Number of artists claiming exemption rises as total tax-free earnings falls

The number of people claiming the tax exemption available to artists has increased, but the sum of earnings that were tax-free has reduced.

Some 55 individuals claimed just over €20m in artists’ exemption in 2010 compared to 33 who claimed €25.6m the previous year. The figures are contained in a Revenue report which shows that measures introduced to ensure high earners pay their fair share of tax are working.

In the 2010 budget, Brian Lenihan, the then finance minister, introduced restrictions to tax reliefs that would ensure anybody earning above €400,000 would pay an effective 30% tax rate.

“We have set our face against increasing the burden of income tax,” Mr Lenihan said in his budget speech.

“But the Government wants high earners availing of tax incentive schemes to contribute more in the current, difficult circumstances.”

An analysis carried out by Revenue shows that the group of 387 individuals earning above €400,000 paid €53m more in tax in 2010 than what they would have paid if these measures were not introduced. Of these, there were 15 people who earned over €2m that year who paid €11m more in tax than they would have if the restrictions were not introduced.

In the 2010 tax year, those earning above €400,000 paid an average of 30.72% in tax. The majority, or 325 cases, paid above 35% tax while 62 cases paid between 25% and 30%.

There were 45 individuals in this earnings range who were brought into the tax net for the first time that year as a result of Mr Lenihan’s initiatives.

Some 168 individuals claimed a total of €25m in tax reliefs in 2010 on stallion fees, greyhounds, woodland patents, and mining operations.

Almost 500 people wrote down tax of €89m for capital investment in hotels or holiday camps.

Some 124 individuals wrote down tax amounting to €15m for investment in nursing homes or residential units attached to nursing homes.

A further 37 individuals wrote down tax of €4.3m for hospitals, sports injury clinics, or mental health clinics.


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