Ian Rankin Calls For Tax Breaks For New Authors

Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin wants tax incentives for writers

via The Guardian

Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin is calling for the United Kingdom to adopt tax incentives to support new writers, modeled on an arrangement that's currently being used in Ireland. 

Under the 1997 Irish arrangement, the first €40,000 (£33,000 or $50,572) of annual income earned by a writer, musician or artist from the sale of his or her work is exempt from tax. 

Rankin says that this is necessary because publishers are paying out less in advances and taking fewer risks on new talent, between concern over Amazon's dominance, eBook downloading and the closure of independent bookstores.  

Said Rankin: 

The internet has pluses and minuses. It's easier than ever to get your stuff seen by people. But it's harder than ever to make a living from it. Look at the money that publishers are paying for new writers … less than they paid 20 years ago. They know first novels don't sell many copies and, if writers decide … to sidestep the traditional publishing route and sell their stuff by themselves online, they're having to sell it for virtually nothing – 99p.

Sounds like a pretty good idea, and I'd be interested to see this discussed in the United States. Granted, I have scant knowledge of tax law as it applies to freelancers and writers, so I can't say whether the current tax structure is fair. Although I do know New York City recently eliminated a double-taxation that was detrimental to freelancers (writers included), so at least people here are thinking about this kind of thing. 

Any tax-perts want to weigh in here? 

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postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words January 16, 2012 - 11:18am

no clue about taxes, but any program that encourages new blood to take on the established order is a step in the right direction. We need a healthy dose of both.

Karina's picture
Karina from UK/Hong Kong is reading the usual trash January 16, 2012 - 11:23am

The City of Los Angeles exempts any creative artist with gross receipts of less than $300K from paying business tax - as long as you file by Feb 29.  I wish the IRS did the same!

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 16, 2012 - 6:38pm

I wonder how much movie stars have to pay in taxes every year or pro-athletes.