Pensions for Artists


Financial planning for the future is something that is not always at the forefront of our minds. The question that is more usual is how to finance life and art at the same time.  For quite a few artists this means having PAYE and/or non-art related jobs to pay the bills, and dedicating whatever time is left to a practice. Even for artists who qualify for the Tax Exemption scheme, studies have shown that 81% of these earn under €10,000 per annum.

Outside of the exemption scheme, other sources of income from part-time and full-time employment cannot be claimed for and are therefore subject to standard levels of taxation.  When this is combined with some thoughts towards future financial arrangements, it is a sobering thought that most artists are part of the more than one million Irish workers who have no pension arrangements. Many are reliant on the state pension to provide for them in retirement. At present there are five working people paying tax to every person claiming the state pension, however by 2050 it is expected that this will be just two working people to every one pensioner. The reason for this is that that our life expectancy is increasing but the number of babies being born each year is reducing. This is why artists need to take more a more proactive approach to their retirement planning.

Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSA) were introduced by the Government in 2003 as a pension product that is low-cost, flexible and fully portable. The government is aiming to increase pension coverage in Ireland.

Visual Artists Ireland has been in discussion with tax advisors on this matter. Taking into consideration, that artists may have a varied income, we wanted to explore how best to take advantage of the tax benefits on non-creative income, as well as put in place some financial planning for the future.  As a result of these discussions, Ross Ingram of the Taxation Advice Bureau has provided some examples of why the PRSA is suitable for artists.

PRSA for Artists
Some examples why the PRSA is suitable for artists. . . 

Flexible Plan
You decide how much you want to pay on a monthly, annually or once off lump sum basis. If you want to stop paying contributions for a time, you can simply halt them and restart at a time that suits you.

One of the great features of a pension is they are a very tax efficient way of saving for your retirement in different ways:

  • Tax relief on your contributions
  • Tax free growth on the value of your fund
  • Tax-free cash at retirement

Subject to your age related limits, you will receive full PAYE and PRSI relief on the contributions that you make to a PRSA.

Portable Pension
A PRSA is individually owned so you can pay into it while you are self-employed, or bring it with you from job to job if your employment status changes.

Advice for Artists 
Like most things financial, there are sets of conditions and also a range of variables that need to be taken into consideration when talking about one’s own personal situation.  For this reason, we have asked Ross to make himself available to members of Visual Artists Ireland to discuss planning for the future. To find out more Ross can be contacted on 01 6768633 or As with all of our support services, your feedback is very important. Therefore, please let us know how you get on ( and we can then provide this back to Ross and The Taxation Advice Bureau so that they can improve their service to members.


Additional Information

Citizens Information
Information and advice on retirement savings accounts

The Pensions Board

Taxation Advice Bureau
independent financial and tax consultants

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