Tax and stuff

Sometimes branch officers get asked which accountant should I get to do my books?

Now the branch does not recommend one accountant ahead of another, but on a personal basis, I can say that Murnane and Associates Longford Terrace, Monkstown Co Dublin and Anne Brady McQuillans DFK, Iveagh Court, Harcourt Road, Dublin 2 are helpful, and interested in having journalists as clients. The first is my accountant and Anne Brady made a very good presentation to the branch a couple of years ago. Others may have names to add to that list.

Writers’ tax exemption

By word of mouth, I am hearing about the Revenue doing “tax audits” on people claiming the writers’ tax exemption. That means they go over your books with a fine toothcomb. The cases I heard about involved people with fulltime jobs who had written a book, and claimed the exemption for the proceeds. So bona fide journalists have little to fear from this,

I should here declare my position. I’m an associate member of the Irish Writer’s Union (IWU). Some 25 years ago, I got a number of short stories exempted from tax because they were works of fiction. Since then scheme has been widened to allow almost anything between covers to be included.

I oppose the current IWU stance on keeping the writers and artists tax exemption. I’d prefer to see a means of spreading the income over tax years. Say I take three years to write a book, then get paid €30k for it. (I wish). Meaning a big tax bill one year, and no income the other two.

If I can spread the €30k over three years, I pay little tax on it when my costs are deducted, and I remain tax compliant, which I have always been, and always want to be. Most writers and artists don’t earn much, and when their costs are deducted are not liable for much in the way of tax anyway. The exemption is irrelevant for most of us. I think the writers union probably pays too much attention to part-time writers who have fulltime jobs outside writing, That said, I personally have a great deal of time for its current president poet Helen Dwyer who always gives me a fair hearing.