Though Ireland does not have general legislation aimed at stimulating arts sponsorship or investment, there is a range of tax relief that works to this end. Section 481 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 allows investors to claim tax relief on share subscriptions in qualifying film production companies. The amount of relief that can be claimed is subject to annual limits. A new film tax scheme is to commence in 2015.
Section 1 003 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 enables persons who donate important national heritage items to the Irish National Collections to credit the value of these donations against their liabilities for certain taxes.
In addition, tax breaks are allowed on:
- business sponsorship of an artist or arts organisation in exchange for promotion of the business;
- donations to eligible institutions;
- expenditure on buildings and gardens;
- gifts to the Exchequer; and
- provision of certain goods and services such as printing of programmes or tickets, offering airline tickets, etc.
However, the 21.5% VAT charge on visits by foreign performing artists to Ireland continues to be burdensome for festivals and other organisations, as well as discouraging North / South exchange, since the same tax does not apply in the UK.
Generally the usual VAT rate of 21.5% is reduced to 12.5% in respect of sales of art works and admission to artistic and cultural exhibitions. Books and the promotion of or admission to live theatrical performances are VAT-exempt and exhibition publications are subject to zero-VAT under certain conditions.
Artists in Ireland benefit from a specific tax provision. There is, however, no overall status-of-the-artist legislation.
Tax-exempt status for self-employed creative artists resident in Ireland was introduced in the 1969 Finance Act. A list of beneficiaries since April 2002 is provided at http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/artists-exemption-section-195-1997-act.html. This provision was generally perceived as an imaginative piece of legislation, which has been lauded internationally. It allows exemption from tax on income from sales or copyright fees in respect of original and creative works of cultural or artistic merit, as well as on Arts Council bursaries, payments of annuities under the Aosdána scheme and foreign earnings. In 2014, the provision was revised with a limit of exemption on the first EUR 50 000 of profits or gains. The recent budget extended this provision to non-resident artists. This is subject to the Universal Social Charge and may be subject to Pay Related Social Insurance, VAT and High Earners’ Restriction.
Employed artists are subject to the same tax regime as all Irish citizens. For non-resident artists the normal withholding rate is 26%. This is reduced to 10% or to zero in the case of those countries (over 30 of them) with which Ireland has Double Taxation Agreements.