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UK Author Calls For Tax Breaks To Help New Writers

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

20 January 2012


A tax incentive would help give new writers a head start in publishing, one of the UK's leading authors has said.

Ian Rankin, author of the Inspector Rebus series, made the comments ahead of the First Fictions festival, which celebrates first novels. Talking to the Guardian newspaper, Rankin said: "If you want to give new writers a start, then a tax incentive is one thing you can do". He pointed to a scheme run in Ireland, whereby a writer, visual artist or composer can claim a tax exemption on certain income earned through their work up to an annual income cap of EUR400,000 (USD515,000).

Rankin added that while the internet makes it easier for writers' work to be seen, it has also made it harder to earn a living. He said that publishers now pay new writers less and that if writers sidestep the traditional route for publication, they often turn to the internet to sell their work themselves. This results in the writer "having to sell it for virtually nothing".

However, Rankin's comments were immediately rejected by the Treasury. A spokeswoman told the BBC: "Any new relief adds complexity to the tax system and could come at considerable cost to the Exchequer at a time when the government's priority is rebalancing the economy. The government is working to make the tax system simpler to understand, and as part of this work has been engaged in an exercise to remove reliefs from the system."

TAGS: individuals | tax | artists | Ireland | tax incentives | entertainers | entrepreneurs | United Kingdom | tax credits | internet | self-employment | tax breaks | individual income tax

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