Tuesday 3 February 2009

Bills, bills, bills

For some reason I've always liked getting mail, even though it's 99% financial statements and bills. Today was a 100% bill day - $289.30 due for the quarterly council rates on our home, another rate notice for $293.50 due on our investment property, and the dreaded annual state government land tax assessment on the two properties. Even though our home is exempt from land tax, the rental property value had leapt up from $436,000 in 2007 to $540,000 in 2008, and it was given the same valuation for 2009. The percentage rise in land valuation seems excessive - properties sold in our area only increased by around 10% in 2007, declined by about 5% in 2008 and are still heading downwards in 2009. It will be interesting to see if the valuation is lowered in 2010 - if not, the supposed land value will soon be more than we could sell the house and land for!

The increased valuation has an even bigger impact on our land tax liability, due to the $368,000 land tax threshold. Only the value above the threshold is taxed (at 1.6%), plus $100. Our land tax bill has doubled since last year to now be $2,262.80

I'm having a bit of a cash flow crisis at the moment - I only have a couple of thousand cash sitting in my credit union savings account, having poured all my spare cash into my margin loan accounts in the past few months as the stock market crash threatened to generate margin calls. This month my CC bill is higher than normal due to the recent purchase of the swing set for the kids, and next month it will be bigger again due to the purchase of the DIY pool fencing to replace the existing safety fence that is on it's last legs. I also have to pay $806 uni fee for this semester that's due next week...

I can't complain too much, as the cash shortage is largely a result of my decision to salary sacrifice around half my salary into retirement savings. But it sure would be nice to have an extra $10,000 sitting around in a savings account right now.

The only bright note is that the land tax bill only gets a small ($35) discount for paying the entire amount "up front". If I elect to pay the bill in three monthly installments I may just have enough dividend income coming in during March and April to get by. I just hope we don't have any unexpected expenses this year (like when the tree fell on our rental property and we had to cut the rent by half for six months).

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1 comment:

emilywinkle said...

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