White Sky, the full-service accounting firm for the music and entertainment industries, has launched a tax division.
White Sky Tax is created in a partnership with Banks Group, a music tax specialist that has worked with the likes of Jet, The Temper Trap, Eskimo Joe, Sneaky Sound System, Kasey Chambers and Tim Minchin.
At launch this week, its services include annual tax compliance; business structure advice and set-up; GST advice and set-up; payroll obligations advice; international tax compliance oversight and royalty audits. Banks Group director Serge Bolzonello leads the new division as White Sky Tax director.
Speaking with TIO, White Sky Group founder and managing director Tom Harris says the tax division is three years in the making. And its arrival comes at a time when homegrown acts are increasingly breaking borders and going global. “Australian bands are reaching international audiences and heading overseas far more regularly which creates a greater need for experts in our field – which is great for us because we love working with artists and going along for the ride,” explains Harris, who co-managed The Temper Trap from 2006 to 2011.
L to R: Tom Harris (Founder and Managing Director of the White Sky Group), Gerry McKenna (Director at White Sky Royalty Accounting), Matt Bird (Partner at White Sky Royalty Accounting), Damien Luscombe (Partner at White Sky Music), John Atkins (Partner at White Sky Music), Serge Bolzonello (Director at White Sky Tax).
The addition of a tax services arm completes the wheel for White Sky, which opened for business in 2002 with a suite of bookkeeping and business management offerings and expanded into royalty and tour accounting ten years later when Gerry McKenna joined as co-director of White Sky Royalty Accounting.
Tax in general is “pretty complicated,” notes Harris on the new division, “but I guess what makes the music industry so tricky is that it’s so unique. International tax laws are different in every country and this affects both touring as well as royalty income for artists. And as the music industry is becoming more and more international, this is now affecting artists, promoters and labels far earlier in their careers than it was even just a few years ago.”
Since opening for business almost 16 years ago, the group has handled all things business and accounting for more than 500 artists, managers, festivals, promoters and labels. Today, the company works with a string of popular artists, from Tame Impala to Gotye, Vance Joy, Guy Sebastian, John Butler, RUFUS, and Angus & Julia Stone and more. Laneway Festival, Spinning Top and Remote Control Records are among its clients.
“In any business, working with people who understand what you do is vital,” adds Harris. “As an artist, manager, festival or record label, the idea is to be creative and focus on your core business. You don’t want to be explaining to your accountant the complexities of how publishing royalties are collected, or how tour promoter deals vary between countries. You want an accountant who can give you advice on these things and knows what to look out for before it’s too late.”