Since 1969, Irish-based writers, musicians and visual artists have been exempt from paying income tax on their earnings under the Republic's tax laws. Who knew???? And because of this, why aren't all artists living in Ireland? I wonder if Damien Hirst has a holiday home in the countryside somewhere? Perhaps not if U2 had to move their business out of Ireland in 2006 because of a 250,000 euro cap-off added to the law.
The tax exemption was introduced in 1969 by Prime Minister Charles Haughey to help struggling artists. Fast forward to 2009, and Irish government is trying to rid the country of the exemption in its entirety, aiming to make the system fairer to all its citizens. Irish artists need not feel discriminated against as this is one of the many proposed tax amendments to the system.
The Arts Council across the pond doesn't seem to be too happy about the ordeal, stating that over half of the artists who are beneficiaries have average earnings of less than half the minimum wage. Furthermore, 24% earn only between 10 to 25,000 euros a month. Some believe that this will discourage artists early on in their career.
As disappointing this news may be for many of these artists, I support the government's desire to make taxation fair among everyone in the country. My words of advice, don't quit your day job. Or better yet, for many...get a day job.