Musicians Are The Root Of All Tax-Dodging Evil

Music, Musing

I’ve been hot under the collar recently after learning Tony Abbott & the ATO think musicians earn a mozza.

Thankfully, this story exploded alongside the Bronwyn Bishop ChopperGate saga, so I got to enjoy my blood pressure really going to town.

Then Tonedeaf reported that the ATO were going to crack down on musicians (!)

After comedian Luke Ryan tweeted at the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to question the ‘Stephanie’ example, they provided Ryan with a link to a page of taxation statistics.

So, thank you ATO. Those figures are very interesting.

Did you know, in 2013, there were…

5,300 “Music Professionals”
1,960 were female (hi Delta!)
3,340 were male (hi Barnsey!)

Between them, they made $252,995,483 … giving them an average annual wage of $47,735.

In November 2013 the ABS stated the average Australian wage was $77,142.

Which means the “Music Professionals” earn $30,000 less than the average Australian.

But because ATO provided this list as a spreadsheet, you can figure out the average wage for “Music Professionals” per tax bracket (how excitement!):

No. of workers .. Average Annual Wage
1,250 ……………. $9,445
1,400 ……………. $26,714
1,840 ……………. $56,872
725 ………………. $103,485
85 ………………… $283,747

I’m still trying to figure out where “Stephanie” fits into all of this (she who earns $300,065 according to the ATO).

But 810 “Music Professionals” earn above the average Australian wage, so it’s obvious they’re well off. Even though the majority, those slogging away every day, all 4,490 of them, don’t.

600 “Music Professionals” had employer superannuation contributions … so they DEFINITELY weren’t musicians. If all of the “Music Professionals” worked for an employer, there would have been an extra $20 million in superannuation paid (at 9.5%).

Over 25% of those earning $80,000 or more had employers who made superannuation contributions. Those earning less than $37,000? Only 4% got any Super.

On the topic of superannuation … we taxpayers are bending over to provide former politicians with golden eggs once they’re out of office.

For example:

  • John Howard laughs at you on his $250,000 annual pension;
  • Kevin Rudd mutters in Chinese while counting his $200,000 annual pension;
  • Tony Abbott (some time next year onward) will smirk as he receives his $200,000 annual pension;
  • Joe Hockey (when he’s booted out at the same time) will receive a $180,000 annual pension. That’s a lot of cigars.

All of these FOR LIFE. For doing nothing. Every year, our taxes pay $45 MILLION dollars for those who were elected before 2004 and selflessly slaved between 37 and 76 days a year in parliament* before being booted out … so that they can then sit on their asses in their retirement. *actual number of least to most parliament sitting days from 2004 – 2014.

I digress.

The accepted “Poverty Line” annual wage for an individual in Australia is $20,800.

Over 1,000 “Music Professionals” are living under the poverty line.

A reminder, the average wage for “Music Professionals” (which includes those working in the industry for employers) is $47,735.

When you factor in UQ’s Musician Wellbeing Study where the average income from MUSIC for MUSICIANS was a paltry $12,000, you realise the majority of these ATO incomes come from “supplemental” work. Or in other words, a job to support the lifestyle of a musician.

A recent Australian Music Industry Network survey found the majority of their members (musicians) spent an average of $150 / week on their music careers. That’s $7,800 of their already average low wage of $47,735 that they sacrifice in the name of art.

When musicians tour, they usually hire a van, with the average annual spend around $1,000. Again, that’s more money out of their constantly shrinking $47,735 average annual wage.

When Speakers of the House of Representatives wish to attend a party fundraising function that has nothing to do with their job, they’ll spend an average of $5,000 on helicopter fees … all charged to the hapless Australian public. Dammit! I’ve digressed again. Ah, who cares.

The base salary (BASE = minimum) for an Australian politician is $195,130. Then they get their “away-from-home-living-allowance” perks. And helicopter vouchers.

This means it would take four years for the average Australian “Music Professionals” to make the annual wage of a backbencher. And they don’t get bonus pay for playing away from home – they have to shell out for the privilege.

When it comes down to it, we should all thank the ATO for investigating musicians to get those hard-to-find tax dollars to help support our down-on-their-luck politicians. Did you know poor little Tony Abbot had to visit a hospital with cancer patients so he could claim travel expenses to a Liberal party fundraiser. True. He did. Tony Abbott’s visit to cancer hospital used to ‘justify’ fund …

At least by pursuing those evil musicians the ATO will be able to rub more coins together than from the 33% of top Australian companies that pay less than 10% tax.

Top 33, Less than 10%.

I mean, there’s only about $8 BILLION to be collected from those carbon-loving pricks.

But why bother chasing James Hardie (which made over $200 million profit last year) or its CEO (who earns $12 MILLION annually) for the tax they should have paid … instead of the ZERO tax they did pay?

It’s the musicians who have all the money!

Go get ‘em ATO. Tony will be smiling over you.

Smirking. I mean smirking.

Further reading: Australian MPs Now Among Highest Paid In The World (from 2013).


5 thoughts on “Musicians Are The Root Of All Tax-Dodging Evil

  1. Any link to an article about ATO pursuing musicians for tax-dodging? The article is funny (depressingly funny – you gotta laugh really) but where’s the link to what the article is purportedly about? Tax dodging evil musicians. I remember something in the news about the ATO wanting o crack down on undeclared royalty payments, but maybe I missed something more recent.

  2. Isn’t Jimmie Hardie a Dutchman like our CITY OF LONDON born Crusader Abbott who thinks he is Australia’s Prime Minister and along with His Royal Highness Bill Short Circuit knew more about the crash of #MH17 when it happened than any OCSE investigator – When Will NATO send #MH370 back to Malaysia from Diego Garcia or was #370 the plane that the UKI MIG’s shot down over the Donbass, the window behind the rear door was blocked out with a blank, this didn’t match #MH17. The Dutch love the Tax Free economy of Diamonds and Drugs and home of Shell that keeps Western Europe warm with North Sea gas while the Ossies in Bulgaria Greece and Ukraine self Immolate at the cost of imported LPG for the sake of the EU boycotting Gazprom.

    Expect all of these tight fisted Dutchmen Holiday with George Soros in the Dutch Antilles

    1. I’m not totally sure Tony, but I do love your comment on your Facebook page about this article (which I’m reposting below). Let me know if you don’t want it reprinted, but I love it!

      “You have got to be fucking joking. Musicians in some countries – like Ireland – don’t pay tax at all in recognition of the fact that we struggle to make a crust at all and that our income is so irregular and unreliable. I have always declared every fucking cent I’ve earned even where a $ here or there could have flown under the radar because I believe in the concept of paying tax to support infrastructure and provide safety nets. As far as I am concerned, Tony Abbott is the root of all evil. And yes, when traveling in Bali I met many people from other countries that expressed incredulity that this man has ever been voted for in the first place by anyone. I am really angry now!”

      1. If you’re below the taxable threshold you dont pay either. Just because you think you deserve a shit load of money for playing music doesn’t mean people are willing to pay or even want to listen. You’re no different from loads of other self employed people. Life doesn’t owe you a living and you’re as eligible for taxes as the next person. The rant about other people’s pensions says it all really.

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