Ready…Set…Go! | Special Professional Income Averaging (SPIA) for Athletes

With the Commonwealth Games just around the corner, we’d like to offer support to our semi-professional and professional athletes by providing them with tailored tax tips and advice.

The Australian Government understands athletes are unique in that they might not generate a consistent income from year to year. Which is great news, because there’s a concessionary tax treatment on the income athletes earn professionally called Special Professional Income Averaging (SPIA). On top of this, there are a range of special allowances so athletes can claim expenses specific to their profession as work-related deductions.

 How does SPIA work?

When a person’s annual income fluctuates, higher tax rates are applied to high income years, while lower tax rates are applied to low income years, which can be a huge disadvantage to the taxpayer. SPIA allows people (in certain professions, including sportspersons) to average their income over a four year period, which more than likely result in lower tax rates if income tends to rise and fall. Good news right?! Ultimately, this concessionary tax treatment protects the athlete by making sure they’re not paying more tax just because their income is irregular.

 What deductions can you claim if you’re an athlete?

But wait, that’s not all – let’s talk about deductions. Every taxpayer can claim deductions for the expenses directly related to the professional costs they rack-up.

Generally, travelling from home to work and vice-versa won’t cut the mustard as a deduction with the ATO. However, tax rulings state that sportspersons are exempt and may be eligible to claim the following journeys as a deduction:

  • matches and competitions;
  • training
  • appointments with medical professionals;
  • airports for sports related travel; and
  • public promotional appearances.

Sportspersons can claim these motor vehicle expenses using either the cents per kilometre or logbook methods.

In addition, a sportsperson may also be eligible to claim the following expenses as deductions:

  • Player association fees.
  • Gym membership fees.
  • Depreciation on training equipment.
  • Maintenance and repairs on training equipment.
  • Massage, physiotherapy and other regular medical sporting related fees.
  • Expenses whilst attending training camps.
  • Player management fees.
  • Purchase of supplements and vitamins.
  • Currency conversion expenses.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Travel allowance provided by an employer.
  • Laundry expenditure.
  • Purchasing of sporting clothing (including boots and protective gear).
  • Air travel and accommodation expenses for sporting related trips.

Download your FREE copy of our Athlete’s Tax Information Series:

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    Want to know more?

    If you would like to find out more information in relation to SPIA please do not hesitate to contact Ben Hitchings our Business Advisory Senior Manager for assistance.

    An Important Message

    While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents.  Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.

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