News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.

Western Australian startup Abakus helps property investors manage their tax

For a long time the Australian dream was – and for some, continues to be – owning a house on a quarter acre block of land. As a result, Australians are still crazy about property; it can be hard to get away from conversations about property prices in cities like Sydney and Melbourne. For many, these conversations may revolve around how no one will ever be able to afford to buy a house, but there are of course the others who have got it all together and are on to buying investment properties.

In fact, despite what many of us may think, property investors are getting younger. According to data released earlier this year, almost 51 percent of investors were just 34 years old or younger when they purchased their first investment property, up from 33.8 percent in 2013.

For these millennial investors, technology has failed to keep up with their needs. As it turns out, managing a property investment doesn’t just stop at getting a loan and paying stamp duty, it means dealing with real estate agents and tenants, handling and tracking expense receipts to manage tax requirements, and so on.

Western Australian startup Abakus looks to make managing tax for investment properties easier and more convenient for Australian residential property investors. Giving a complete portfolio overview, it allows users to add and categorise tax receipts, Settlement Statements, Offer of Acceptance documents and building contracts, and so on, with all this then able to be exported to the user’s accountant at tax time.

After growing up on a Western Australian farm, founder Brenton Tidow became a pipeline surveyor, which allowed him to begin investing in property. As his portfolio grew, so too did his frustration with the time and effort it took to manage his investments.

“I knew there had to be a better way of doing things and wanted to make life easier for myself and other property investors. I was also looking to reduce risk within my own portfolio by having a better understanding of the expenses and income of each property, gain greater knowledge and maximise my tax returns,” he said.

“The amount of time spent tracking transactions linked to property ownership can take the joy out of investment. The goal is to simplify the tedious administration involved with financial management for property investors and present important and readily available information at your fingertips.”

 

Tidow decided to sell one of his properties to fund the development of the app, also putting forward some personal savings to have Abakus designed and built by Perth agency Monster Apps.Abakus_ss overview property2_LR

The app works by having the user create an account and complete a personal profile, including income and tax paid or estimates thereof, and then add details of their property or properties, such as purchase price, loan amount, current market value, rental income, and other related documents if they so desire.

Throughout the year they can then add expenses as invoices and bills come in, with the image of receipts filed against the category and property it belongs to.

Abakus then gives users the ability to see total expenses, pre- and post-tax position, tax deductions, and loan value ratio and equity for each property within their portfolio. It also allows users to track their personal income, expenses, and tax deductions.

The app offers users a free 30 day trial, with an ongoing subscription costing $5.99 a month. The addressable market size for Abakus is fairly large, with data from the 2011 Census showing that 7.9 percent of Australians, or over 1.7 million, own an investment property.

Tidow said the startup will look to add new features to the app over the coming months, while he is also in talks with a couple of companies regarding partnership opportunities.

Image: Brenton Tidow. Source: Supplied.





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