Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

The Artist known as Bertie Ahern

January 5th, 2010 · 36 Comments · Irish Politics

I’ve spotted from the recently updated list of determinations from the Revenue Commissioners that Bertie Ahern applied for and has been granted an Artist’s Exemption for his autobiography – Bertie Ahern: The Autobiography.

The book was commissioned by Cornerstone, an imprint of Random House for over €400,000 and has been noted for it’s less than outstanding sales.

The Artists Exemption is not without it’s controversy and Mr. Ahern himself as Taoiseach had said it should be retained but capped.

“If you did away with it altogether you might stop a lot of people from being in the creative arts. That wouldn’t be the object, so I think you have to see what the fair thing to do is”.

Thus Bertie gets to benefit from it not being done away with and it has encouraged him to be in the creative arts no less!

The Revenue Commissioners in their guidelines state

Income earned by writers, composers, visual artists and sculptors from the sale of their works is exempt from income tax in Ireland in certain circumstances.

Section 195, Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 empowers the Revenue Commissioners to make a determination that certain artistic works are original and creative works generally recognised as having cultural or artistic merit. Earnings derived from such works are exempt from income tax from the year in which the claim was made.

So the Revenue Commissioners determined that Bertie’s buke had cultural or artistic merit.  Given the amount of money involved I assume that Bertie will not be able to claim relief for all of it as a high income individual?  Only 50% of his income may be applicable for the relief.  (This is the capping that Mr. Ahern referred to in 2005 and Brian Cowen introduced in 2006).

No doubt the accountants can help us determine the tax relief available and the artists and consumers can debate the artistic and cultural merits of the work!



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