Unbelievable New Tax Reforms For Writers in Ireland

Money harvest

This is me, with my abnormally huge head and skinny little legs

Yup. That’s what I said, folks. Unbelievable.

The Irish government issued its annual budget on Tuesday. In it, there were plenty of teeny-tiny measures to please almost everybody just a teeny-tiny bit, but nothing targeted at the artistic community, or at writers in particular.

I reckon the government missed a trick here (particularly if, as I suspect, every second person in this country is writing a book; the other 50% are too busy grappling with real life).

With that in mind, I put my nerdy numbers hat on, and came up with a few schemes they should have included for booky types.

1. The Residency Royalty Scheme

In the normal scheme of things, to be resident in Ireland for tax purposes, you must be in the country for at least 183 days a year (unless you’re Bono). This requirement will be reduced to just 60 days for multinational writers, throughout which accommodation and meals will be provided, free of charge, in former hotels and closed-down Garda stations.

Once tax-resident in Ireland, writers will be eligible for a net effective tax rate of just 5% on all royalties earned. If royalties exceed €100,000, the rate will decrease to 4%.

2. The Hollywood Irish Tax Rebate

If a writer (Irish or otherwise – for equal opportunities purposes) bases a book in Ireland which features at least three drunk men, an extremely short person, some flat caps or a thatched roof, they will qualify as an Irish resident for tax purposes and be eligible for the royalty tax discount rate of 5%.

If they agree to appear on both Irish weekend TV chat shows and be photographed with the Taoiseach, they will be in net receipt of tax, and the Revenue Commissioners will present them with a cheque for €30,000.

Film and Popcorn the heavenly combination

3. The Film Fiduciary Benefit Scheme

If a writer’s book is adapted for the screen and the film is subsequently shot in this country (and the writer agrees to appear on both Irish TV chat shows and be photographed with the Taoiseach), they will become resident in Ireland for tax purposes. This will make them eligible for the royalty tax discount rate of 5%, unless royalties exceed $500,000, in which case the effective rate will reduce to 3.5%.

4. The e-Book Innovation Scheme

Ireland is a proud and staunch supporter of Research & Development, particularly in the areas of technology, pharmaceuticals, technology, pharmaceuticals, and, er, technology.

With this in mind, the Irish government will offer tax residency status in Ireland to any self-published author who has managed to learn how to format their own book for Kindle, which will make them eligible for a royalty tax discount rate of 4%.

is this the future of pen and paper illustrations

5. The Triple Irish

You’ve heard of the Double Irish tax hoopla which the Irish government dispensed with this week, meaning that naughty foreign companies must eventually stop exploiting certain loopholes which get Ireland’s bottom smacked every time we come back inside from the playground at lunchtime.

In the Triple Irish, any multinational writers earning over $1 million per annum will get a free Irish passport and a 2% effective tax rate on royalties if they base themselves in Donegal for 2 weeks of the year. If they also squeeze in a fortnight in Clare and a book launch in Limerick, they’ll get a 0.5% flat rate of tax, and a lifetime supply of brown soda bread and black pudding.

 ***

Right so, I’m off to Leinster House for a meeting. Thank you for listening; feel free to leave your own suggestions for tax reform or further budgetary measures below.

*Postscript: Did anyone notice what happened following my last post warning of the dangers of optimism…? Did they? Well, no sooner had I intervened to save us all from the forces of positivity, and the knock-on prospect of football failure, than Ireland managed to draw 1-1 with World Cup holders Germany! Sometimes I surprise myself, I really do. You can thank me later.

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  34 comments for “Unbelievable New Tax Reforms For Writers in Ireland

  1. October 16, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Oh, you made me laugh! How about you give advice to the Greek government, as well? 🙂

    Like

  2. October 16, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Great post. I presume you’ll be making formal budget submission well ahead of the posse next time.

    Given the huge number of Irish Bloggers, I suggest Blogger’s Incentive Tax. (BIT). This would clearly be in government’s interest as it would help to curtail public protests on the streets by encouraging people to blog away their bloody-mindedness.

    Like

    • October 16, 2014 at 8:59 am

      Superb suggestion. There’s a spot on my back benches for you should you choose to accept the bribe, sorry, post.

      Like

      • October 16, 2014 at 9:11 am

        Get the brown envelope out and find a good painter to deliver same in the gloaming!✉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. davidpenny13
    October 16, 2014 at 10:06 am

    I’ve been to Galway AND Cork (oh, and Dublin too, of course), AND I know how to format my own eBook. Do you think I qualify?

    Like

    • October 16, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Most definitely. Just fill out the forms in triplicate, and make sure you earn lots to justify Ireland’s take of your tax. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. October 16, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Well, if I ever make this writing thing a career that pays enough to live off, I think I’ll use my Irish passport a little more (o:

    Like

    • October 16, 2014 at 11:15 am

      What, you mean you have a choice of passports at the moment?! You lucky thing. Although I don’t have the choice myself, I’m thinking of introducing quadruple citizenship for writers too, so watch this space.

      Like

  5. October 16, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Just like Uncle Tom (at Brinkley Court, of Plum fame), one would shudder at such atrocities. Luckily, tax can only be levied if there is an income. Since bloggers can’t be choosers, most of them shall remain out of the tax drag-nets.

