Australia/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.5 Tax laws

There is no specific tax relief scheme for artists in Australia, although this is something that has been discussed off and on for many years.  A report in 2008 by Brett Freudenberg of Griffith University in Queensland, entitled The current Australian tax treatment of the arts industry provides useful coverage of the approach taken to artists and arts companies by the Australian Tax Office and the Federal Department of Finance.  The report, together with other reports on artists and taxation, is available on the Arts Queensland website at

Tax incentives to invest in film and television production

As described in section 1, the Commonwealth Government has offered a package of tax incentives for screen producers since the 1980s. 

The Australian Screen Production Incentive is the Australian Government’s primary mechanism of supporting film and television production.

It provides generous tax incentives for film, television and other screen production in Australia and is available in three streams:

  • the Producer Offset, to encourage the production of Australian film and television projects.
  • the Location Offset, a 16.5 per cent rebate which supports the production of large-budget film and television projects shot in Australia
  • the PDV Offset, a 30 per cent rebate which supports work on post, digital and visual effects production (PDV) in Australia, regardless of where a project is shot.

The Producer Offset is a rebate on the production expenditure incurred in Australia when making Australian film and TV, potentially worth up to 20% of Australian spend in the case of television and documentary, and up to 40% in the case of film.  The intention of the Offset is to encourage film producers to make films with mainstream appeal that will attract bigger and broader audiences, whereas, the latter two streams were established in order to attract more offshore film and television productions to Australia. For further detail see

Tax incentives to encourage philanthropy

Cultural Gifts Program

The Cultural Gifts Program was established in 1978 as a means of encouraging the donation of items of cultural significance from private collections into public institutions.  This can include books, visual and decorative arts, Indigenous arts and cultural artefacts, social history and scientific collections and archival material.

Donors are eligible for tax incentives in that the market value of the gift is fully tax deductible, with the deduction able to be spread over a period of five years.  Gifts given under this scheme are also exempt from capital gains tax.  The market valuations are provided by independent valuers who are approved by the program.  Over the years the program has stimulated over $600m in donations to public cultural institutions.  The program is administered by a secretariat in DEWHA in accordance with the gift provisions of the income tax and with the advice of an expert committee, the Committee on Taxation Incentives for the Arts.  For further information see

Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs)

The Commonwealth government has a category of fund, recently retitled Private Ancillary Fund, which is a vehicle for private philanthropy.  PAFs can be established either as a bequest or as a trust, on a non-profit basis, to provide funds or benefits to ‘Deductible Gift Recipients’ (a fund or organisation that can receive tax deductible gifts), which includes relevant organisations in the culture and the arts sector.  The fund can receive donations from the founder and associates of the founder of the fund, and during each financial year at least 5 % of the market value of the fund’s net assets must be distributed.  Funds may apply to be ‘Deductible Gift Recipients’ so that donations into the fund are eligible for tax concessions.  The funds are governed by a set of rules in accordance with the Tax Administration Act 1953.  For further information see


Chapter published: 27-12-2013