The Artists Tax Exemption Scheme was first introduced in 1969. Under the scheme, the profits or gains arising to a writer, composer, visual artist or sculptor from the publication, production or sale of his or her work is exempt from income tax. Section 195 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 empowers Revenue to make a determination that certain artistic works are original and creative works generally recognised as having cultural or artistic merit. Where a determination is not made in effect the application is rejected. There is a right of appeal to an independent appeal body where the Revenue declines to issue a determination.
The scheme provides that Revenue can make determinations in respect of artistic works in the following categories only:
1. a book or other writing
2. a play
3. a musical composition
4. a painting or other like picture
5. a sculpture.
Where a determination is made by Revenue in respect of a work, income arising from that work, up to a maximum of €50,000 per annum, is exempt from income tax.
Any proposals to extend the Artists Tax Exemption Scheme are a matter for the Minister for Finance and while there are no plans at this point to extend the scheme, I can assure the Deputy that this Government will continue to be proactive in seeking ways to support artists. We recognise the crucial role that the arts and culture play in our nation and have made significant progress on our public commitment to double funding for culture, heritage and the Gaeltacht by 2025. In Budget 2019, funding for arts and culture increased by €22.6m to almost €190m, an increase of 14% on 2018. Initiatives such as the review of the Percent for Arts Scheme, and Social Welfare for Self-Employed Artists which I announced earlier this year, are also providing tangible support to our valued artistic community. The latter initiative recognises the unique creative circumstances of artists in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance and gives them special assistance in their first year out of work, allowing them to focus on their creative output. From this month, self-employed artists in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance for the first year that they are out of work can focus on their artistic work and developing their portfolio, rather than having to participate in the normal labour market activation activities. Artists eligible to apply to the scheme include actors, theatre and film directors, dancers, opera singers, set, costume and lighting designers, musicians, composers, choreographers, architects and street performers.