Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tax Bono to help the poor

That was the great headline in the Irish Independent today concerning a press conference yesterday where the Conference of Religious In Ireland called for a cap to be placed on the Artists Tax Exemption scheme.


The Artists Exemption Scheme concerns income earned by artists, writers, composers and sculptors from the sale of their works is exempt from tax in Ireland in certain circumstances.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for giving the struggling artist a leg up, a chance to develop and explore their creativity, but I am not for multi-millionaires like Bono escaping paying taxes on their millions.

As Father Healy from CORI said: “The CORI Justice Commission believes there is something profoundly unfair about a tax system in which some millionaires pay no tax while employees on the minimum wage must pay tax”.

Absolutely Fr Healy. Well said.

I recently moved into the higher tax bracket but do not think I am a high earner, HA, far from it and the recent changes to my Pay As You Earn (PAYE) status means that I take home less money than I did four years ago when I earned less. Fantastic.

Oh and I still can’t afford a mortgage, no bank would touch me.

And Bono keeps his tax-free millions.

What is all the more sickening about this is Bono bleating on about Make Poverty History while sitting on a mountain of money. Give me a break.

Take the example of Chris Evans who pledged to give away most of the money he earned from selling the radio station saying that there was no way he would need that amount of money. He kept a substantial sum for himself and gave the vast majority of it away and threw down the gauntlet to Paul McCarthy to do the same.

Well I believe he did, I tried to find out more information on this but drew a blank, so sorry for not providing any links.

I do think it is admirable to campaign on important issues such as this, but there is more than a touch of hypocrisy when a multi-multi millionaire is not paying into their country coffers. Come on Bono, dip into those pockets of yours.

The Artists Exemption Scheme should be retained – it has been very important for many artists BUT there should be a cap for those who are milking the system, eh Bono?

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Anonymous said...

The five million euros, all the royalties from their biggest hit ever "One," and the antiretrovirals for the entire staff of TASO Uganda didn't impress you?

Red Mum said...

Thats all great and nothing less than what I would expect from a band who has made so much money.

My point concerns an artists exemption scheme where they do not have to pay taxes which I think should be adapted.

It is not fair and not impressive that a band, which earns as much as U2, is exempt from taxes.

KnackeredKaz said...

I agree with Red Mum. I absolutely believe those artists/actors etc earning very little pay at the start of their career should be given a break from tax (I know an actor who earns less than the dole for doing three shows a night, seven days a week at times) but when said artists/actors move up in the world and start to earn more, then surely they should be taxed like the rest of us?

Like when I worked part time and earned nothing, I payed nothing in tax. Now that I'm a full time worker, I pay tax, fair is fair.

Bono et al HAVE given away millions to charity and fair play to them...but er, it seems to me that maybe the reason they HAVE these millions to give away is cos they're not paying bloody tax?! If I got to keep every penny I earn, I'd give more to charity too.

This isn't an attack on Bono, I DO admire his humanitarian work, but there should come a time when he can play the 'struggling artist' card no longer.

Stunned said...

There is a popular misconception that all Bono's income is tax free but in fact tax free status only applies to income from song writing royalties, a small portion of his income, everything else including touring revenues, investment income etc is not exempt so bono does pay tax and unlike many of our captains of industry he is tax resident in ireland. The Bono issue is a redherring in 2001 the average income of 50% of beneficiaries was €5,213! The problem with tweaking the exemption is that artists have such a poor position in Irish society that it's an easy cut back and before long it'll be gone. As for hypocrisy if CORI is worried about the taxpayer how about renogiating the sweetheart deal that capped their liability for compensation for the victims of decades of abuse by the church.

The Arts Council have an intesting presss release on the matter here

c said...

what "stunned" states above is correct.
bono's earnings from his songwriting royalties are ALL that's exempt. the band is making hundreds of millions off their current tour - all taxable.
all his commercial business (hotel, restaurant) is taxable. bono will pay more taxes in one year than most will pay in their entire lives.
suggesting he does not donate money to charity is also beyond cynical and quite foolish.
if you think he's an idiot and should shut his mouth, fair play, but saying he is not generous is ridiculous.

Red Mum said...

While taking everything you say on board Stunned I still think there are substantial earnings which are not being taxed.

As I said I fully support the artists exemption scheme up to a point, the multi millionaire point.

And C, or should I say U2 fan, at no point did I say he didnt donate to charity. I know of few people who on ordinary wages who do not donate something to charity so its right that he should.

This post concerns the fact that while the Artists Exemption Scheme has kinda helped some people, as Stunned said "the average income of 50% of beneficiaries was €5,213!" I personally feel that Bono does not need the help and support provided within the Artists Exemption Scheme anymore.

Certainly in the past but not now, neither do the Corrs, Enya, etc, etc.