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Social Media Influencer Tax in Australia: What You Need to Know

If you’re a social media influencer or Instagram star in Australia, it’s essential to understand the tax implications that come with your online success. Here’s a breakdown of key guidelines and rules for social media influencer tax:

What’s included in Social Media Influencer Tax Return?

For social media influencers in Australia, the income that needs to be shown in their income tax return includes all earnings and benefits received during the financial year. Here’s a breakdown of the types of income that should be reported:

  • Cash Income:

​​​​​​​Any money received directly, whether from brand sponsorships, collaborations, or direct payments from viewers.

For Example: Direct payments from brands for sponsored posts or collaborations.

Key Tips: All cash income, regardless of the amount, needs to be declared. This includes one-time payments, recurring sponsorships, and earnings from direct viewer contributions.

  • Non-Cash Benefits:

The value of non-monetary benefits received, such as free products, services, or experiences in exchange for promoting a brand. These are considered as part of your assessable income.

Example: Receiving free products, services, or experiences from brands in exchange for promoting them.

Key Condition: The monetary value of non-cash benefits is considered as part of assessable income. This includes items like gifted merchandise, travel experiences, or free services.

  • Gifts and Bartering:

If you receive gifts or goods in exchange for services, their monetary value needs to be included in your income tax return. This is particularly important for gifts of substantial value.

For Example: Receiving high-value items as gifts from brands in exchange for promotional content.

Key Condition: Even if received as gifts, items of substantial value obtained through bartering or in exchange for services need to be included in the income tax return.

Suggested Read: Can You Claim Gifts of Money under Donation Tax Deduction? Find Out Here

  • Endorsements and Sponsorships:

Income received from endorsing or sponsoring products or services on your social media platforms.

For Example: Earnings from endorsing or sponsoring products, services, or events on social media platforms.

Key Condition: Income generated through brand endorsements and sponsorships is taxable. Both monetary compensation and the value of any associated benefits must be declared.

  • Monetized Content:

Revenue generated from monetized content, such as ads, on platforms like YouTube or Twitch.

For Example: Revenue generated from ads on YouTube videos or Twitch streams.

Key Condition: Any income derived from monetizing content, including ad revenue, should be included in the income tax return.

  • Affiliate Marketing Earnings:

Income earned through affiliate marketing where you receive a commission for sales generated through your unique affiliate links.

For Example: Commission earned through affiliate marketing programs.

Key Condition: Income earned through affiliate marketing, where influencers receive a commission for sales generated through their unique affiliate links, is part of assessable income.

  • Donations and Crowdfunding:

If you receive donations or crowdfunding contributions, these amounts should be declared as income.

For Example: Financial contributions from followers through platforms like Patreon or direct donations.

Key Condition: Money received through donations or crowdfunding is taxable income and needs to be reported.

  • Event Appearance Fees:

Any fees received for appearances at events or functions related to your influencer activities.

For Example: Payment received for attending and promoting events, launches, or functions.

Key Condition: Fees received for appearances at events related to influencer activities are considered income and should be declared.

  • Income from Online Courses or Subscriptions:

If you offer online courses or have subscription-based content, the income generated should be reported.

For Example: Revenue generated from selling online courses or subscription-based content.

Key Condition: Income from these sources is taxable and should be reported in the income tax return.

  • Travel and Accommodation Benefits:

The value of travel and accommodation benefits received for business-related activities. These may include trips provided by brands for promotional purposes.

For Example: Sponsored trips or free accommodation provided by brands for promotional purposes.

Key Condition: The value of travel and accommodation benefits received for business-related activities is part of assessable income.

  • Any Other Forms of Compensation:

Any form of compensation, whether monetary or non-monetary, received as a result of your social media activities.

For Example: Receiving compensation in the form of event tickets, exclusive access, or other non-monetary perks.

Key Condition: Any form of compensation, whether monetary or non-monetary, related to social media activities should be declared.

