Campaign to Make ‘Iconic’ Awards Tax Free
7 March 2013 at 9:53 am
The Trustee of Australia's most prestigious literary prize, The Miles Franklin Literary Award, has welcomed the support of Australian Green's Leader Senator Christine Milne and 2012 Miles Franklin Award winner Anna Funder in the campaign to make the prize money tax free.
Fund Managers, The Trust Company launched the campaign in May 2012 urging the Government to make the Miles Franklin Literary Award and other 'iconic awards' tax free to show support for Australia's creative arts sector and its top talent.
It says a special tax status for iconic Australian awards would bring them in line with the Prime Minister's Literary Awards, for which the prize money of $80,000 is tax-free.
Simon Lewis, Head of Philanthropy at The Trust Company said: "Miles Franklin's aim, as was the aim of so many others who have established similarly generous prizes, was to support creative artists with the financial means to advance their careers and in turn, advance the arts sector in Australia.
"As guardians of Miles Franklin's legacy, we see the tax on the Award in the hands of the winning artists as unfair and unnecessary. The revenue it brings in is minimal in terms of the Government budget; however, supporting Australia's top creative talent with a tax free status for such awards would be a substantial gesture of support to the artists themselves and the sector as a whole."
"We expect around 20 awards to qualify for tax free status, based on certain criteria proposed for 'iconic awards'. This list currently includes the Archibald Prize and the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize alongside the Miles Franklin Award," Lewis said.
The Leader of the Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne said: "The Gillard Government and the Coalition need to get their priorities right. Taxing prize money for authors and artists raises very little revenue and makes no sense if we value Australia's artists.
"The Parliamentary Budget Office shows that if the Gillard Government stopped taxing nationally significant arts awards it would cost $160,000 a year over the forward estimates.
"This is a small cost to the taxpayer but a massive investment in Australian artists and the vibrancy of our arts culture.
"While Labor and the Coalition bicker about a budget surplus, the Greens have argued time and time again that we need to support our authors and artists to encourage them to grow and prosper and tell Australian stories.
"The Minister for the Arts Simon Crean is releasing the government's long awaited National Cultural Policy next Wednesday (13 March). This initiative should be a part of it."
Anna Funder, who won the award in 2012 with her novel All That I Am, backed the campaign and said: "It seems strange that TattsLotto and blackjack and the Melbourne Cup and other gambling winnings are tax free, when writers' awards are not.
"Writing is at least as much of a gamble, and has a lot more social benefit to the nation – we should encourage writers – who generally have other jobs that are taxed – and not tax them when they receive this recognition."
The Trust Company recently announced the prize money for the Miles Franklin Literary Award would rise to $60,000 this year (up from $50,000 in 2012).
To qualify for tax free status an 'iconic award' needs to have:? An independent judging panel, ? longevity – creative art prizes that have been established for more than 20 years, ?a prize value of $20,000 and over (with the tax exemption capped at $100,000)? a call for submissions from the public? and a national scope.
Awards that may be eligible are: ?
ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Award?
Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing?
Clemenger Contemporary Art Award?
Dobell Prize for Drawing?
Doug Moran National Portrait Prize?
Keith and Elizabeth Murdoch Travelling Fellowship?
Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarships?
Miles Franklin Literary Award?
Mosman Art Prize?
National Aboriginal & Torres Straight Islander Art Award (Telstra Award)?
Portia Geach Memorial Award?