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Tax tips for musicians and music workers

I've received a call from a musician for a quote for our individual tax return service this morning. I thought it'd be great to share a few relevant tax tips.

Firstly, it is vital that you keep records and all receipts of your income and expenses incurred in earning income. It helps to have one specific bank account to keep track of all income and expenses related to your musical activities. Then, you can prepare an income and expense summary by using the transactions in the bank account. If you can't do this yourself, we can always step in and help.

Secondly, most musicians travel for work. It is important to keep a travel diary that lists dates, location and reason for being in that location on that day.

Thirdly, to claim motor vehicle expenses, you can claim a maximum of 5000km at 66 cents per km without written substantiation or claim a percentage of all your motor vehicle expenses by keeping a log book for a continuous period of 12 weeks to work out the percentage (unless it is a commercial vehicle).

Here's some common examples of income in the music business: advances and royalties, live performance, synch licensing, merchandise, CD/vinyl sales, grants.

Here's some common examples of expense in the music business: assets like music instruments, costumes, education, bank charges, accounting fees, bookkeeping fees, legal fees, trademarks, registration fees, donations, a percentage of phone, a percentage of internet, printing, public transport, stationery & postage, insurance, workers compensation, income protection, public liability, commission, promotion, recording costs, rent, reference/ research expenses, studio hire, tour costs, flights & accommodation, meals whilst away from home and advertising.

We are happy to serve you and assist you further. Phone to let us know when you'll visit us or email jishinliew@chengco.com.au to get your return done online. Our fees are reasonable and we are willing to beat any quotes you obtain by at least 5%.

The above general opinions were prepared by us at the request of and solely for discussion purpose only. They do not constitute legal opinion and accordingly we accept no responsibility towards any parties who rely on them.