The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is on a collision course with Aussie music industry figures such as Jimmy Barnes, Iggy Azalea and 5 Seconds of Summer, as it investigates millions of dollars in undeclared music royalties.
As The Herald Sun reports, documents released under Freedom of Information laws show that a sample group of 1000 artists, composers and companies has already uncovered $512,575 in undeclared royalties, with a total of 15,000 individuals and 1000 companies to be checked in total.
The whole process, which is estimated to find more than $8 million in undeclared cash — that’s $1 in every $100 of royalties paid — will see royalty records electronically cross-matched with tax records.
All of the tax breaches in the first sample group were committed by individuals, but many companies are still to be analysed in the rest of the investigation.
The ATO won’t reveal how many individuals have so far been found to have hidden portions of their royalties, and has restricted access to the records to only a small group of investigators.
News of the ATO’s investigation into undeclared royalties comes after Federal Treasury suggested than an average Australian musician takes home over $300K a year, using the example of a stock image woman named “Stephanie”.
The department later confirmed that the case study was a fake, but it remains unclear as to whether or not Stephanie’s fake earnings are also being investigated by the ATO. She better take care when file her tax return.
@marcfennell Yeah, that's Stephanie from 5 Seconds of Summer.
— Andrew Hansen (@andrewjhansen) July 12, 2015