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BEAT TAX TIME: WAM tax tips, deductions and donations

19 Jun

The end of the financial year is approaching quicker than you can say all the names of WA bands that have owned the last year, but don’t fret and wave your hands in the air for the wrong reasons – we’re here to help with some advice to ease the pain and maximise the savings.


Do yourself a favour and make the most of your tax return by renewing your WAM membership before Tuesday 30 June. If you are in a relevant role in the music industry then your WAM Membership is tax deductible, meaning the small price to pay for a membership is made even smaller!

If you’re a WA musician or music business, you can’t afford not to be a WAM member. You’ll make your money back in no time, plus you’ll be providing support to WAM’s ongoing program of activities that champion West Australian music!

Benefits and advantages include:

  • Priority selection to play WAM-presented paid shows including WAM Festival, State Of The Art, Song Of The Year, Regional Touring Circuits, school shows and workshops and other WAM-related events and programs.
  • Learn for free with the Music Industry Sundowner Series, Higher Ground and more, plus discounted rates on Berklee Online courses.
  • Conference attendance/application discounts for the likes of the WA Music Conference, BIGSOUND and Music Matters.
  • Tour on the cheap with musician luggage allowances with Virgin and Qantas, and the all new Travel Beyond Group partnership with discounted rates on flights, accommodation, ground transport and more.
  • Significant Song Of The Year entry discounts.
  • Be safe with insurance discounts through AON and Marsh.
  • Free and discounted legal advice from Creative Legal, Wrays, Media Arts Lawyers and RubyRed Legal.
  • Crack the east coast with discounts from PR pros Footstomp Music and On The Map PR.
  • CD and event production discounts from Diskbank and CCA, and even free digital distro from Ditto Music.
  • And much, much more, not to mentioning helping champion WA music!

So go on. Don’t hold back. You know it’s good for you, and for the entire WA music industry.



The ATO’s Taxation Ruling TR 95/20 relating to income tax: employee performing artists – allowances, reimbursements and work-related expenses is a useful resource for all musicians, including the full range of deductible expenses for working musicians. See here for more information.

WAM recommends that you seek professional advice on what you can or cannot deduct in your tax returns. Ask your accountant or contact the Australian Taxation Office directly, though here’s a brief guide of potential tax deductions for musicians and others earning income from music industry roles:

  • Reference materials (CDs, DVDs, concert tickets, Foxtel – it’s all research!)
  • Rent and utility costs (at least part of).
  • Stage specific costuming? (finally a possible excuse for that latex outfit).
  • Meals and incidental costs (transport, showcase fees etc) whilst touring.
  • Union fees and professional association fees (like your WAM membership!).
  • Any other costs you incurred in order to earn your income unless specifically excluded.
  • Accountant fees (who may also be able to save you more deductions you weren’t aware of).


As announced last week, the Australian Taxation Office has just granted us deductible gift recipient status. This change of status now allows WAM to accept donations to the WA Music Fund, allowing WAM to deliver its current projects and activities, as well as create new ones. These donations are tax deductible for the donor, which can be anybody, regardless of whether they play a role in the music industry or not.

Help us to help artists from across this state to realise their dreams and creative aspirations, thus playing an important role in enriching the cultural fabric of WA.

All donations of $2 and more are tax deductible, and your donation to the WA Music Fund just might change somebody’s life.

More info here.

So there you go, good luck and hope the experience isn’t too, er, taxing…

Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts Australian Government

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.