Evan’s Corner: In Conversation with Esther/NAVA

Written by: Evan Lowenstein
In October it was great to have hosted Esther Anatolitis, the Executive Director of NAVA, at my home in Melbourne.
She was conducting a fact-finding tour of Melbourne and regional Victoria and so I managed to spend a couple of hours with her.
Since Lowensteins is the pre-eminent financial and business adviser to the arts community, we are in a great position to be able to brief NAVA on some of the issues facing artists today with regards to taxation and the need for tax reform.
Subject to the calling of an early election, we agreed to form a delegation early next year to meet the Minister for the Arts to put our views to him.
We believe that the combination of our business acumen and experience on the ground, with NAVA’s lobbying power, may achieve some good results for our creatives.
Specific issues for us, as mentioned in previous Newsletters, concern the necessary tax reform to change the ‘non-commercial loss provisions’. This occurs when an artist is prevented from claiming their art-related losses against their other income where that other income is more than $40,000 pa and certain difficult tests imposed by the ATO have not been passed.
This $40,000 threshold has not been changed since its introduction, some twenty years ago. This is a very low threshold in our current economy and needs increasing to a more realistic figure.
To illustrate this point, the average wage in 2000 was $34,745 per annum (ABS stats) but by 2018, it was $62,764.
We hope our renewed appeals don’t fall on deaf ears, as has tended to happen in the past.
Other points of discussion with Esther ranged from some administrative issues around resale royalties, copyright and the proper payment of artist fees by regional galleries.
I look forward to continuing my dialogue with NAVA and foresee a future of good cooperation.
Stay posted to hear our combined results.