Building & Renovating Tips
5 Tax Deduction Tips for Builders and Contractors 0
The tax season is an inevitable and often frustrating period for builders and contractors.
However, there are many things that you can do to reduce your tax burden. A big part of that comes from tax deductions – some of which you may not even know are applicable to builders and contractors.
In today’s post, we’ll cover 5 essential tax deduction tips for you which will hopefully reduce your tax burden as a builder.
What are tax deductions?
Tax deductions reduce your taxable income for the respective year.
The deductions usually come from your expenses as a contractor or a business owner for things like work tools or training.
For example, let’s assume that you’ve earned $10,000 this year as a contractor. At that rate, you are taxed at 10% which is equal to a tax amount of $1,000 before any deductions are applied.
However, you spent $2,000 this year on work-related expenses and you file for a tax deduction.
As work expenses are tax deductible, the $2,000 that you’ve spent is deducted from your taxable income of $10,000 which leaves you with a taxable income of $8,000.
This means that your tax rates will be calculated based on your final taxable income of $8,000, not $10,000.
A 10% tax rate on $8,000 is equal to $800 which means that you’ve effectively saved $200 in taxes compared to when tax deductions were not applied.
This is a very simplified version of how tax deduction works but it should you give a basic understanding of the system.
Be careful about not mixing up tax deductions with tax credits.
Both of them reduce your tax burden but tax deductions reduce your taxable income while tax credits reduce the amount of your tax outright.
Sticking with the example above, you pay $800 in taxes after a $2,000 tax deduction is applied to your taxable income.
A tax credit of $2,000, however, will deduct the same amount from your total tax amount of $1,000.
As your tax credit is larger than your tax amount, the government owes you $1,000 as you paid more than what you owed in taxes.
Unfortunately, most tax credits are non-refundable which means that you won’t be refunded the difference even if you paid more.
Tax deductions for builders and constructors
Note: Tax deductions will vary from country to country. This list, however, includes tips that are common and frequently used by contractors and should not be considered as an exhaustive list. The best way to get a complete understanding of your tax deductions is to consult a professional for help.
1) Tools and work equipment
Tools and work equipment that you use in your projects are usually tax deductible. To make things even better, almost every tool that you own (and bought) are able to be written off your tax bill.
Usually, any tool that is under $300 will have a 100% tax deduction for the fiscal year. If your tools go well into the 4-5 figure range, it’s best to consult a professional on what to do next as there will be a decline in value of the tools over time.
To reduce your tax burdens as much as possible, keep the receipts of every tool that you’ve purchased including tools that are under $10. You will be surprised at how much small purchases add up to in a year.
Repairs and maintenance costs can also be deducted from your taxable income so keep that in mind.
2) Transportation and travel expenses
As a builder, you will travel a lot to your client’s location for work. It is completely fair and expected of you to file for tax deductions for your travel expenses.
Travelling across the country or overseas is also a tax deductible expense. It has to be, however, related to your work or for the purpose of learning a skill related to your trade.
To make your life easier, always remember to keep your travel receipts to prove that the trip was related to work. Categorise the receipts into work and non-work purposes so that the deduction process will be smoother.
However, travelling between home and work is not considered as a work expense, therefore, you won’t be able to collect tax deductions for it.
This also includes situations where you make small work-related tasks such as collecting the mail on the way home.
Consult a professional or an accountant to correctly identify which of your travel expenses are eligible for tax deductions.
3) Tax deductions for work uniform and clothing
The expenses of renting or buying uniforms for work is a deductible expense. Laundry and repair fees are also included in the deductions; make sure that your business or work logo is on the uniform to ease the tax deduction process.
The costs of protective clothing and footwear are also tax deductible in many countries. As long as the clothing is used to provide protection and stay safe during your work, you may file for a tax deduction.
Some of the common protective clothing that is tax deductible include:
- Protective footwear such as work boots or rubber-soled shoes
- Eye protection equipment such as sunglasses or safety goggles
- Sun protection equipment such as sunscreen or UV-sunglasses
- Work uniform and overalls
4) Trade union and association fees
Membership fees or annual union subscriptions that you pay are tax deductible as long as the organisation is approved by the government. The deduction also only applies if it is related to your work.
However, your expenses cannot be claimed if the organisation is not recognised by the local government. You also cannot get a tax deduction on fees that are not paid by yourself; for instance, membership fees that are paid by your employer are not tax deductible.
Usually, your organisation will give you a guideline on how to collect tax deductions for your membership fees.
5) Home office expenses
You can claim tax deductions for home expenses if you use it for work purposes; this also includes running costs such as the electricity bill.
However, you cannot claim deductions on things such as the rent or mortgage interest – you can only do it for work-related purposes.
