ATO Interpretative Decision

ATO ID 2014/41 (Withdrawn)

Income tax

Application of above-average special professional income provisions to individuals who earn income from uploading videos on YouTube
  • This ATO ID is withdrawn. Guidance on the view contained in this ATO ID can be found in Income Averaging for Special professionals (QC 51241).
    This document has changed over time. View its history.

Status of this decision: Decision withdrawn 28 July 2017.
CAUTION: This is an edited and summarised record of a Tax Office decision. This record is not published as a form of advice. It is being made available for your inspection to meet FOI requirements, because it may be used by an officer in making another decision.

This ATOID provides you with the following level of protection:

If you reasonably apply this decision in good faith to your own circumstances (which are not materially different from those described in the decision), and the decision is later found to be incorrect you will not be liable to pay any penalty or interest. However, you will be required to pay any underpaid tax (or repay any over-claimed credit, grant or benefit), provided the time limits under the law allow it. If you do intend to apply this decision to your own circumstances, you will need to ensure that the relevant provisions referred to in the decision have not been amended or repealed. You may wish to obtain further advice from the Tax Office or from a professional adviser.


Can section 405-25 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) apply to individuals who earn income as a performing artist or production associate for videos they upload on YouTube?


Yes. Section 405-25 of the ITAA 1997 can apply to individuals who earn income as a performing artist or production associate for videos they upload on YouTube.


The taxpayer carries on a business of creating cooking and baking videos for upload onto YouTube.

The taxpayer produces, designs, edits, scripts, voices over, films and acts as presenter in the videos for the purpose of up loading onto YouTube.

The taxpayer receives income from Google for their YouTube videos based on a share of advertising revenue and the number of views their videos receive.

Reasons for Decision

Section 405-5 of the ITAA 1997 applies a special rate of income tax to a taxpayer's above-average special professional income. The Income Tax Rates Act 1986 generally sets the specific rate so that the amount of income tax on the top four-fifths of taxpayer's above-average special professional income is effectively four times what would be paid on the bottom one-fifth of that income at basic rates.

A special professional, defined in subsection 405-25(1) of the ITAA 1997, includes a performing artist or production associate.

Subsection 405-25(3) of the ITAA 1997 provides that a performing artist includes someone who performs or appears in or on a film. Subsection 405-25(4) of the ITAA 1997 provides that a production associate includes someone who provides artistic support for the activity of making a film.

Artistic support includes providing services as a director, film editor, production designer or producer (subsection 405-25(5) of the ITAA 1997).

Film is defined in subsection 995-1(1) of the ITAA 1997 as an aggregate of images, or of images and sounds, embodied in any material. This definition is wide enough to capture YouTube videos.

Therefore, the taxpayer is a special professional under the categories of performing artist and production associate pursuant to subsections 405-25(3) and 405-25(4) of the ITAA 1997 respectively, as the taxpayer:

performs or appears in a film, and
provides artistic support in making a film.

Note: 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. Therefore, the income can form part of the taxpayer's assessable professional income for the purposes of subsection 405-20(2) of the ITAA 1997.

Date of decision:  23 October 2014

Year of income:  Year ended 30 June 2014

Legislative References:
Income Tax Rates Act 1986
   The Act

Income Tax Assessment Act 1997
   Section 405-5
   Subsection 405-20(2)
   Section 405-25
   Subsection 405-25(1)
   Subsection 405-25(3)
   Subsection 405-25(4)
   Subsection 405-25(5)
   Subsection 995-1(1)

Income averaging

Business Line:  Small Business/Individual Taxpayers

Date of publication:  19 December 2014

ISSN: 1445-2782

  Date: Version:
  23 October 2014 Original statement
You are here 28 July 2017 Withdrawn