Friday 19 January 2018

O'Toole admits benefiting from 'artistic' tax break


Writer and journalist Fintan O'Toole did benefit from some "artistic" tax exemption for one of his books in the late Nineties but did not claim it for any of his subsequent works, he has revealed.

Mr O'Toole, who was MC at last week's Ictu protest in Dublin, said: "Maybe way back. I think possibly when I wrote the book on Sheridan [A Traitor's Kiss: The Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, which published in 1997]. Certainly in recent times I have not.

"In principle, I would not claim. I think historical biography, it's different, but in terms of current affairs, I don't think it is proper."

He said he made no claim for tax exemption on two top-selling coffee-table books, The Irish Times Book of the Century (1999) and The Irish Times Book of the 1916 Rising (2006), which sold in substantial quantities at around €25 each.

His latest book, Enough is Enough: How to Build a New Republic, published by Faber and Faber, is said to be one of the best-selling non-fiction works in Ireland this year. His previous work, Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger also sold well.

Earlier this year, Mr O'Toole, assistant editor of The Irish Times, was highly critical of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern after he applied for and was granted artistic tax exemption for his autobiography, Bertie Ahern: the Autobiography.

Pointing out that income earned by writers, composers, artists and sculptors for the sale of their works is exempt from tax in certain circumstances, he wrote a column for The Irish Times in which he said he had "thought briefly" about whether he should apply for a tax exemption on his 'Ship of Fools' book on the grounds that his work was "original and creative".

"Having thought about this for a few minutes, however, it quickly became obvious to me that it would be simply wrong to apply for the exemption."

Sunday Independent

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