If you are required to use your computer or smartphone for work, you may be able to claim a deduction for your costs.
You may need some proof to show the authorities that you’re working from home. Using a time-tracking software or registering your home address as your work office are two ways of doing this.
Some of the tax deductions that you are entitled to include:
- Home office equipment expenses such as computers, smartphones, and printers.
- Phone bills for work-related calls. It is best if you can show that you are on the phone with your clients or employer regularly for the deduction to be approved.
- Electrical bills for house heating, air conditioning, or lighting.
- Costs of repairing your home office furniture or maintenance fees such as house cleaning.
To learn more about building tools and other articles like this, head over to our blog where we have guides and how-to’s for builders and homeowners.
5 Ways to Refresh Your Kitchen Without Doing a Complete Remodel 0
Kitchen remodeling can be stressful, expensive and inconvenient, but it’s possible to avoid these downsides. There are quick fixes you can make to refresh your kitchen, even if you don’t want to endure either the hassle or expense of kitchen remodeling. Read on to discover 5 easy ways you can refresh your kitchen without doing a complete remodel.
1. Update Your Kitchen Sink
Since kitchen sink trends have evolved dramatically over the past few years, installing a new sink is one of the quickest ways to make an outdated kitchen look more current. If your kitchen sink has a visible seam around the edges that collects crumbs and dirt, it’s definitely time to update it. A trendy new undermount sink will eliminate that unsightly seam. This results in better kitchen hygiene and a greatly improved appearance.
Shop Now: BuildMat offers a fantastic selection of on-trend and affordable kitchen sinks that can help to revive the look of your kitchen.
2. Decorate With Greenery
Green plants will invigorate any tired kitchen space with fresh new energy and vitality. Kitchen herbs like basil are ideal for this purpose. They can flourish indoors in pots, and they make a functional inclusion in the kitchen décor. Herbs aren’t your only option, as there are many different plant species that grow readily in the kitchen.
This idea can work beautifully for you even if your kitchen doesn’t have windows, skylights or adequate sunlight. Simply place artificial plants in the space instead of live ones.
Shop Now: BuildMat offers spectacular plant walls and a variety of lovely artificial plants to help you succeed in decorating your home with low-maintenance greenery.
3. Update Your Kitchen Colour Palette
Nothing makes a kitchen look outdated like a colour scheme that hit peak popularity in the far distant past. For example, if your kitchen is decorated in shades of brown left over from the 1990s Tuscan trend, it’s time to choose a fresh colour palette. Top choices right now include white, navy blue or a black and white combination. There are many other exciting colour schemes that could be successfully implemented in your kitchen, so choose one that will delight you every time you spend time in your kitchen.
4. Upgrade Your Kitchen Appliances
If it has been more than a decade since your kitchen was last remodeled, upgrading your appliances can be a smart use of funds. Brand new energy-efficient and water-efficient kitchen appliances not only make your kitchen look better; they might also reduce your household expenses in the form of lower energy bills and less wasted water in the kitchen.
Shop Now: BuildMat sells a broad selection of today’s top-performing kitchen appliances.
5. Eliminate Unused Gadgets and Other Kitchen Clutter
Clean is the most desirable characteristic in an on-trend kitchen right now. To achieve the streamlined look that’s popular at the moment, you’ll want to rid your kitchen of all extraneous objects.
While most people don’t think of their kitchen gadgets and small appliances as clutter, they can definitely contribute to a cluttered appearance in the kitchen. It’s all too easy to accumulate bunches of kitchen gadgets that you don’t really use or need. Hide your frequently-used gadgets in the pantry, drawers or cabinets; donate or give away any that you could live without. Simplify wherever possible to achieve a spacious, clutter-free look in your kitchen.
We hope these ideas have inspired you to realise that a complete kitchen remodel may not be necessary, even if the current state of your kitchen is far from ideal. If you take action to implement one or more of these 5 suggestions, you’ll have a great start at making your kitchen look more up-to-date.
Neighbours Be Gone: 4 Ways to Boost Yard Privacy 0
You’ve done it, you’ve finally found your dream home, put in an offer, they’ve accepted and you’re moving in. Congratulations!
It’s only after you’ve settled in when you realise the overlooking issue in your brand-new backyard. The two-storey monster next door looms over your yard with clear visibility into your patio space.
Never fear! There are many ways to effectively screen yourself from overlooking issues such as these and to improve the privacy of your yard, outdoor area and home.
Transform your backyard into your own private retreat with these four effective methods for screening your property from prying eyes.
For sale: 7 The Crescent, Mosman, NSW
1. Bamboo screen
Bamboo is the perfect plant to increase privacy. It’s hardy, fast growing, lean (so it’s good for small block sizes), grows up to 4m in height and thickens up nicely, providing a lush attractive wall of green to outdoor spaces.
For best results plant a clumping bamboo variety in a line along the perimeter of your property where you want to improve privacy. Note: It will generally take one to two years to mature and reach full height.
For sale: 41 The Parade, Russell Lea, NSW
2. Fencing extension
For an instant solution to overlooking woes consider increasing the height or making over your current fencing. Putting up a timber lattice extension will improve privacy and is a good opportunity to embrace your green thumb. Plant a climber such as wisteria, clematis or star jasmine to beautify your newly extended fence over time.
Before erecting any additional fencing structure always check your local council’s website to see if there are any height restrictions and if you need to apply for a building permit. In Victoria for example a boundary fence above 2m requires a building permit.
For sale: Salisbury Street, Unley, SA
3. Laser cut screens
Purchasing a laser cut screen for your patio, courtyard or backyard is a great way to not only immediately improve privacy but to embrace your artsy side and upgrade the style of your home’s exterior. Think of the screen like a sculptural and architectural extension of your home.
Laser cut screens come in an array of materials, colours and design options. From aluminium, timber, MDF, copper, bronze and steel, there’s sure to be a material to suit your property and taste. If not, you can always get a laser-cut screen custom made and design it yourself to your exacting specifications.
For sale: 5 Patula Place, Menora, WA
4. Privacy hedging
For a longer term but attractive solution consider planting hedging to act as a living fence. Hedges will benefit your property four-fold. They provide a sound barrier, act as a windbreak, their leafy greenery looks fantastic and of course they provide extra privacy.
Boxwood shrubs are a hardy variety for hedging screens and can grow up to 20 feet tall. Other plant types that make for good privacy hedges include oleander, arborvitae and Japanese pittosporum. Just be sure to regularly trim your hedges to keep them neat and their height and width under control.
For sale: 9 Thyra Road, Palm Beach, NSW
Hopefully one or a combination of these four strategies prove helpful when it comes to boosting the privacy of your yard.
Larissa Gardner is a blogger, social media strategist and marketing coordinator at
arguably Australia’s best looking, banner-ad free real estate website homely.com.au. With a superb devotion to product innovation, user-centred design and innovative marketing platforms for real estate agents, homely.com.au helps millions of Australians find their next home easier and faster than ever before.
A Guide to Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks for Homeowners 0
The kitchen sink plays a vital role in the modern-day kitchen; it’s so important that you’d struggle to live in a kitchen without a proper sink.
From cleaning large pots to preparing food, you need to make sure that your kitchen sink is great and absolutely perfect for your kitchen. Stainless steel kitchen sinks are popular due to their flexibility which makes it a good choice for:
- Homeowners in their kitchens
- Kitchens in restaurants or cafes
as well as whole other list of uses for a stainless steel sink.
In this post, we’ll cover the things that you need to know before purchasing a stainless steel kitchen sink.
About stainless steel sinks
Stainless steel kitchen sinks are a good choice for just about any kitchen thanks to its array of good qualities. You’d be hard-pressed to find a kitchen sink as timeless as stainless steel ones which also has the ability to complement kitchen designs nicely.
Stainless steel sinks are also famous for being strong and durable. With proper maintenance, stainless steel kitchens are expected to last for more than 30 years – a nod to its longevity and satisfactory performance.
Before you buy a stainless steel kitchen sink, you’ll need to consider some aspects to make your purchase worthwhile.
- The grade of the stainless steel
- It’s thickness (also referred to as its gauge)
- Insulation and coatings for the sink
- Its finish
Some other considerations include the number of sinks that you want as well as how you would like it to be mounted, although those factors are less important than the factors listed above.
It would also be helpful to understand how to maintain and take care of stainless stinks properly. Proper maintenance is essential to ensuring that your sink’s long-lastingness.
How to choose a good-quality stainless steel sink
Stainless steel is usually steel that has been mixed with other elements to improve its properties. Think of stainless steel as a material that is mixed with the best of other materials to make a perfect final product.
The two most important materials to check before purchasing a sink is chromium and nickel. These two materials enhance the properties of stainless steel which make it durable and resistant to corrosion.
The grade of the stainless steel
You’ll usually see an “18/8” label on your local stainless steel sinks. The ratio denotes the amount of chromium and nickel contained in the steel. For the ratio of 18/8, this means that there is 18% of chromium and 8% of nickel in the stainless steel.
As a general rule of thumb, the higher the percentage of these materials, the higher quality your stainless steel sink would be.
The grade is another thing to look out for when purchasing a stainless steel sink. Grade-304 is regarded as the best grade for stainless steel sinks. This grade means that the steel is an 18/8 stainless steel and made up of at least 50% iron.
