Gerry Ryan gets tax-free status for his biography


RTÉ BROADCASTER Gerry Ryan has been granted tax-free status under the artists’ exemption scheme by the Revenue Commissioners for earnings from his biography.

The tax-free perk has already been granted to John Hearne for his work in editing on the biography Would the Real Gerry Ryan Please Stand Up, which was published last year.

Penguin Books paid an estimated €100,000 advance for the broadcaster’s revelations about his experiences during nearly 30 years behind the microphone.

Recent reports indicated that sales of the book have been well below target.

Last month the veteran 2FM host agreed to take a 10 per cent pay cut, bringing his RTÉ salary down to about €500,000 a year.

The broadcaster is among 96 new additions to the list of tax-free exemptions for artists, including 37 writers, 26 painters, 16 musicians, nine sculptors and eight script writers.

Also on the list, published yesterday on Revenue’s website are: Prof Ivor Browne for his book on psychiatry Music and Madness; Gerard Mullins for the Life of Adolf Mahr, the prominent Nazi in Dublin in the 1930s; and Stephen Travers for The Miami Showband Massacre, a survivor’s search for the truth.

Others who received “a favourable determination” and will not pay tax are: John Walsh for his biography of former president Patrick Hillery; Robert O’Byrne for The Irish Georgian Society – A Celebration; and Peter O’Reilly for Axel, A Memoirabout Anthony Foley, Munster’s most capped player.

Also on the list is gay equality campaigner Ann Louise Gilligan for Our Lives Out Loud. Her partner Katherine Zappone, who co-wrote the book, has already been granted tax-free status.

Among those granted relief in the musical composition category are Niamh Farrell, Cassandra Fox and Gerard Gosker.

The scheme is unique in the world for allowing artists to keep every cent of their earnings, though they do pay PRSI.

It was introduced by the late taoiseach Charles Haughey in 1969 to help struggling artists and to show that the country valued creative people. Thousands of artists have benefited from the scheme which cost the exchequer almost €138 million in the five years from 1998-99 to 2002.

An amendment to the scheme in 2007 confined earnings to a maximum of €250,000 per annum after which income tax becomes due.