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HMRC internal manual

International Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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DT applications and claims - Types of income: Royalties

Public Lending Right (PLR)

Public Lending Right (IM2701) is treated in the same way as copyright by virtue of ICTA88/S537.

Under the PLR system, payments are made from Government funds to authors whose books are borrowed from public libraries. Payment is made by PLR each February in proportion to the number of times that an author’s books have been borrowed.

First applications for payment of PLR may only be made by living authors and may not be made by the estate of a deceased author. However, an author may assign their rights to another individual or to a company. Entitlement to PLR continues for 70 years after an authors death.

PLR has been paid to British authors since 1979. From 1 July 2000, authors who are resident in a European Economic Area country (European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) are also entitled to register to receive PLR payments.

An author who moves to a country outside the EEA retains their rights to receive PLR payments for books registered before the date of their departure but may not register any new works.

You should deal with claims and correspondence that refer to PLR in exactly the same way as copyright royalties.

If the person is the originator of the work and lives in a country where the double taxation agreement does not provide for full exemption from UK tax on copyright royalties you should allow “Professional Author” exemption see INTM342590.

In all other circumstances, normal examination rules apply to claims and applications made under the terms of the relevant double taxation convention.