Music stars may be forced to pay their tax liabilities

International music performers benefiting from multimillion-euro concerts in Ireland should be forced to pay their tax liabilities here, amid concerns they are leaving the country without settling fees.

A report by the Oireachtas arts committee has issued the call in a series of recommendations into how to improve the arts sector over the coming years.

Under existing rules, the international concert stars do not pay taxes in this country on the performances. Instead, performers are permitted to pay their taxes in their home country or the country in which the companies controlling their assets are based.

While concerns over the situation have continually been raised, the Department of Finance has previously dismissed the issue. Tackling it may mean fewer international stars would perform in Ireland, leading to exchequer deficits, especially from the hospitality industries.

The arts committee has included among its 42 recommendations a specific request that Arts Minister Heather Humphreys officially asks Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe “to design and implement a foreign artists tax withholding scheme” to address the matter.

Committee chairman Peadar Tóibín (SF) told the Irish Examiner said the group believes a scheme can be created where a specific percentage of money from events is taken from international artists before they leave in order to ensure the linked tax take remains in Ireland.

He said if this is not deemed possible, a system could also be created whereby the money is held until the end of the year by Irish authorities and is only repaid to the artist when they provide tax and expense documents, at the year-end, showing reclaimable costs from their events.

“The legislation here is that, currently, international artists have a tax liability but it’s very rarely pursued,” said Mr Tóibín.

“You have situations where some artists are making €30m-plus on concerts here, where others are tax resident in certain countries.

“What we are asking is for the Government to be creative on this.”

Mr Tóibín said the committee’s recommendations are not aimed at any individual artist, with the changes being sought already in place in the US, Netherlands, and Denmark.

Its report also calls for the restoration of the 13.5% Vat rate on hotel beds.

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