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Income averaging for special professionals 2014–15

Information about types of professional income and how to work out the tax payable with income averaging.

Last updated 28 May 2015

Who is a special professional?

A special professional is an author of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, an inventor, a performing artist, a production associate or a sportsperson. Theatre entrepreneurs are not special professionals.

The expression 'author' is a technical term from copyright law. In general, the 'author' of a musical work is its composer and the 'author' of an artistic work is the artist, sculptor or photographer who created it.

Author or inventor

If you are employed as an author or inventor, you are a special professional only if you are engaged or commissioned to produce one or more specified works, or to invent one or more specified inventions, and successive engagements or commissions do not result in continuous employment over a substantial period of time. This means that journalists, draughtspersons and graphic artists do not qualify as special professionals simply as a result of their ordinary employment.

Performing artist

You are a special professional if you use intellectual, artistic, musical, physical or other personal skills in the presence of an audience, or you perform or appear in a film, on a tape or disc, or in a television or radio broadcast.

Production associate

You are a special professional if you use artistic rather than technical skills in the production. The people who qualify as production associates are specified in the definition of artistic support to be: an art director, a choreographer, a costume designer, a director, a director of photography, a film editor, a lighting designer, a musical director, a producer, a production designer, a set designer and any person who makes an artistic contribution similar to that made by any of these people.


You are a special professional if you compete in sporting activities where you primarily use physical prowess, physical strength or physical stamina. A navigator in car rallying, a coxswain in rowing or a similar competitor is also a special professional.

You are not a special professional if you coach or train competitors, umpire or referee sport, administer sport, are a member of a pit crew in motor sport, a professional golf caddy, own or train animals, or are a sports entrepreneur.