Arts industry calls for tax breaks to spark investment

Actors on stage in theatre performance. | Newsreel
Industry calls for tax breaks to boost investment in live arts | iStock

The arts industry has called for tax incentives to offset new theatre development and production costs, stimulate investment in Australian productions and generate more jobs for the nation’s theatre industry.

Live Performance Australia (LPA), the peak body for the live arts and entertainment industry, has called on the Federal Government to introduce a scheme similar to the highly successful Theatre Tax Relief (TTR) initiative in the UK.

LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson said: “Tax incentives to offset pre-production costs for theatre would help to attract investment and create more jobs for theatre workers while bringing more performances to Australian stages.

“Australian theatre producers compete internationally for investment to capitalise their productions, with 80% coming from offshore investors.

“We are currently much less competitive than the UK or US where the significant costs involved in developing new works can be claimed back through tax rebates.

“The UK TTR offers producers tax relief of between 45 and 50% for theatre production costs. The UK theatre industry says the current rates of TTR introduced in 2021 turbo-charged the sector’s bounce back from the pandemic, stimulating investment in new productions and creating new jobs, delivering a 4 to 1 return on public investment.

“The UK scheme has been described as ‘game-changing’ – it’s exactly the kind of initiative we need to help power up Australia’s theatre industry and to attract private investment in shows for Australian and international audiences,’ Ms Richardson said.

LPA’s proposal for a Live Theatre Tax Offset for the 2024-25 Federal Budget would be available to commercial and not-for-profit theatrical producers and would cover core theatre production costs.

Earlier modelling undertaken by LPA has found that a tax rebate of between 25 and 40 per cent can be cost neutral when set against the additional economic activity generated by the incentive.

Download the LPA Live Theatre Tax Offset proposal.