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Buy vehicles or equipment for your business and get big tax deductions with a chattel mortgage.
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A chattel mortgage gives a business full ownership of the assets funded by a lender. A chattel mortgage will generally have low interest rates, as the assets obtained through a chattel mortgage will always act as security on the loan itself. A business can also claim the initial GST amount of the asset’s purchase price when using a chattel mortgage.
Once a chattel mortgage is established through a lender, a business can claim the GST on the initial purchase
price of the vehicle as an input tax credit on its next Business Activity Statement (BAS). To do so, your
business will need to be registered for GST on a cash basis - i.e. your business records income and expenses
when they occur.
The maximum amount of GST you can claim on an asset is 1/11th of the cost limit set each year by Australian Tax Office. The cost limit includes both GST and depreciation, and for 2019 is set at $57,581. This means the maximum amount of GST you can currently claim on a vehicle is $5,234.
A balloon payment on a chattel mortgage can help reduce the agreed repayment amount, freeing up business cash flow.
There are two main types of business lease in Australia: a finance lease, and an operating lease. To decide which type of lease may best suit your business needs, it’s important to understand the distinctions between the two and what they are commonly used for.
A mid-to-long-term lease used for high-value purchases - such as medical equipment, and your business will take on both the risks and benefits of owning the asset.
A short-to-mid-term lease used for assets which may become quickly obsolete - such as computers and IT equipment - and the lender will take on both the risks and benefits of ownership.
The main advantage of a finance lease is low interest rates in comparison to other types of equipment finance. Your business will have both the use of business equipment and the benefits of ownership, while the lender will have actual ownership of the asset, which means there is very low risk to the lender. You may also be able to claim tax on your finance lease payments.
The main benefit of an operating lease is that your business can commonly upgrade the assets purchased within the lease period. This is highly beneficial for businesses purchasing IT equipment, as these types of assets often become obsolete within a few years. Your business can also claim tax on your rental payments.
The main benefit of a commercial hire purchase is that your business will own the asset at the end of your agreement. Your business will benefit from not needing to purchase the asset outright, which frees up cash flow on medium-value assets such as office furniture or power tools. For this reason, hospitality businesses often use hire purchase agreements to finance commercial kitchen equipment.
Choosing between a chattel mortgage, lease, or hire purchase will depend on the type of business you operate, your financial circumstances (such as whether you need access to cash flow), your tax position (for chattel mortgage GST benefits) and the type of the asset you wish to purchase. You’ll also want to consider:
How much your business will pay on finance in terms of interest and fees
If you will require ownership of the asset
If you need to upgrade the asset during the term of your finance agreement
The amount of GST or tax your business can claim
What you would like to happen to the equipment at the end of the finance term
The GST benefits of a chattel mortgage are available to businesses registered for GST and operating on a cash basis. A cash basis means your business records expenses and income as they occur - this allows you to claim back the initial purchase-price GST on your next business activity statement (BAS).
The differences between a chattel mortgage, lease, and a hire purchase agreement are levels of asset ownership for the business and varying degrees of tax benefits. While all of these types of business finance are used to purchase equipment, vehicles, and machinery, understanding their differences could save you money and provide access to vital business cash flow.
A chattel mortgage, lease, and hire purchase are all available from a variety of lenders in Australia - including banks, non-bank lenders, and specialist asset finance lenders. You can read about where to apply and how to qualify in our equipment finance guide.
Interest rates on a chattel mortgage, lease, and hire purchase will vary depending on the type of finance you choose and the specific asset or assets you wish to purchase. To understand how asset types and age affect interest rates, you can read our guide on how to compare equipment finance interest rates.