Taxation of image rights in Australia: Key points for athletes from the Brisbane Lions decisionCassandra Heilbronn
In Australia, a sportsperson does not have a right of property in their publicity or personality rights. Therefore, to protect any goodwill in their reputation, a sportsperson will generally enter into an agreement granting a non-exclusive licence to a trustee to use and exploit their image.
Two recent decisions handed down in Queensland relating to the Brisbane Lions have shown the importance of ensuring there is a clear separation between payments for use and exploitation of an image, and payments for promotional and marketing services (say through an appearance by a sportsperson).
This article examines:
- the Brisbane Lions case
- the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) treatment of image rights
- the need for properly drafted image rights agreements, and
- the ATO’s proposed "Safe Harbour" for apportionments
Full reviews of the decisions can be found at the bottom of the article for readers not familiar with the facts.
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- Tags: Australia | Australian Football League (AFL) | Australian Taxation Office (ATO) | Brisbane Lions | Image Rights | Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 | Intellectual Property | Payroll Tax Act 1971 (Qld)
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About the Author
Cassandra is a Senior Associate at MinterEllison, Brisbane in the Insurance and Corporate Risk practice group, focusing on sports law, health law and medical negligence, and management liability.