Tax exemptions for writers


Madam, - Liam Reid's report, "Non-fiction books in tax free list", in your edition of March 22nd, focused on better known and perhaps more successful authors - e.g. Ronan Keating and Fergus Finlay - who have benefited from tax exemptions for non-fiction works.

As one of the authors included in the list I would wholeheartedly agree with its publication. However, any inference that the authors listed do not need or merit tax-exempt status for their works should be given some financial context.

My publication Mountjoy - the Story of a Prison was relatively successful (it spent two weeks on the bestsellers list). I researched and wrote this book over four years, spending an average of 15 hours a week of my spare time on it. I received less than €5,000 for the publication. This works out at an average hourly wage of €1.60 an hour at most - a fraction of the minimum wage.

I would hazard a guess that this would put me at the higher end of the scale of those on the published list.

The tax exemptions for non-fiction work of cultural merit goes some way towards recognising people who research and write works that very often make no financial sense. - Yours, etc.,

TIM CAREY, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.