It’s crucial for social media influencers to maintain accurate records of all income sources, including invoices, payment receipts, and details of non-cash benefits received. Proper record-keeping helps in ensuring accurate reporting and compliance with Australian tax regulations. If in doubt, consulting with a registered tax professional can provide personalized guidance on income reporting and deductions.

Social Media Influencer Income Tax Obligations:

Any income over $600 in a financial year from platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or others is taxable. The moment you start posting with the intention of making money, you’re considered to be running a business according to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). 

Key Conditions for Recognizing Your Social Media Activities as a Business

There is no single rule to follow in order to recognize your social media activities as business. Several factors work in the decision making process. Some of the key criteria included:

  • Posting with Profit Intent:

If you start sharing content on social media with the aim of making money, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) considers this as the beginning of a business venture.

  • Consistent and Systematic Engagement:

Regular and systematic involvement on social platforms, where you consistently post and interact, adds weight to the recognition of your activities as a business.

  • Commercial Focus:

If your social media content has a noticeable commercial purpose, like promoting products or services for financial gain, it contributes to the ATO recognizing your efforts as a business.

  • Intent to Engage in Business:

Beyond casual posting, having an intention to actively participate in business activities and potentially earn income is a factor the ATO considers.

  • Profit Motivation:

Demonstrating an intention to profit from your social media endeavors strengthens the case for recognizing your activities as a business.

  • Repetition and Regularity:

Regularly repeating similar kinds of social media activities, conducted in a businesslike manner, adds to the likelihood of being recognized as a business.

  • Businesslike Organization:

Planning and organizing your social media efforts in a manner consistent with business practices, including factors like size and scale, supports business recognition.

  • Nature of the Activity:

The ATO looks at whether your social media engagement is more in line with a hobby, recreation, or a sporting activity, influencing the determination of business recognition.

How to Get an ABN as a Social Media Influencer in Australia

Step 1: Check Eligibility Ensure you meet the criteria for obtaining an ABN. Generally, if you’re conducting business activities, you’re eligible.

Step 2: Gather Information Collect your personal details and specifics about your influencer activities, such as the nature of your content and your contact information.

Step 3: Visit ATO Website Go to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website here.

Step 4: Start the Application Find the ABN registration section and choose the option for individuals.

Step 5: Complete the Form Fill out the online application form. Be ready to describe your business or influencer activities.

Step 6: Provide Supporting Documents Some cases may require additional documents. Check if the ATO needs proof of identity or other supporting information.

Step 7: Submit the Application Once your form is complete, submit it online.

Step 8: Wait for Approval The ATO will review your application. Approval is typically quick, and you might get your ABN on the same day.

Step 9: Check Your ABN Details Double-check the ABN details upon receiving it. If there are errors, contact the ATO to correct them.

The ABN application is free. Avoid third-party services charging fees for assistance. The process is user-friendly, and you can complete it independently on the official ATO website.


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    Social Media Influencer Tax Deductions 

    Social media influencers in Australia can claim deductions for various expenses related to their influencer activities. Deductible expenses are those incurred in the process of generating assessable income. Here are common deductible expenses for social media influencers:

    Internet Expenses:

    Claim costs related to the internet, including domain name registration, hosting, blogging software, and downloading media for your blog.

    If your blogging business is home-based, you may deduct a percentage of your home internet service costs.

    If you operate from a dedicated office outside your home, you can claim the entire internet charges.

    Computer Equipment:

    Self-employed bloggers can file a claim for an immediate tax deduction until June 30, 2019, for business-related capital equipment costing less than $20,000.

    This includes desktops, laptops, wireless routers, keyboards, mice, monitors, webcams, and digital cameras.

    After July 1, 2019, the cost threshold drops to $1,000 per item.

    Office Expenditures:

    Claim a tax deduction for a portion of your home’s rent or mortgage interest if you designate a specific room in your house as an office for your blogging business.

    Ensure the claimed percentage is reasonable in relation to the total property size.

    Home-based bloggers can deduct costs associated with maintaining the space, such as water, gas, electric, and gas bills.

    Suggested Read: Work from Home Tax Deduction In Australia: Check Your Eligibility

    Expenses Associated with Communications:

    Claim business-related landline and mobile phone calls.

