Why Artists Love Ireland So Much

Short answer — taxes. Long answer — taxes and a new pilot program in which Ireland’s federal government supports artists financially.

So I have a friend. He’s a writer. Although he wasn’t born in Ireland, he’s got one of those flashy blue EU passports. Said friend decides years back to move on over to Ireland and keep pecking away at his Underwood. Aside from lovely stout beers and charming accents, Ireland also has something called the Artists Tax Exemption Scheme, which “allows earnings made by artists from the sale of original and creative works to be exempt from income tax. It applies to visual artists, sculptors, composers of music, and writers.”

However, the same aforementioned friend started running into trouble when he began selling a lot of books. Why? Because of the High Income Individuals Restriction which came into effect in 2007. Since then, the amount an artist can claim as tax exempt has been steadily declining. Today, the Artist Exemption stands at €40,000 anually, which, if you think about it, is still better than nothing.

But there’s another reason to love Ireland these days! (Wait, isn’t there always?) And that’s because “A government pilot program in Ireland is sending artists a weekly $350 check with no strings attached, allowing them to concentrate on creative pursuits without the pressures of a day job.”

I says pardon.

Per The New York Times, “Ireland’s program stands out because of its rigor. Officials will study the 2,000 recipients’ finances, work patterns and well-being and compare them with those of a control group of artists getting no payments.”


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