Looking for a professional painter to refresh your loved house? Sky Blue Painter is here for you! Contact us for a free quote:

Table of Contents

A Comprehensive Guide to Deducting Painting Expenses for Your Rental Property


When it comes to owning a rental property in New Zealand, maintaining its aesthetic appeal is crucial. Not only does it keep your property competitive in the market, but it can also impact your tax obligations. One of the most common property maintenance tasks is painting. But, can you deduct painting expenses from your rental income for tax purposes? Let’s delve into the details.


Understanding Deductible Expenses

Deductible expenses are the costs you incur in the course of generating your rental income. As a landlord, you can deduct these expenses from your rental income, thereby reducing your overall tax liability.

What Qualifies as a Deductible Expense?

Typically, deductible expenses include ongoing and holding costs:

  • Insurance premiums
  • Property rates
  • Repair and maintenance costs
  • Accounting fees
  • Property management fees
  • Legal costs (under NZD 10,000) related to property purchase
  • Mortgage interest (subject to interest restriction rules)
  • Depreciation on chattels such as furniture and appliances
  • Home office expenses (if applicable)

While these costs are generally deductible, there are specific rules and conditions you must meet. Let’s delve deeper into some of these expenses.

Exploring Deductible Expenses Related to Painting

When painting your rental property, the deductibility of the associated costs largely depends on the nature and purpose of the painting work.

Painting as a Repair and Maintenance Cost

If the painting work involves restoring your property to its original condition without significantly enhancing its value or prolonging its life, it is considered a repair and maintenance cost. Therefore, such painting expenses are deductible.

For example, if you’re painting your property to cover up scuff marks and minor damages caused by wear and tear, you can claim these expenses as deductible.

Painting as a Capital Improvement

On the other hand, if the painting work involves substantial improvements or additions that increase the property’s value or extend its useful life, it is considered a capital improvement. Such expenses are not immediately deductible. Instead, they are capitalized and added to the property’s cost base.

For instance, if you’re painting your property as part of a significant renovation project that increases the property’s market value, the painting costs would be considered capital expenses.

It’s worth noting that the distinction between repairs, maintenance and capital improvements can be complex. Therefore, it’s advisable to consult with a tax professional when in doubt.

Understanding Non-Deductible Expenses

Just as there are expenses you can deduct from your rental income, there are also expenses that you cannot. These are typically capital or private expenses.

Non-deductible expenses include:

  • The purchase price of a rental property
  • The principal portion of mortgage repayments
  • Costs related to significant property improvements or additions
  • Costs of repairs that increase the property’s value
  • Depreciation on the rental’s land or buildings
  • Your time when you do repairs and maintenance work

Dealing with Interest Deductibility

Interest deductibility is a critical issue for rental property owners in New Zealand. From 1 October 2021, there have been changes to the rules around claiming interest as a deductible expense.

For properties purchased on or after 27 March 2021, interest is no longer deductible. However, for properties acquired before this date, interest deductions are being phased out gradually, with no interest deduction being allowed from 1 April 2025 onwards.

Handling Tenant-Related Painting Issues

As a landlord, you may encounter situations where your tenants wish to paint your rental property. In such cases, it’s essential to have a clear agreement in place.

Should You Allow Tenants to Paint?

Allowing tenants to paint your property can be a tricky issue. While it may seem like a good way to maintain the property’s appeal without incurring expenses, it can also lead to unexpected problems, such as poor-quality work or inappropriate color choices.

To avoid such issues, it’s advisable to give permission only if you trust the tenant’s painting skills. Also, you should make your expectations clear regarding the quality of work and the choice of colors.

What if the Tenant Paints Without Permission?

If a tenant paints your property without permission, you may deduct the cost of repainting from their bond or security deposit. However, make sure to communicate your property rules clearly to your tenants to prevent such situations.

Timing Your Painting Projects

When planning your painting projects, consider the following factors:

  • Evaluation: Assess your property’s painting needs after each tenancy. This will help you identify any damages and determine whether any rooms need repainting.
  • Cleaning vs. Painting: In some cases, a thorough cleaning may be enough to refresh your property’s walls and remove minor scuffs and stains.
  • High Traffic Areas: Focus on high-traffic areas like lounges and hallways, as they are more prone to wear and tear.
  • Competitive Edge: Use creative painting strategies to attract tenants, such as using trending colors or featuring walls.
  • Season: Summer is usually the best time for painting due to the favorable weather conditions. However, painting companies may offer discounts during their off-peak periods, such as winter.

Leveraging Professional Help

While managing rental property expenses can be complex, professional help can make the process more manageable. Tax professionals and accountants can provide valuable advice on deductible expenses, tax regulations, and financial planning.

Moreover, professional painting contractors can ensure high-quality painting work that enhances your property’s value, appeal, and longevity.

Remember, as a rental property owner in New Zealand, understanding your deductible and non-deductible expenses is crucial. Not only will this knowledge help you optimize your tax position, but it will also contribute to the profitable and sustainable management of your property.

Wrapping Up

Investing in a rental property in New Zealand can be a profitable venture if managed correctly. Understanding which painting expenses are deductible and which are not is a crucial aspect of this. So, whether you are a seasoned landlord or new to the rental property game, this guide should provide you with a solid starting point.

However, tax laws and regulations can be complex and change over time. Therefore, always consider consulting with a tax professional or accountant for personalized advice. Make sure you stay informed, keep accurate records, and make the most out of your rental property investment in New Zealand.

More to explorer