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Government rejects tax-deductible subscriptions

The Australian Government has rejected the recommendation from the Public Interest Journalism Inquiry to allow news media subscriptions to become a tax-deductible expense.

The response paper to the Senate Inquiry argued the expansion of tax-deductible status to include private expenses had the potential to snowball into further deductions.

“If some private expenses were made tax deductible, it would create pressure for deductibility for a range of other private expenses,” the document said.

The response from the government took note of several recommendations, including the need to fund regional broadcasting and improve media literacy curriculums in schools.

The Senate Inquiry handed down eight key recommendations in February following a tumultuous eight months of hearings, with four of the inquiry’s initial members stepping down.

Recommendations to adequately fund the ABC and SBS were pushed back against in the document, with the government stating it “will always ensure that our national broadcasters are appropriately resourced”.

Reform to defamation, national security reporting and whistleblowing laws were taken on notice by government.

Potential reforms to “draconian” controversial home security will be directed to the Attorney-General. Whistleblowing laws will be addressed within the government’s response to two current inquiries into taxation and whistleblowing legislation harmonisation.

Defamation laws are regulated by the unified agreement of the states and territories as part of the uniform national defamation law regime, however, the government will bring the recommendation to the committee’s attention.

No comment was available from the Communications Minister’s office as the position is currently vacant.

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