Tax Returns and Advice
As a creative professional you need an accountant who understand what you do!
Our approach to Individual Tax Returns is advisory focused because our clients are special professionals and freelancers with complex affairs. Income derived from various sources and high-value deductions require specialist industry knowledge and extra care.
20 years of experience and great systems make it easier for you to gather the right information too.
That way, we can focus on the things that save you more tax.
When you want more than just a tax return. When you want advice.
Choosing a specialist is key. With over 20,000 pages of tax legislation and interpretative materials, how would you expect a generalist accountant to know all of the tax law that can help someone in the creative industries? Our special approach captures all of the tax benefits available to you. To say we are thorough would be an understatement.
20 Years' Experience
Exclusively for the arts, entertainment, media and creative technology industries. We’ve seen it all… and explained it to the ATO!
Tech Savvy Approach
Our efficient systems make it easier for you to give us the right information so we can focus on formulating advice to save you more tax!
Specialist Tax Knowledge
We keep up with the changes in tax legislation that apply to your activities and can explain it to you in a way that is understandable.
Future Focused Advice
Much more than a tax return. We approach your return as a tax planning exercise to find ways to improve your future outcomes too.
- Video interviews to discuss and improve your outcomes
- Thorough and personalised advice on claiming all the allowable deductions and tax offsets specific to your industry
- Income averaging for all the obscure categories of special professionals
- Prior tax year tax amendments if you missed out on something
- Tax effective planning for fluctuating income and windfalls
- Minimum tax payable on grants, prizes, royalties and advances
- Foreign income and residency advice to avoid double taxation
- Cultural Gifts Program: tax-effective artwork donations
- Small business tax concessions if self-employed
- Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investing and trading
- Capital Gains Tax
- Rental Properties
- Employee Share Schemes
- Managing your PAYG instalments
- Multi-year overdue tax returns (in non-peak periods)
- Advising you of your lodgement obligations: or if not-required-to-lodge.
Creative professionals new to Australia, including skilled immigrants and temporary residents: We patiently explain our system and will carefully consider your overseas income, assets and long-term plans. With us preparing your tax return and speaking with the Tax Office on your behalf, you can be confident that you are doing the right thing.
Why use a general accountant when there are specialists ready to work with you exactly how you you should work with your accountant?
We are awesome to work with.
But don’t just take our word for it, take theirs!
We have worked with Electra Frost Accounting for over ten years and are very happy with the service. Electra and her team have been an integral part of the journey of our business, including the growth we’ve experienced in the last few years. They have ensured that our financials are always in good shape when it comes to reporting time, of course, but I’ve also appreciated their time and patience when it comes to teaching us new systems and alerting us to better ways of managing our financial situation. We highly recommend Electra to our creative business clients, as we work exclusively with creative clientele, and will continue to do so.
Monica Davidson, Creative+Business
Electra has been my accountant since the early 2000’s. That speaks volumes for the service she and her team provide, and for the longevity of her career in this niche market of arts tax law and accounting. Electra has long been familiar with my arts business and this has enabled her to do the very best by me over the years, her intricate knowledge of the Australian tax law has given me great comfort in knowing I will always get the fattest tax return available, with the minimum of pain and suffering. I’ve recommended Electra to many, many of my friends and they too have praised her speed and efficiency with their various businesses.
Tracey Dods, Artist and Wildlife Rescue Non-profit
Dr Clare Milledge
Over the years my employment and my artistic practice have changed and developed and become infinitely more complex. Electra has been there to cast a light into areas unknown to me and I have always been impressed with her intricate knowledge and her deep engagement within her chosen field.
Whether it’s mortgage repayments and negative gearing, calculating HELP debt repayments or expense claims for international per diems, Electra knows exactly what to do.
Additionally, she is highly ethical and strategic when it comes to assisting her clients, she thinks long-term.
I have recommended many creative people working previously with standard accountants to Electra and those that have employed her services have been deeply thankful. Occasionally people have asked me about the costs associated with having a specialist accountant deal with my tax, but they are always negligible in perspective of what I have gained, both financially and professionally.
I now conduct all my tax dealings online via email and Skype with Electra and I couldn’t be happier. There’s no accountant I would ever more highly recommend to an artist.
Dr Clare Milledge, Artist and Academic
Ryan Van Gennip
I have been working with Electra and her fabulous team for over a decade now. They have always gone above and beyond to try and get the best results for both my personal and business tax returns. I highly recommend their services to any musician or music industry organisation looking to get the most out of their business.
