Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tax loophole for artists?

Posted on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 12:49 PM

ForeignPolicy.com, a sister publication of Slate, published a story on Friday outlining five weird tax laws from around the world. Among them were taxes on mooncakes in China and online strippers in Sweden, plus a tax break for studying witchcraft and wizardry in the Netherlands.

But the one that really caught our eye?

"Income earned by writers, composers, visual artists and sculptors from the sale of their works is exempt from income tax in Ireland in certain circumstances."

Introduced in 1969, the clause originally declined to set an income ceiling, allowing — as the article points out — super-groups like U2 to make millions in tax-exempt income. Once they ratcheted the income ceiling down to $200,000, U2 moved its operations to the Netherlands.

Granted, Ireland has a long and rich history of literature, music and other arts, but the U.S. is no slouch. Considering the increasingly difficult task of making a living off your art, could a similar loophole here help grow a new generation of American writers and musicians, sculptors and painters?   

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