    Deduct a proportion of the mobile phone’s cost.

    Office Equipment:

    Deduct the cost of office furniture, including desks, chairs, and filing cabinets, using the $20,000 immediate asset write-off (until June 30, 2019).

    Merchandise and Stationery for the Office:

    Receive a tax deduction for stationery and office supplies used in your blogging business, including business cards and letterheads.

    Advertising, Promotion, and Design:

    Claim costs associated with branding, such as blog design, advertising, logo creation, promotional giveaways, and search engine optimization services.

    Other Costs:

    Potentially get reimbursement for additional expenses, like recycling photos or hiring a professional photographer for headshots.

    Deduct expenses for hiring an accountant for tax return preparation or financial advice.

    Online Courses and Subscriptions:

    Fees for courses, workshops, or subscriptions related to skill development or industry knowledge are deductible.

    Conditions: Deductible if the courses enhance professional skills and are directly relevant to the influencer’s business activities.

    Professional Membership Fees:

    Memberships in industry associations or professional organizations are deductible.

    Conditions: Deductible if the membership relates to the influencer’s field of business and enhances professional capabilities.

    Products and Props for Content Creation:

    Any Purchases of items used specifically for creating content, such as props, clothing, or beauty products are deductible.

    Conditions: Deductible if the products are essential for business-related content creation.

    Travel Expenses:

    You can claim the costs associated with business-related travel, including flights, accommodation, meals, and transportation.

    Conditions: Deductible if the travel is necessary for business purposes. Keep detailed records, and only claim the business-related portion.

    Photography and Videography Costs:

    You can claim the Fees for hiring a professional photographer or videographer for content creation.

    Conditions: Deductible if the services are used for business-related content production.

    Accounting and Tax Preparation Fees:

    Fees paid to a professional accountant for tax advice or preparation services is deductible.

    Conditions: Deductible as they relate directly to managing tax obligations.

    Education Expenses:

    You can claim Costs for educational courses or workshops related to improving skills as an influencer.

    Conditions: These expenses Deductible if the education enhances professional capabilities and is directly relevant to the influencer’s business.

    Which Expenses You Can’t Claim?

    Deductible expenses are those incurred in obtaining assessable income.

    Expenses for personal or domestic purposes, such as meals, trips, and gym memberships related to blog content, are generally not claimable.

    It’s crucial for social media influencers to keep detailed records, such as receipts and invoices, to support their claims for deductible expenses. Additionally, expenses should be directly related to the influencer’s business activities to qualify for deductions. If in doubt, consulting with a registered tax professional can provide personalized guidance on deductible expenses and compliance with Australian tax regulations.

    Social Media Influencer Tax and GST Guidelines

    Influencers registered for GST must provide tax invoices for sales exceeding $82.50 (including GST). Tax invoices should include specific details, including the words “Tax Invoice,” the seller’s ABN, the date of issue, a description of the goods or services, the GST amount, and more.

    GST Credits:

    Registered influencers can claim GST credits on business-related purchases, such as equipment, advertising expenses, and other input taxed supplies. Ensure that the purchases are related to the influencer’s business activities and that they have valid tax invoices.

    BAS Lodgment:

    Registered influencers need to lodge Business Activity Statements (BAS) either annually, quarterly, or monthly, depending on their turnover. The BAS includes reporting of GST collected on sales and GST credits claimed on purchases.

    Non-Cash Consideration:

    If influencers receive non-cash consideration (e.g., free products, services, or experiences), they need to determine the GST-inclusive market value for GST purposes. Non-cash benefits may be included in the influencer’s GST turnover.

    International Transactions:

    Social media influencers may need to account for GST on services imported from overseas. The reverse charge mechanism may apply to certain imported services, where the recipient is responsible for remitting the GST.

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      • Jaxon Rylah

        Jaxon Rylah, an Australian of diverse heritage, brings a wealth of expertise to his role as an Author at Taxly.ai. With over 5 years of experience in the field, Jaxon's deep understanding of accounting principles and regulations allows him to provide...


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