No change to tax deal for artists


THE MAJORITY of people who benefit from the artists’ tax exemption scheme earn less than €50,000 a year, according to Minister for Arts Mary Hanafin.

She told the Dáil she had “no plans to have any further review of the scheme carried out at this time”.

The scheme, introduced 41 years ago to create an environment in which the arts could flourish, offers tax exemptions for certain artists and writers. The Minister said the scheme “marks Ireland out as unique in Europe in its support for its artists”.

The arrangement was changed in last December’s budget, with a new entry-level income restriction of €125,000 and a full restriction applying at €400,000. The Minister said 82 per cent of people who benefit from the scheme earn €40,000 a year or less.

Asked by Labour arts spokeswoman Mary Upton to examine how the exemption is distributed, Ms Hanafin said she was reluctant to suggest changing the scheme “at all, lest people think we would like to change it entirely”.

They did not want to do that because it was a “good internationally recognised scheme”. She suggested “it is best to let the hare sit”.

Ms Upton said they should review the eligibility of particular individuals who benefited and who “in hindsight, should not have been eligible to avail of it”.