PIJI has an ongoing research program into taxation to encourage investment in public interest journalism.

The following two reports investigate an industry rebate scheme, specific to news producers.

1. Guidebook to implement and claim a public interest journalism tax rebate

Research conducted in late 2019 for PIJI suggested that an R&D-style tax rebate for public interest journalism could have a significant positive investment impact. Conservative analysis suggests a benefit-cost ratio of up to 1.90, and as much as $356m additional benefit.

This guidebook is the extension to that initial investigation, and provides guidance on the types of activities and eligibility criteria for a Public Interest Journalism Tax Rebate and serves as a model for policymakers in designing a scheme.

Dr Margaret Simons, Honorary Principal Fellow, Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne
David Pearce, Executive Director, Centre for International Economics
Eddie Ahn, Partner, DLA Piper
Gabrielle Hedge, Solicitor, DLA Piper

2. Tax concessions for public interest journalism

This report, prepared for PIJI by the Centre for International Economics, considers the case for tax concessions to encourage additional public interest journalism, and examines the potential application of the R&D model to the news media sector.

The report makes the following observations:

  • The success of a tax incentive scheme in Australia depends on the associated additionality and magnitude of the public benefits associated with public interest journalism.
    • Additionality refers to the dollar increase in public interest journalism for each incremental dollar of government incentive (or tax foregone in the case of tax credits).
  • Survey work commissioned by PIJI suggests that willingness to pay for PIJ ranges from $1.50 to $2.90 per person per month, which translates to an aggregate willingness to pay of between $380 million and $740 million per year.
  • Preliminary analysis of these data for an illustrative tax incentive scheme suggests that, using additionality of 1, the benefit cost ratio could range from 0.97 to 1.90. Assuming additionality of 1.5 leads to a benefit cost ratio of between 1.46 and 2.84.

These overall results suggest that a tax incentive scheme for public interest journalism is worth serious consideration, with a number of clear avenues for further investigation.

David Pearce, Executive Director, Centre for International Economics

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