Opinion: Incentivise Conferences with 150% Tax Deductibility
Live, in-person “real” conferences are gradually starting to happen again which is great to see. Covid 19 continues to present many challenges to organisations wishing to host a conference and even to delegates wanting to travel and attend one. As immunisation increases the situation will inevitably improve but what is needed immediately is a stimulus to get organisations booking conferences again and providing incentive for delegates to register and attend.
At CCM we are advocating the immediate introduction of 150% tax deductibility for expenditure associated with hosting or attending a conference.
Yes, there is a precedent. In 1981 the Federal Government wanted to encourage investment in and production of movies and film production in Australia. They introduced the 10BA scheme which, when first introduced, allowed investors to claim a 150% tax concession. The scheme accepted new applicants through until July 2007 and the concession was gradually reduced over time. Productions under the scheme continued through until June, 2009.
The 10BA scheme worked. From FY 1980/1 until 1987/88 productions attributed to the scheme totaled $959.7 Million (in 1980’s dollars). A total of 896 projects took advantage of the 10BA scheme, including 227 feature films. Those 227 films represented 92% of all Australian features produced over the period.
There is no doubt that a 150% tax concession for conferences would provide an immediate and desperately needed stimulus to the Australian Conference industry.
There would need to be some rules, for example, the conference would have to be held in Australia, be of at least 2 days duration, be booked at a recognised conference hotel or convention centre and be held within a specified period – perhaps by end of FY 2023. Simplicity would be a key factor to the success of the scheme. This would be very easy and cost-effective to introduce – there is no need for dedicated administrative resources as tax accountants and the ATO would effectively manage the scheme. There is of course a cost, being reduced taxation revenue to the Commonwealth, but there is no cash outlay and the resulting increased economic activity would increase GST and other tax receipts.
If you get the chance to support this idea, especially to members of Federal Parliament, please do so.