Can you sell your books, if you used NDIS-funded supports to help you write them?

If you have used NDIS-funded supports to help you write a book, can you then sell your books? Yes, you can – although please don’t expect to make a lot of money from selling your books, because that is highly unlikely.

If you are an NDIS participant who sells your book…

Let’s say you are an NDIS participant whose NDIS funds have been used to pay for a writer coach, typist and/or other support person, who has been helping you improve or edit your writing, in order to achieve your goals. And that as a result of developing your storytelling and/or writing skills, you have produced a book (any genre).

You offer your books for sale, and are successful in selling some. This means you now have earnings which would not have been possible, had you not received the writing/editing/coaching support that was funded by NDIS.

Any self-published author is unlikely to make a profit through selling their books. Some authors cover their own costs, but they do not earn a lot of money. So it is likely you will earn only a small amount from sales.

But whether your earnings are small or large, you feel  proud that you have developed and used your craft and are a published author. You are rapt that people value your book enough to buy it. Selling your self-published book makes you feel like a “real writer” – because you are.

Who does an NDIS participant need to report their earnings to?

The below information is based on information provided to us by the NDIS hotline on 9/3/23. We do not take any responsibility for the accuracy of this information, but note that on 9/3/23 NDIS indicated to us that it was correct.

you do not need to report these earnings to ndis

If you are an NDIS participant, and are selling books that you have been able to write because of the NDIS support you have received, you don’t need to notify the NDIS about your earnings. This is because the NDIS provides funding for ‘supports’ to assist participants to meet their goals (e.g. improve their wellbeing, or improve their capacity in different areas). As the NDIS does not provide ‘income support’, your earnings are of no consequence to them.

you do need to report earnings to Your income support provider?

If you are receiving income support from Centrelink, an insurance company or another agency that provides income support, and you begin earning money from any source (including book sales), you must declare those earnings to those income support providers. If you are not sure whether you have to declare the small amounts you will be earning from book sales, ask your income support provider.

you may also need to report your earnings to the ato

Your ‘earnings’ from ATO’s point of view includes anything that you earn.

In 2023, if you are earning less than $18,200 per year, you do not need to pay the ATO any tax on those earnings. If you are earning more than that, you need to pay tax on your earnings.

For up-to-date information on how much you can earn without paying tax, see here.

Note: if you intend earning money from selling the books you have written, you may consider starting up a sole trader business. To do that, you would need to obtain an ABN. You can find more information about this here.

Relevant links/info for NDIS participants

The above information is based on the information provided to me 9/3/23 by an NDIS hotline staffer who checked their answer with their manager several times to ensure it was correct, so I am confident it is correct. If you would like to ask the NDIS yourself call the hotline on 1800 800 110.

Image: Copyright S W Kane.

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