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PKF Australia

Accountants and Business Advisers

YouTube income deemed assessable By ATO

YouTube income deemed assessable By ATO

Taxpayers who earn money by posting content to YouTube will have to declare their income as assessable after a recent ruling by the ATO.

An unexpected source of income for many artists and hobbyists, posting short videos on YouTube has proved to be surprisingly lucrative. Income is derived by allowing Google to run advertisements before or across the bottom of the video clip. The more views a piece receives, the higher the income for the artist. Google typically takes a 40% cut of revenue.

YouTube is a popular forum for hobbyists and performers to share their knowledge or skills by posting video clips. Cooking enthusiasts, comedians and computer game experts have all found YouTube a successful platform for their material. A talented and persistent few have benefited financially from this and the number of people earning income this way is growing.

It’s also becoming popular for these content creators to sign with a digital agency who will sell their YouTube advertising space to interested brands. By doing this, artists are clearly flagging their intention to earn money by creating and posting content.

Taxpayers who generate revenue from YouTube are now deemed to be earning professional income.

“The income the taxpayer receives from Google for their YouTube videos is a reward for providing services relating to their activities as a special professional,” the ATO’s ruling states.

“Therefore, the income can form part of the taxpayer’s assessable professional income.”

The ATO also acknowledges the fluctuating nature of this kind of income. They will allow taxable income to be averaged over several years if the earner has extraordinarily high earnings in a particular year. In this way they are treated like other special professionals like authors and sportspeople.

It’s the repetitive and organised nature of the income earning behaviour that gives it the characteristics of assessable income, meaning that no matter how small scale your YouTube channel is, even if you think it’s a hobby or a bit of fun, if it earns revenue from advertising the ATO are going to take it seriously.

If you have any questions regarding the new ruling or if you have earned income of this type please contact any of our Taxation or Business Advisory specialists around Australia.


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