Withholding for foreign resident performers at festivals
Foreign acts often perform at Australian arts festivals or similar events. Many of these foreign performers are paid fees that are equal to or less than their total costs associated with the performance.
Generally withholding is required from amounts paid to foreign resident performers for providing entertainment in Australia. To help festival organisers in managing visits by foreign performers, we have decided to vary some of the withholding obligations that would generally apply.
Can the withholding rate vary?
A variation of the withholding rate to nil will be granted where we are satisfied a performer or act will have either no, or little tax to pay in Australia.
If a fee paid to a foreign resident company to perform at a festival in Australia is $10,000 or less per touring party member (including support staff), a variation to nil will usually be granted. When applying for a variation on this basis you should provide details of the nature of the costs to be paid by the performers. There will be no need to provide a detailed budget for the visit.
In some instances, variations are granted where the foreign performer's fees exceed $10,000.
End of attention
Each case is considered on its merits. Where fees exceed $10,000 per touring party member (including support staff), you, the payee or their agent will be required to provide a detailed budget for the individual act.
Do foreign resident performers need an Australian business number?
Where a withholding variation to nil is granted, there is no requirement to apply for an Australian business number (ABN). The variation notice we issue will remove the requirement to withhold where the payee does not quote an ABN.
For more information: