# 68% of Artists Tax Relief goes to 28 people

Richard Bruton in his post budget speech made this claim.

68% of Artists Tax Relief goes to just 28 people !

How many people does Gerry Ryan count as?

All that tells me is that 28 artists earn decent money and pay taxes in Ireland. The artists tax relief was disemebowled last year, and now worth f all to our high earning international ones.

tax relief and pay taxes are mutually exclusive in this context .

It’s a pretty bullshit statistic.
The sort of statistic that is specifically selected to sound horrific, distort numbers, and cloud the facts.

Play with the numbers and you’ll see that.

With respect, so is your response.

Why dont you just put them up for us; set the record straight?

I have played with the numbers and heres what i came up with. I like this game can we play some more.

28 people recieve 68% of Artists Tax Relief.

Well ok,

How many people actually claim artists relief?
is it 50, 500, 10000?
That makes a huge difference to the significance of the 68% figure.

Why has he picked 28?
The distribution of artists earnings can go from E5k to E5,000,000 and upwards.
Is there a small group of 28 artists who have stupidly high earnings?

Supposing we take a few possible scenarios:

There are a hundred artists claiming tax relief.
The top 28 claim an average of 100K each, the other 72 claim an average of E18.3K each.

There are a thousand artists claiming tax relief.
The top 28 claim an average of 100K each, the other 972 claim an average of E1355 each.

There are a thousand artists claiming tax relief.
The top 28 claim an average of E1million each, the other 972 claim an average of E13.5k each.

There are a hundred artists claiming tax relief.
The top 28 claim an average of E10 million each, the other 72 claim an average of E1.83 million each.

The possible scenarios run the gamut of being a relatively even distribution of tax relief, to a huge imbalance.
The statistic quoted may indicate the system is working well.

What impact does the tax relief have on the economy as a whole?
What impact does the tax relief have on the lives of artists working on the margins?
What impact does the tax relief have on tourism?
Would a change to the way the tax relief is distributed negate the benefits?
How is the tax relief figure influenced by people working part time as artists?

In short the possible scenarios described by that one statistic go from a fair equitable scheme which maximises the benefit to artists and the economy to a back scratching hand out to 28 cosseted artists. The statistic provides no insight into the tax relief for artists scheme, and is no basis for any judgement on it.

Unless we, the electorate, start to question stupid statistics like this one, we will continue to end up with appalling governments, policies and systems.

Great post jess.

I’m sure there’s more up to date information in the Public realm but 28 people were making the bulk of the money then. There’s a limit of 250k now.

If everyone listed there, got the middle of the bands in tax relief, then the top 28 people in 2001 would have gotten 79% of the tax relief.

Anyway, my point is that single shot statistics can be made to say anything.

How you for instance heard about the absolutely shocking mortality rates in hospices?
There are a few around Dublin where it’s 100%, I demand that the minister investigates this scandal immediately!

Theres only one actual fact in your post. That established fact being 28 people claim 68% of Artists Tax Relief.
The rest of your post is a litany of MADE UP scenarios by you.
So your discrediting an ACTUAL FACT with a bunch of MADE UP scenarios.

Im not even going to go there…

In your own first post you called it a “claim” rather than a fact.

I am not discrediting the “fact”, if that’s what it is.
I am discrediting the significance of the “fact”.

Back of an envelope stuff here. The top 28 get relief of 42% on 46.6m out of total relief granted of 36.8m. I make that just over 50% or so.

Your calculation sounds more complex. What am I missing?

Shocking stuff about the hospices considering the mortality rate for the whole world is only 95% or so

The information here is way way out of date. Makes a good sound bite for Richard Bruton though. The cap on the amount which can be claimed is as someone else mentioned 250k which was brought in so the likes of Van, U2, Enya et al. couldn’t exploit it as was clearly the case back in 2001. A lot of writers/artists spend a lot of years making sfa before they earn anything. The exemption allows them not to get hammered on tax if they manage to have one or two good years. That’s my experience of friends who are in receipt of it and I personally am in favour of it. Plus they still play prsi…

… and the income levy

I heartily second this - one of the few enlightened policies we have. Any writers I know make only a meagre income from publication. Other income - teaching, journalism, lecturing, radio appearances etc - falls outside the scope of this relief so attracts the usual taxes.

Which part of the “68% of Artists Tax Relief goes to 28 people” do ye disagree with.

I’m also in favour of the Relief, and to address your question here, I’d also agree with Jess’s first response on this - it’s a useless stat which can’t be contextualized without more info.

With no further information forthcoming from Richard Bruton I suppose my answer would be I disagree none of it because having a knee-jerk reaction to a political soundbite is exactly the response he was looking for, and I don’t share his motives.