Dealing with your tax affairs can be a stressful business and it can be particularly stressful for struggling artists. But these struggles need not always be the case because over the years artistic exemption, which was brought in by the late Taoiseach Charles Haughey, has proved to be a lifeline for many artists.
So what are the benefits?
If your creative works meet the requirements of the law you may be able to qualify for an exemption of up to €50,000 per year. So the big question that needs to be answered is what areas qualify? Under the legislation a book or other writing:
(b) a play,
(c) a musical composition,
(d) a painting or other like picture,
(e) a sculpture
Some of the literary works that do qualify include: books, screenplays, film scripts, autobiographies, biographies, and other forms of literature. A vital aspect of this law is that you must be a self employed individual in order to apply for the exemption.
How do you apply?
If you’re looking to apply for the exemption you must complete an Artist 2 Form and then post it to the revenue commissioners. In order to strengthen your application you should demonstrate a commercial aspect to your writing and any testimonials in relation to your literary career to date will also add extra weight to your case. Anyone wishing to apply for the exemption should apply for it as soon as possible due to the fact that the exemption cannot be backdated!
Its important to be aware of the fact that, just because you classify yourself as being a writer this does not mean that you’ll automatically qualify for the relief.
For example, in Healy v Breathnach, 3 ITR 496  IR 105 a full time journalist was refused access to the relief on the grounds that his work was not original or creative. So if you’re a journalist or any other kind of hack in all likelihood you’ll not meet the requirements for the relief.
The income levels
Any income that surpasses the €50k is taxable at the usual rates. Expenses which are related to your literary efforts are allowable, e.g., accountancy fees, legal fees, travelling expenses, and other fees.
Even though your income may be exempt under the scheme, you still are obliged to declare your annual income tax return.
What we have on offer
If you’re looking for the full facts when it comes to Artistic Exemption you should subscribe to Tax World where you’ll be able to view our definitive Artistic Exemption Guide. You’ll also be able to access on our library of Tax Guides.