping properties and how that has helped build a strong property portfolio.
  • Paul Nugent from Wakelin Property Advisory gives us the properties you should avoid and tells us the best ones to invest in and why.
  • Hear why 2 identical units in the same complex that sold weeks apart but for very different prices. Why would one outsell the other for almost $100,000 more?

If you don’t already subscribe to this excellent weekly Internet based radio show do so now by clicking here.

Fixed Rate Loans Become More Popular After Rate Hikes

Your Investment Property magazine recently reported that buyers are increasingly opting for fixed rate loans.

The demand for fixed rate loans is on the rise as lenders hike rates on investment loans.

New data from Mortgage Choice shows fixed rate home loans rose to 18.46% of all loans in July, up from 17.58% in June.

Mortgage Choice chief executive John Flavell said lenders’ recent moves to raise rates on investment loans could account for the move toward fixing.

“Our data would suggest the threat of rising interest rates was enough to encourage more borrowers to fix their mortgage,” Flavell said.


The trend toward fixed rates could continue as banks continue to change their policies and pricing.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see another slight uptick in fixed rate home loan demand next month as borrowers look for some stability and certainty around their mortgage repayments,” he said.

While fixed rate loans saw an uptick in popularity, the vast majority of borrowers continued to opt for variable rates, and ongoing discount rates were particularly popular, accounting for 45.37% of all Mortgage Choice approvals in July.”

There is a lot of change happening in the home loan environment at the moment, which is highlighted by the fact that fixed rate demand varies quite substantially from month to month,” Flavell said.

With interest rates at their lowest for more than 50 years, there are some great rates available.

The best thing to do is to compare rates from all the lenders.

Infrastructure pipeline

 Pete Wargent comments on Australia’s  pipeline of infrastructure projects.
Interesting infographic by Goldman Sachs detailing Australia’s $39 billion pipeline of infrastructure projects as well as $33 billion of commenced projects.
’tis about Sydney at the moment!

Seven habits of organised people

An article published on Fast Company reminds us that organised people aren’t born; they’re built. Here are the habits that keep them on top of everything.

We all know that one friend or coworker who is super-organised.

Instead of hating that person, why not figure out how they do it?

1. Organised people seek out tools

From kitchen timers to smartphone technology, organized people find tools that can help them make the most of their day, week, and year.

They use mobile phone apps with pop-up reminders, for example. They also use timers to help visualise the passage of time.

And they break down tasks into smaller chunks and take short non-work-related breaks in between, which increases their overall prdocuments loan paper folder coffee work jjoboductivity.

2. Organised people set priorities

Instead of having an overwhelming number of commitments and little idea where to start, organised people have a clear sense of what’s important.

They know what their goals are, what needs to be done when, and what can be put off.

They start the day with a clear plan of their ‘MITs’—their ‘most important things.

3. Organised people have less stuff

The golden rule of organisation is to have as little as possible to organise.

4. Organised people choose simple solutions

Organised people use simple tools that make an easy job of putting things away.

For example, baskets hold receipts that need to be filed, bills that need to be paid, and books that are waiting to be read.

A hook by the door makes it convenient to hang up a coat.

And bowls and trays near an entryway will keep keys and wallets in one place.

5. Organised people practice maintenance

Organized people will take a few moments each day to put things back in their proper places.

They don’t drop things in a random pile ‘just for now’—it’s always now.

6. Organised people regularly purge

Instead of letting clutter sneak up on them, organised people periodically purge.

They clear out their files when the drawer starts to get full, for example, and they toss the notes for the project that was canceled.

7. Organised people project themselves into the future

Using a two-person mind-set—present self and future self—can help you stay organized.

She likes to think of her future self when she takes care of small tasks right away. It’s like doing yourself a favour.

Weekend video:The iPad Magician

There’s even more you can do with your iPad than you thought. Simon Pierro, a guest on the TV show Ellen, brought a magic iPad with him and wowed Ellen and her audience!

Blogs you may have missed this week:

How to Avoid Common Investor Mistakes – Being sucked in by a spruiker [VIDEO]

Transitioning to Retirement

Explainer: What the APRA changes mean to property investors

The economic state of our states

How to get started in property development

Do your values align with your money & time?




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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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