Cuba lets self-employed artists get gov’t pensions

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba said Wednesday it will begin offering pensions to self-employed artists and performers, calculating benefits based on the taxable income they declare.

The new law appears to be an attempt to encourage workers to report their full incomes — part of increasing efforts to better account for all Cuban employees and the money they make.

Previously, independent artists were required to pay at least 7 percent tax on all income, then file a yearly tax return with additional payments, but they were not eligible for retirement benefits.

The new measure, detailed in state-run newspapers, allows self-employed musicians, writers, movie and television performers, sculptors and painters, among others, to receive a monthly government pension worth 60 percent of their reported income.

To qualify, artists must have worked for 30 years and reported taxes for at least the last five. Like all Cubans, their benefits kick in at 65 for men and 60 for women.

It was not clear how many people will be affected.

The communist government controls well over 90 percent of the economy and pays employees an average of about $20 per month. Thousands of workers in certain sectors, however, can apply to become self-employed.

The island has about 2.2 million retirees, and an increase in benefits in 2008 raised the minimum pension to the equivalent of $9.50 per month.

www.particularcuba.com – Cuba travel online

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Particular Cuba organizes travel to Cuba. Hotel booking, car rental, package tours, excursions, flights to Cuba.

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