Ryan Van Gennip, Rhythm Section Management
Why do creative people need specialist tax advisers?
Arts and creative professionals often have complicated tax returns, with income from various sources and activities which require an experienced understanding of their industry and occupations to ensure the correct tax treatment. Because of the nature of their work, many of their expenses are not ordinarily deductible to other taxpayers. A general accountant is more likely to disallow expenses that they’re unsure of and avoid risk. Whereas, a specialist has the knowledge and confidence to defend your claims on your behalf to the Tax Office, if necessary.
Creatives typically have fluctuating income too. Tax advisers who are deeply familiar with the tax rules for special professionals and arts business make the most of the tax concessions available to you in the low-income and high-income years and can advise how to arrange your affairs as to take advantage of certain benefits in future. Not to mention… it’s just nice to be understood, be taken and not have to explain what you do for a living!
What tax deductions can creative people claim?
The standard tax rules for claiming your business- and work-related expenses still apply: the expense must have been incurred in connection with earning your income, it mustn’t be a private expense, you must have written evidence and whether you can claim it really comes down to your individual circumstances. However, because arts businesses are typically different to other businesses, what might be regarded as a private expense for some taxpayers may be acceptable as a business expense for someone working in the creative industries. Getting it right can save you a lot of tax. But getting it wrong can cost you more in penalties if your arguments don’t pass muster with the ATO. Typical high value (and subsequently high-risk) expenses claimed by creatives include: home office rent and mortgage interest, client meetings, travel expenses, payments to freelancers and other workers, websites, advertising and sponsorship, professional development and research expenses. There can be a lot of grey area around entertainment and home-based expenses, so these expenses must be articulated in tax law in the context of a creative business activity to be allowable. Also, before claiming any expenses in your tax return you may need to decide whether you’re carrying on a business or a hobby. Professional artists who donate their own artworks can claim substantial gift deductions at market value under the Cultural Gifts Program. But only if they maintain the right inventory records. Employees in the music, film and television industries often receive per diems and living away from home allowances for touring and shoots. We often need to take a closer look at these allowances to claim certain expenses with or without receipts. All of this will depend on your individual circumstances so it’s important to keep detailed records of all invoices and the reasons for the expenditures, so they can be up for discussion at tax-time. Or reach out for tax advice before the year-end.
Is my creative income taxed differently to other kinds of income?
People in arts businesses and the creative industries typically receive income which can be taxed differently to general business income. For example, a grant may be paid to you before the end of financial year and before any project expenditure is incurred. To avoid losing so much of your grant in tax, show your accountant the details so they can advise how to spread the income legitimately. There are other complexities in tax law for revenue streams from intellectual property, international activities, sales under consignment or with gallery commissions, crowdfunding campaigns and advances. Employees in the music, film and television industries often receive per diems and living away from home allowances for touring and shoots. We often need to take a closer look at these allowances to claim certain expenses with or without receipts. Of course, we understand all the other categories of income. However, it can sometimes be done a little differently for a creative business or employee.
What are Electra Frost Accounting’s tax qualifications?
Electra Frost and her team know their stuff. Electra is a Chartered Tax Adviser, Qualified Accountant and Registered Tax Agent with two degrees in tax law and 20 years of experience in the arts and creative industries. Her close-working team are qualified accountants (IPA and CPA) with years of experience with creative industries too.
Electra provides oversight, review and quality management of all our tax services to ensure standards of excellence are maintained. This includes monthly seminars and webinars to keep everyone up to date with constantly changing tax laws, and constant collaboration on interpreting these changes in context of our creative clients ‘activities.
Can you also handle capital gains, rental properties and other investments... and everything else?
The answer is a big, broad YES. As highly experience accountants with constantly updated expertise in all areas of tax law relevant to individuals and businesses, and tens of thousands of different people’s tax returns under our belts, we’ve encountered almost every and any combination of tax events known to the Australian Tax Office!
Do you do tax returns for people who aren’t in the creative industries?
We are primarily business accountants and do company tax returns as part of annual business service packages. We service business clients in professional services, e-commerce, retail, manufacturing… and many businesses in the creative industries. However, we only do individual and sole-trader tax returns for those in the artistic and creative industries who can benefit from our expertise. To keep this focus sharp, we don’t accept individual tax return clients who are not in the arts or creative industries.