Creative Bertie avoids tax bill on book

FORMER taoiseach Bertie Ahern will not pay tax on the estimated €400,000 earned from his autobiography thanks to the artists’ exemption introduced by his former Fianna Fáil colleague and political mentor, the late Charles Haughey.

Deputy Ahern joined his daughter, Cecelia, on the Revenue’s updated list of artists exempt from paying income tax on earnings from their work if it is deemed to have “artistic or cultural merit” and is also “original and creative”.

Labour’s Ciarán Lynch said last night: “Whatever about the first criteria, he certainly qualifies under the second!”

He said the former taoiseach’s inclusion in the latest list of artists who qualify for the exemption shows there is “no end to Bertie’s creative prowess”.

Bertie Ahern: The Autobiography was launched last October just a year and a half after he resigned as taoiseach amid controversy over his personal finances and appearances at the Mahon Tribunal corruption probe.

The Dublin Central TD is believed to have received a substantial advance payment of between €360,000 and €400,000 from publishers Random House who describe the book as “frank and revealing” and giving the “truth behind the man who is Bertie” for the first time.

Others writers who are entitled to the perk include the Cork hurling star Donal Óg Cusack for his book Come What May in which he revealed he is gay and actress Amy Huberman for her debut novel Hello Heartbreak.

Mr Ahern joins his daughter and bestselling author, Cecelia Ahern, who has been granted the exemption for earnings from her first novel, PS I Love You which secured her a $1 million deal with US publishers Hyperion and a subsequent film deal.

In 2008 her first play Mrs Whippy premiered at the Liberty Hall Theatre and she is a co-creator of the comedy sitcom Samantha Who? starring Christina Applegate on the ABC network.


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