Jump to content


Photo

Taxes and Paperwork in Australia


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Kirsty Stark

Kirsty Stark
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 98 posts
  • 2nd Assistant Camera
  • Adelaide, Australia

Posted 26 December 2007 - 10:49 PM

While I've been at uni, I've been working part time in a 'real job' and doing occasional cinematography work on the side. I'm now leaving the steady 9-5 job to try and make a living off of my film work. I have enough saved that I can live well enough for a year without earning any money, so I figured it's time to take the plunge and be available for anything that comes up.

What I'm not sure of is how to deal with taxes and paperwork now that film is no longer a hobby. I have an ABN and have begun giving out written quotes and invoices for every paid job I do, but is there any other paperwork I should be doing? Will I need to start filling out Business Activity Statements?

I'd love to hear from anyone working freelance in Australia as to how they handle the business side of things, or if there is a short course / seminar I can do to find out how to do everything. I was considering doing a general course on running a business at a local college that runs for a few weeks, but don't know if this would be specific enough for film.

Thanks in advance.

Kirsty.
  • 0

#2 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11943 posts
  • Other

Posted 27 December 2007 - 07:34 AM

> I'm now leaving the steady 9-5 job to try and make a living off of my film work.

Madness! Insanity!
  • 0

#3 Sean Morris

Sean Morris
  • Sustaining Members
  • 83 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney / Australia

Posted 27 December 2007 - 09:01 AM

Find a good accountant!... its worth every penny

Cheers
Sean
  • 0

#4 Kirsty Stark

Kirsty Stark
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 98 posts
  • 2nd Assistant Camera
  • Adelaide, Australia

Posted 27 December 2007 - 11:00 PM

> I'm now leaving the steady 9-5 job to try and make a living off of my film work.

Madness! Insanity!


I know!... but it's now or never, before I get used to actually having money. :)

Sean - thanks for the advice. I was planning to visit an accountant for a session or two to sort out any details, and then do most of it myself. Do you go regularly, or is it just an annual visit at tax time?

What records do you keep in between?
  • 0

#5 John Brawley

John Brawley
  • Sustaining Members
  • 834 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Atlanta Georgia

Posted 28 December 2007 - 12:10 AM

I know!... but it's now or never, before I get used to actually having money. :)

Sean - thanks for the advice. I was planning to visit an accountant for a session or two to sort out any details, and then do most of it myself. Do you go regularly, or is it just an annual visit at tax time?

What records do you keep in between?



Hi Kirsty.

You only need to register for GST if you turn over a certain amount per year. It was 50K but they recently put it up to 75K or something similar.

Now if you don't earn that much (and im betting you don't) it's still a good idea to register because it means you can claim GSt credits. if you don't register, you don't get to claim the credits.

So everytime you rent a camera or spend money on something that's Cinematography related, you'll not be able to claim that GST part back.

This also counts for other things you might not have thought of like movie tickets and DVD purchases. You can claim the GST part AND claim 50% of the cost of your personal income tax as well. You can claim lot's of things. Keep all your receipts. Parking, Fuel lunch meetings !

So I suggest you have done the right thing in registering for GST. Reporting every quarter is also best as you'll be more on top of things, especially with regard to any payments you may have to make. It's much harder to make a larger payment a year after the big windfall job.

You should get yourself a crack MEDIA accountant. There are many tricks and I've found ones that don't have an arts or media background don't cut it.

I still use an accountant in Melbourne even though i live in Sydney for this reason. Contact me and I can give you her details if you like.

jb
  • 0

#6 Kirsty Stark

Kirsty Stark
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 98 posts
  • 2nd Assistant Camera
  • Adelaide, Australia

Posted 29 December 2007 - 06:19 AM

Thanks John,

Sounds like it's definitely a good idea to go and see a media specific accountant rather than going to a general business course.

I'll message you to get the details.
  • 0

#7 Sean Morris

Sean Morris
  • Sustaining Members
  • 83 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney / Australia

Posted 29 December 2007 - 12:05 PM

Hi Kirsty,


Usually a dirty great big pile of receipts in a shoe box, and always at the last minute im copying it all into some sort of spreadsheet.
Personally I hate filling in those tax related paper forms ugghh, sends a shiver up my neck, but its best to do asap, then I let the
accountant do the rest of the blackmagic, remember to keep around 30% for income tax too...

Cheers
Sean
  • 0

#8 Matthew Parnell

Matthew Parnell
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 285 posts
  • Electrician
  • Brisbane, Australia

Posted 31 December 2007 - 10:19 AM

Hey,
Congrats on making the dive. Only recently made the dive into full time electrics myself after quite a while hesitating about the decision. You only live once. A large piece of advice i've been given is prepare to be audited every 2-3 years. Muchus fun in that!

If your ever working Brisbane way and need an electric or gaffer give us a yell.

Cheers
Matt Parnell

ps. Great to see so many Aussies here! Happy new year.
  • 0

#9 Kirsty Stark

Kirsty Stark
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 98 posts
  • 2nd Assistant Camera
  • Adelaide, Australia

Posted 02 January 2008 - 01:41 AM

Thanks everyone for your help! I really appreciate it.
  • 0

#10 Glen Alexander

Glen Alexander
  • Guests

Posted 20 January 2008 - 02:42 AM

Thanks everyone for your help! I really appreciate it.


Hi Kirsty,
As a side issue, when you hire actors, check your contract and how it is written. If they are 'direct' hires for your company or 'contract' or 'temp' or 'volunteers'.

Keep receipts for props, etc, anything related to production. I too had a big overloaded box of receipts, that I absolutely dread going through.

The liability insurance is mind boggling, I can send you who I've been working with here in Adelaide and I have some really good contact in LA for insurance/contracts as well.

Have a good non-disclsoure agreement and an idea on how you want to 'pay' people, SAG Indie type of schedule, Aus rates. If they do 'work', music, lyrics, costume, don't let them do it for free, get it in writing, even if it is for a $1, it is a work for hire and then there's no copyright issues or clearance problems.

Edited by Glen Alexander, 20 January 2008 - 02:46 AM.

  • 0

#11 Glen Alexander

Glen Alexander
  • Guests

Posted 20 January 2008 - 02:49 AM

For short business course, unless it is specifically geared towards the film industry it may not be of much value other than the basic. A "three-day" rental is a week, type of thing ha ha.
  • 0


Technodolly

The Slider

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

CineLab

Opal

Rig Wheels Passport

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine

CineLab

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Tai Audio