I thank the Deputy for raising the important issue of the artists tax exemption scheme which was introduced in 1969. Under the scheme, the profits or gains accruing to a writer, composer, visual artist or sculptor from the publication, production or sale of his or her work is exempt from income tax.
Under section 195 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, the Arts Council and the then Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht drew up guidelines for determining whether a work within specified categories is an original and creative work and whether it has, or is generally recognised as having, cultural or artistic merit. On receipt of an application for the artists tax exemption scheme, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners is empowered to make a determination that a certain artistic work is both original and creative and has, or is generally recognised as having, either cultural or artistic merit.
A work shall be regarded as original and creative only if it is a unique work of creative quality brought into existence by the exercise of its creator’s imagination. A work shall be regarded as having cultural merit only if by reason of its quality of form or content or both it enhances to a significant degree one or more aspects of national or international culture.
The scheme allows the Revenue Commissioners to make a determination only in respect of artistic works in the following categories: a book or other writing; a play; a musical composition; sculpture; or a painting or other like picture.
Where a determination is not made, in effect, the application is rejected. There is a right of appeal to an independent appeal body in the event that Revenue declines to issue a determination.
The exemption only applies to income taxes and does not extend to VAT. The maximum amount of income exempted from tax is €50,000 per annum.
The names of recipients of the artists exemption together with the art work for which the relief is claimed are published on the Revenue Commissioners website.
I wish to advise the Deputy that although I have not discussed the expansion of the exemption with the Minister for Finance, these matters are kept under review.