How to report Australian art sales to the Copyright Agency

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Tuesday 29 November 2011.

Australia Although awareness of the resale royalty scheme is high, there are a few misconceptions when it comes to the details. Some surround what needs to be reported for resale royalty purposes. Judy Grady, the key contact at Copyright Agency for galleries, auction houses and art dealers, shares some of the questions she is frequently asked.

What do I report? The most frequent question is: ‘what is required to be reported?’ The short answer is that you need to report all commercial resales that have occurred since commencement of the scheme on June 9, 2010.

As simple as that sounds, this raises further questions such as:

Does the first resale after 8 June 2010 need to be reported?

Yes, all resales need to be reported. If it is the first transfer of ownership after June 8, 2010, no royalty will be payable. This will be identified through the acquisition question that you answer on the resale report: ‘Seller acquired work post 8th June 2010?

Do resales where the sales price is less than $1000 (including GST) need to be reported?

Yes, but please do talk to Copyright Agency about simplified reporting for these sales.

Do primary sales need to be reported?

No, primary sales do not need to be reported, but you can report them if you wish. They have made provision for this in the reporting system but it is not required. In response to requests from artists, dealers, galleries and auction houses, they have made provisions for this in the reporting system but it is not a legislated requirement.

Defining Consignment, Primary and Resale

They also receive questions regarding consignment and what defines a primary sale. For resale royalty, they advise thinking in terms of the transfer of title of the artwork. For example, if the first (primary) sale is made through an agent, such as a gallery or dealer, it is still a primary sale if title passes directly from the artist to the buyer. In cases where the gallery or dealer purchases the work from the artist and title passes to them, a resale then occurs when they sell the work to a buyer. In this case the resale would be reported to Copyright Agency and if all other eligibility criteria were met, a royalty would be due. In these two scenarios the gallery or dealer will need to be mindful of how these transactions are documented so that it is clear whether or not they are acting as an agent and whether or not they have taken on title of any artwork. Copyright Agency can provide some guidance on this.

Making reporting easier

Please report resales online at After logging in, you will be taken to your dashboard. Click on the ‘Report Resales’ tab at the top of the screen. You can report by completing an online form, or uploading a spreadsheet. Both the spreadsheet and the online form detail the information required to report a resale. If your reporting volumes are low, or if you wish to report resales as they occur, using the online form will be easiest. For larger volumes of resales, you may find it easier to use the spreadsheet.

A few tips for filling in the online form:

if providing dimensions do not type ‘cm’ in the field. You just need to enter the numbers

when providing the sale price, do not type the ‘$’ sign. You only need enter the numbers

make sure you tick the box that warrants that all the information you have provided is correct

to submit the report you need to first click ‘Update’ and then click ‘Submit

after clicking ‘Update’, the details of the resales will appear at the base of the page, providing you with the opportunity to check the details you have entered before clicking ‘Submit’

For further information on simplified reporting for resales under $1,000, or any aspect of reporting, please contact Judy on 1800 066 844or