The general tax system also applies to artists. This means – among other things – that all costs incurred in order to earn an income are tax deductible, if the income is generated from professional activities. Self-employed artists face a number of problems within the current tax system: for example, basic pensions are calculated on the taxable income generated over their lifetime and as most scholarships or grants are not taxable, they are not included in the overall total of lifetime income.
One of the few special regulations that exist for arts and culture is that of value added tax on books; in 2001, the 25 percent VAT rate on books was lowered to 6 percent by the parliament.
The issue of corporate sponsorship in the arts has been under much debate in recent years, both in the media and in political fora. Culture and Business (Kultur och näringsliv) is a forum especially created to further debate, obtain contacts and experiences from joint projects, and to source financial contributions from the market.
Enabling tax deductions for donations to culture, science and other forms of public good have been discussed, especially under the centre-right government 2006-2014. The Government Commission on Cultural Policy (SOU 2009:16) concluded that such measures would greatly benefit arts and culture. It should be noted that the Commission’s expert from the Ministry of Finance publicly advised against this conclusion. The Commission for Incentives for Gifts, which published its report (SOU 2009:59) in 2009, was, furthermore, sceptical of such reforms in favour of any area, and entirely ignored all issues relating to arts or culture. A change in this direction is thus unlikely.