    Like

    • October 16, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Indeed, it is a conundrum. The only solution is to earn obscene amounts and pay no tax. Bermuda, here I come.

      Like

  6. armenpogharian
    October 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I enjoyed the post. In the US we avoid all of this by the simple expedient of not paying most of our writers, authors, bloggers, and other artistic types. It may sound cruel and inhuman, but at least we don’t have to submit any paperwork detailing our whereabouts or have our picture taken with any politicians.

    Like

    • October 16, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      Ah, but you may have just missed the fine print there, Armen. Big-earning multinationals only need apply. The rest of us are left to enjoy poverty in peace…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. October 16, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    “Form an orderly queue, now!”

    1. I’m a multinational writer (half French, half Polish), and I have five years left on my passport.

    2. I’m Otherwise, and my book’s based in a Gaeltacht, with flat caps and a thatched roof, although the short person is five feet tall, and there are only two drunk men (but there’s a priest, too). However, if I have to be on TV and get photographed with Enda, they’ll need to pixelate my face (for witness protection, you know, nod, nod, wink, wink).

    3. Nobody’s made an offer for film rights, yet, but Gabriel Byrne would be smashing in the lead role, and I’d insist on Brian Cunningham for choreography.

    4. I formatted the book myself for Nook, and for paperback at a POD, who did the Kindle bit (although I didn’t publish on Kindle). But my e-book formatting passed Smashwords’ Meatgrinder on the first try.

    5. Was I in Clare during my fortnight in Ireland? Well, I went to see the Burren, and I ate in a pub near the Cliffs of Moher. The rest of the time, I stayed in a hostel at the arse end of Ballynowhere in Connemara; in hotels in Galway and Dublin; and a B&B in Navan. I haven’t been to Limerick, but I wrote a limerick about Queen Medb (http://wp.me/p30cCH-7v), and I’ve read “Angela’ Ashes.” The soda bread has to be gluten-free, but I’ll gladly donate the black pudding to a soup kitchen for starving Irish artists.

    “Next!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 16, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      I just knew you’d be a shoe-in, Christine… you better hope my people get elected now 😀

      Like

  8. October 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Hmm, I’m just brushing up buy Irish links, but I suspect you have to earn something to start with before all these good benefits will come your way (after you have sorted out the system, that is).

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 18, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      But of course, Hilary! Nobody ever gave tax breaks to paupers. They don’t have the accountants for it.

      Like

  9. October 19, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Can I have a 5% tax rebate if I promise to visit Ireland in the next five years? Plus a tax credit for having distant Irish relatives? (Which will be compounded annually, if I write a book about them?)

    Like

    • October 19, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      Ok, Elaine, I’ve spoken to my people, and they’ll go with that, with the proviso that tax will also be compounded for every recognised cliché opportunity which has missed in the finished book (to be judged by a panel of poor-mouthed auditors with shawls). Deal?

      Like

      • October 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm

        So long as there’s a burning building behind them, angry villagers with torches and a getaway car.

        Like

        • October 19, 2014 at 3:39 pm

          Grand so. Throw in a pitchfork, and we’re done here.

          Like

          • October 19, 2014 at 3:56 pm

            No, because the Pitchfork Wielders’ Alliance has a separate collective agreement, which doesn’t allow for out of hours attendance at ad hoc meetings of tax inspectors in shawls.

            Like

            • October 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm

              Hah! You can’t fool me with your pernickety knowledge of small print. I never said it was out of hours. Standardised angry mob time of 5.42pm will apply. See you there.

              Like

              • October 19, 2014 at 4:06 pm

                We’ll see about that. I’m convening a branch meeting of the PWA. No impalements without representation!

                Liked by 1 person

                • October 19, 2014 at 4:13 pm

                  File under “Placards Of The Future”!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • October 20, 2014 at 5:35 pm

                    I’ve nominated you for an award; the rules have been changed, so you don’t have to think up new stuff about yourself (unless you want to). You can lie magnificently instead!

                    Like

                    • October 20, 2014 at 10:29 pm

                      Ooh that does sound interesting! Might see how I feel when I’m in the mood for lying. Normally happens on Thursdays. And Fridays. And some other days too.

                      Like

                    • October 20, 2014 at 10:30 pm

                      Is that the truth?

                      Like

                    • October 20, 2014 at 10:36 pm

                      Well, it is Monday, so…

                      Liked by 1 person

  10. October 20, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Odd how a poor wee country like Ireland can do so well. Politicians here kept telling us if we persisted in wanting independence then we would be in the same dire state as Ireland. Yet there you are with a budget that pleases most people and keeps them happy, doing well in world rankings, and poor wee Scotland as part of broad shouldered, macho UK is facing yet more austerity, more cuts, more impoverished people, less opportunities. We kept telling them that small is beautiful…and can also be successful, but no-one at the HQ of Westminster PLC is listening. They’re all too busy counting their directorships in all the things they’re about to privatise.

    Like

    • October 20, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      Far be it from me to infer that the budget pleased most people and kept them happy – I’d be run out of the country for that!! No, everything I say must be taken with a healthy drum of salt – make that a barrel – with a touch of sourness and a large dollop of skepticism. We’re not bad at the old spin, granted, but I’d hate anyone to think we weren’t doing perfectly miserably [please see previous post for details].

      I can’t speak for Scotland, obviously, but at least we have the same weather 🙂

      Like

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