I’m a bit late coming to this due to the distractions caused by Squinting Iris.
What about Bertie Ahern’s autobiography, PS I Skrood Ya?
He got a tax exemption for it. An artist’s tax exemption.
What does this mean? It means he pays no tax on his earnings from it. None at all.
Bertie’s story of how an ignorant North-Dublin corner-boy brought the country to its knees will make him a fortune on which he’ll pay no tax whatever. Furthermore, the State is paying for the car and driver he uses to tour the country promoting the book.
How did he pull this stroke with your money, do you reckon?
According to the Citizens Advice Bureau,
income earned by artists, writers, composers and sculptors from the sale of their works is exempt from tax in Ireland in certain circumstances.
Section 195 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 allows the Revenue Commissioners to make a determination that certain artistic works are original and creative works generally recognised as having cultural or artistic merit. Accordingly, earnings derived from these works are exempt from income tax from the year in which the claim is made.
In order to qualify for tax exemption, a book has to be both original and creative, and has to be generally recognised as having cultural or artistic merit.
So here you go.
The work has to meet these criteria:
It has to be original AND creative.
It has to be generally recognised as having EITHER cultural OR artistic merit.
Let’s take that definition to pieces, starting with the second bit.
I reckon nobody would disagree that a biography of Bertie Ahern is of cultural merit, taking the word cultural in its broadest sense, though probably not in the sense originally intended. We’ll let him away with that.
Generally recognised as having cultural merit. How did they measure that bit, I wonder? How did they establish that a book which has been on the shelves about a month is generally recognised as having cultural merit? Did the Revenue Commissioners, like de Valera, look into their hearts to divine what the people of Ireland think of Bertie’s odyssey? Did they take the defunct e-voting machines out of storage and leave them in the corner of chip-shops with one question only – Wat didja tink a me bewk?
How exactly did the Revenue Commissioners conclude that a book of such recent origin is generally considered to be of any merit at all? I’d be fascinated to know how this is done.
Going back to the first criterion, I think there’s probably no real quibble. It has to be original and creative.
Well, I sincerely hope there aren’t two Bertie Aherns on this planet, so the book is in all likelihood original.
And any biography of Bertie Ahern is going to be thoroughly creative.
After all, if Bertie Ahern isn’t creative with the books, who is?