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Types of professional income

Last updated 26 May 2021

There are four types of professional income:

Taxable professional income

TPI is the amount (if any) remaining after taking away from your assessable professional income:

  • the total of the deductions that reasonably relate to your assessable professional income
  • the part of any apportionable deductions (for example, gifts to charity which you have shown at item D9 on your tax return) that are to be taken into account in calculating your TPI.

Assessable professional income

Assessable professional income is used in calculating your TPI. It is income arising directly from the activities of a special professional and includes:

  • rewards and prizes
  • income from endorsements, advertisements, interviews, commentating and any similar service
  • royalties from copyright of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work
  • income from a patent for an invention.

If you are an author or inventor only count as your assessable professional income the income you derive from the activities of a special professional where you have been engaged or commissioned to produce one or more specified works, or to invent one or more specified inventions, and any previous or successive engagements or commissions do not result in continuous engagement over a substantial period of time.

The following are specifically excluded from assessable professional income:

  • any income you derive from  
    • coaching or training competitors
    • umpiring or refereeing sport
    • administering sport
    • being a member of the pit crew in motor sport
    • being a theatrical or sports entrepreneur
    • owning or training animals
  • a superannuation lump sum or an employment termination payment
  • payments for unused annual or long service leave on retirement or termination
  • a net capital gain.

Average taxable professional income

Generally, average taxable professional income (ATPI) in an income year is one-quarter of the sum of your TPI for each of the preceding four years. Special rules apply for working out the ATPI if your first income averaging year was less than four years ago. So, in the first four years, ATPI is worked out as follows if you were an Australian resident during the year immediately before your year 1:

  • year 1 = nil
  • year 2 = one-third of TPl in year 1
  • year 3 = one-quarter of the sum of your TPI in years 1 and 2
  • year 4 = one-quarter of the sum of your TPl in years 1, 2 and 3.

If you were not a resident at any time during the year immediately before your year 1,contact us.

Above-average special professional income

Your above-average special professional income is the amount of TPI you earned during the income year that is more than your average TPI. Your tax payable is the sum of tax on your above-average special professional income and tax on your other income (step 1 explains ‘other income’). If there is no above-average special professional income (that is, your TPI is equal to or less than your average TPI) you will pay tax at ordinary rates on your taxable income.

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