By understanding these properties of stainless steel, you’ll be able to spot high-quality sinks from poorer ones. It can also save you a lot of money when comparing sinks from multiple brands.
Gauge (thickness of the material)
“Gauge” refers to the thickness of the stainless steel metal for the sink. Don’t get confused; the lower the number of a gauge is, the thicker it is and vice versa. In this case, always remember that less means more when measuring the gauge of a sink.
The gauge of the material will range from 16-22 gauge with the 16-gauge one being the thickest. While some people argue that the thickness of a sink does not matter, having a thicker sink would mean that it is more sound-absorbent.
It is significantly less noisy than thinner-gauge sinks as it “absorbs” the sound of running water in your sink or when the garbage disposal is activated. As a rule of thumb, high-quality stainless steel sinks are in between the 16 to 18 gauge range.
Insulation and coatings
Stainless steel sinks are usually covered with sound insulation layers or coatings to help reduce noise.
Coatings also help to reduce condensation buildup on the bottom of the sink. Having the coating would mean that there won’t be moisture issues under your sink which can build up mold if there is moisture.
It is important to know that your sink may or not come with any insulation or coating. These are usually add-ons when you purchase a sink but it’s worth it if you don’t want to get annoyed by the noisy sound of stainless steel sinks.
Finish refers to the surface of the stainless steel material. A mirror finish has a polished look to it and feels smooth. You can also opt for a matte look where the surface looks “brushed” rather than smooth.
With the exception of polished mirror finishes, you will be able to notice the grain direction of a stainless steel sink which results from the finishing process.
The advantages of stainless steel
- It is cheap and affordable for homeowners and builders – High-end stainless steel options will cost more; however, most stainless steel sinks are affordable and are just as high-quality as every other sink on the market – if not better. Builders can also buy stainless steel sinks in bulk to improve their profit margin.
- Perfect for homeowners who want a cheap but durable sink – Stainless steel sinks with thick gauges make zero to little noise when running water or preparing food. It is also extremely durable which makes it perfect for kitchen sinks as it won’t crack or chip.
- Very light and portable – Stainless steel is relatively light when compared to other sink materials. For instance, a large 34-inch wide sink is easy to be moved around if it is made out of stainless steel; it’s very difficult to do the same task with stone-based sinks.
- Easy maintenance – Stainless steel surfaces are extremely easy to maintain and take care of. All you need is a regular household cleaner with a cloth to clean and polish a stainless steel sink.
- It is resistant to rust – Thanks to stainless steel’s resistance to corrosion, rusting is not a thing that you should worry about when purchasing a kitchen sink.
- Lasts for a very long time – If you are looking for a sink that will last you for 20-30 years, stainless steel sinks can do that for you easily. It will even last longer than that if you take proper care of it!
Maintaining a stainless steel kitchen sink
Knowing how to maintain a kitchen sink will help you to maintain its original shiny appearance as well as improving its longevity down the years. As a bonus, you’ll also save a lot of money along the way!
Before you do anything, it would be wise to consult the manufacturer’s cleaning and care recommendations. You don’t want to do anything that would void the manufacturer’s warranty or aftercare policies.
Fortunately, warranty policies are uniform among manufacturers so you shouldn’t be hung up too much on it.
When cleaning your stainless steel sink, make sure to avoid aggressive or acidic cleaners and avoid scrubbing the surface too vigorously. Doing these can avoid in scratches or stains on the surface.
Also, never use a steel wool to scrub the sink’s surface. Small bits of steel from the steel wool will be embedded into the sink’s surface which will rust over time. The rust will stain your sink and is incredibly hard to remove – don’t do it!
If scrubbing has to be done, make sure that you go with the grain instead of against. Doing this would maintain the surface’s shine instead of being scratching it.
Common house cleaners and detergents contain chloride compounds that are not good for stainless steel. Fortunately, chlorides are water soluble. This means that a thorough rinsing of your sink is more than enough to remove the chlorides from the surface of the sink.
An important thing to know is that soap scum may appear on your sink’s surface after a few weeks of using it. If you’re fine with it, then you may ignore it. If not, wipe your stainless steel sink with a cloth every day or once a week to get rid of water spots and soap scum.
Choosing the best sinks for your kitchen
Over here at BuildMat, we pride ourselves in only supplying high-quality materials for your kitchen appliances.
Our products come with a 5-year warranty as well as being 100% locally owned and operated. Our products are also quality-tested extensively according to ISO9001 standards.
We’re having a sale right now of up to 50% for kitchen sinks!
Make your decision now by clicking here to go our products page.
To learn more about home appliances, head over to our blog where we have guides and how-tos for builders and homeowners.