Sunday, June 07, 2009

McCreevy's Property Tax Incentives: Haughey's Artists' Tax Exemption for Artists and "Artists"

Charlie McCreevy speaking as EU Internal Markets Commissioner

Charlie McCreevy, the Finance Minister for the good times, gave out a lot of goodies to various sports.

It's easy to be generous with other people's money

McCreevy gave £20m of government money to the GAA, for the redevelopment of Croke Park. The horsey folk in his Kildare constituency, including Puncestown Racecourse, did well during his tenure and for sports folk such as Padraig Harrington and Brian O'Driscoll, double the pension reliefs available to the great unwashed.

The Sunday Independent today reports the right for high sports earners to claim back 40 per cent of their earnings in tax relief over a period of 10 years once they retire, could be abolished next year.

The Commission on Taxation will recommend that Finance Minister Brian Lenihan pulls the plug on various tax reliefs when it publishes its report in July.

The reliefs under threat also include the artists' tax exemption (which allows artists to earn up to €250,000 tax-free every year) and patent tax relief, according to a source close to the commission.

McCreevy's former boss Bertie Ahern, may well be puzzled as to why people are blaming him for the economic crash when everything was so hunky-dory during his lovefest with property developers.

At least, he gets some benefit-in-kind from doling out more State funds, without having to pay tax on it himself.

The former taoiseach is to get seats worth around €192,000 at the new Lansdowne Road stadium.

The FAI has given Ahern two seats in the Presidential Box at the new Aviva Stadium, which is due to open its gates next year.

However, in theory the seats have no monetary value so Ahern will not be subjected to Gift Tax.
Business Editor Senator Shane Ross makes a reference in today's Sunday Independent to "my imminent book on Ireland's bankers."

Ross would likely cover the additional property tax incentives, which McCreevy recklessly introduced at a time when the property boom was begining to accelerate.

An interesting question is will Ross claim a Haughey era tax incentive for indigent artists if the exemption remains?

Bizarrely, Revenue tax inspectors decide on the "artistic merit" of a book and RTÉ presenter Gerry Ryan who earns as much as a significant newsroom for reading from newspapers and doing interviews, was granted tax-free status under the artists’ exemption scheme by the Revenue Commissioners for earnings from his biography, which was generally regarded as self-indulgent pap.

The tax-free perk had already been granted to John Hearne for his work in editing on the tome Would the Real Gerry Ryan Please Stand Up, which was published last year.

In 2008, RTE's then chief reporter Charlie Bird and rugby writer and NewsTalk 106 presenter George Hook, were among the individuals whose memoirs were deemed to be art.

It way well seem as much of a joke as McCreevy's property incentives and have as much merit.