Tax on Rental Income – The Basics

April 14, 2016

Rental Income is taxable under the Irish tax system. For a given year, you can estimate your tax liability using the following formula:

Gross Rental Income  – Allowable Expenses – Capital Allowances = Taxable Rental Income x  Your marginal income tax, PRSI & USC rate = Your tax liability.

Tax on Rental Income.jpg

Allowable Expenses

You can deduct the following expenses in arriving at your taxable rental income.

  • Mortgage Interest paid “on monies borrowed for the purchase, improvement or repair” of the property (note the restrictions below)
  • Mortgage Protection policy premiums
  • Water rates, Ground rent, Service charges, Waste Collection charges etc
  • Insurance costs
  • Management & rent collection costs
  • Advertising Costs
  • Legal fees for drawing up leases or collection of unpaid rent
  • Accountancy fees relating to rental income
  • Repairs, decorating and general maintenance
  • Cleaning & related costs
  • Cost of any unreimbursed services or goods provided to tenants by the landlord i.e. electricity, heating, etc

Mortgage Interest – Restrictions              

Your mortgage interest deduction is restricted to 75% of the total interest you incur.

Mortgage interest is only allowed as a deduction against rental income on a residential property if you have complied with your legal obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act, including registering tenancies with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).

It is generally not possible to claim for the following expenses:

  • Pre-letting expenses, apart from auctioneer’s letting fees, advertising fees and associated legal fees
  • Capital expenditure.

Capital Allowances

You can claim an allowance for Wear and Tear on furniture and fittings in your property.   This normally will cover such items as carpets, electrical appliances, central heating, furniture, etc.    The allowance is 12.5% per year, each year for 8 years.

Rental Losses

You can only offset a rental loss against other rental income, in current or future years.

It is not possible to offset such losses against other non-rental income sources (e.g. PAYE, business profits etc).

Self-Assessment Tax Collection

The tax due on rental income is normally collected under the Self-Assessment system. A  PAYE taxpayer with low rental income can arrange to have their tax collected via the PAYE system if Revenue agree to adjust their tax credits and standard rate cut-off point accordingly.


New Report Slays Tax Myths

January 8, 2016

The Irish Tax Institute (ITI) has today released Reshaping Ireland’s Personal Tax System, a fascinating analysis of Ireland’s personal tax system.

It’s a bold document, slaying many common tax myths.

Among its key findings are:

  • Ireland has the second most progressive personal tax system in the OECD, with only Israel ranking higher.
  • Irish taxpayers earning above the average industrial wage pay more personal tax than their counterparts in other countries
  • Irish low-income taxpayers pay less personal tax than their counterparts elsewhere.

New Report Slays Personal Tax Myths

  • 29% of income earners pay no personal tax whatsoever.
  • The top 1% of income earners pay 22% of all income tax and USC. The bottom 75% pay just 19%.
  • Our tax system continues to discriminate against the self-employed.

The Institute warns that the heavy tax burden on higher earners is likely to damage Ireland’s international competitiveness, both in attracting business investment and skilled workers to locate here.

It’s good to see these important issues being highlighted. Hats off to the ITI.


Don’t Lose Sleep over AirBnB Tax Returns

August 11, 2015

Unfortunately, confusion and panic have greeted this morning’s news that the AirBnB have notified Revenue of income earned by their Irish hosts who welcome paying guests into their homes.

Don't lose sleep over airbnb tax returns

Thousands of Irish homeowners are now registered with AirBnB and many of these people will now worry at the prospect of receiving large tax bills.

However, the situation for most is not nearly as serious as media reports suggest.

Revenue’s guidelines on the subject (updated in a March 2015 eBrief) confirm that providing accommodation to occasional visitors does not qualify for tax exemption, but is subject to Income Tax (along with PRSI & USC) as a trade.

The flipside of this is that it is only the trading profit, and not the gross income received, which is taxable.

This means that an AirBnB host must only pay tax on the profit they earn, after deduction of all expenses.

Such expenses will include the direct costs of each booking, eg

  • AirBnB booking fee,
  • breakfast and other meals provided,
  • cleaning, etc

and also a percentage of the many indirect household costs which relate to the accommodation, including

  • insurance,
  • electricity & phone
  • repairs & maintenance
  • mortgage interest
  • wear & tear on household furniture & fittings.

The extent to which a householder can claim these latter costs depends on how much of each cost relates to business (eg AirBnB accommodation) as opposed to personal use.

For example, in a typical property where the accommodation business is incidental to its use as a family home, I’d expect that the appropriate % of such indirect costs that can be claimed would be very small.

Still, every little counts, and when you deduct all appropriate costs from your gross AirBnB income, you will probably find that the net taxable element is a fraction of the gross sum.

This net amount will be subject to income tax of 20% or 41% (40% in 2015), in addition to 4% PRSI and USC (generally up to 7%).

In addition, the other minor comfort is that we are talking here about current, as opposed to historic, income.

The information given by AirBnB to Revenue relates to the period from May to December 2014.

This income is taxable in 2014 and the deadline for filing 2014 Form 11 & Form 12 tax returns is not until 31 October next, or 12 November if filed on ROS.

This means that AirBnB hosts have plenty of time to regularise their tax situation ahead of the October/November deadlines. Obviously this should also include any such income received before May 2014.

This is a stark contrast to the catch-22 dilemma faced in the past by others with historic undeclared income, where interest and penalties often combined to generate huge liabilities.

My advice to AirBnB hosts? –

  • Firstly, don’t lose any sleep amid the current hysteria.
  • Secondly, get your affairs in order, with professional assistance if you need it, and make sure you file your 2014 (and any earlier) returns by the forthcoming deadline.

Dont Lose Sleep over AirBnB Tax Returns


Budget 2015: The Full List of Measures

October 14, 2014

Here is the full list of Tax measures included in Budget 2015.

Some, but not all, of  these measures were unveiled in Minister Noonan’s Budget Speech to the Dáil this afternoon.

Michael Noonan announces Budget 2015.

Michael Noonan announces Budget 2015.

Income Tax 

The standard rate band of income tax increases by €1,000 from €32,800 to €33,800 for single individuals and from €41,800 to €42,800 for married one earner couples.

The higher rate of income tax falls from 41% to 40%.

USC

The USC rates and bands for 2015 are as follows:

Incomes of €12,012 or less are exempt.

  • Otherwise the first €12,012 is @ 1.5%
  • From €12,013 to €17,576, USC is @ 3.5%
  • From €17,577 to €70,044, USC is @ 7%
  • From €70,044 to €100,000, USC is @8%
  • PAYE income in excess of €100,000 faces a USC charge of 8%
  • Self-employed income in excess of €100,000 faces a USC charge of 11%.

There are now 8 different bands of USC, a tax which is now more complex than ever before.

Tobacco 
The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes rises  by 40 cents (including VAT). A  a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products will also take immediate effect.

The excise duty on roll-your-own tobacco rises by an additional 20 cents (including VAT) per 25g pouch, again immediate effect.

Betting Duty
Betting Duty is being extended in 2015 to remote operators and betting exchanges.

Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT)

The VRT reliefs on the purchase of

  • hybrid electric vehicles,
  • plug-in hybrid electric vehicles,
  • plug-in electric vehicles, and
  • electric motorcycles

are being extended to 31 December 2016.

Microbreweries
The special relief on Excise Duty, which cuts the standard rate of Alcohol Products Tax by 50% on beers from microbreweries producing 20,000 hectolitres or less per annum is being extended to microbreweries  produce 30,000 hectolitres or less per annum.

Mineral oil

A 30 day deferral of excise duty on mineral oil is to be introduced.

Natural Gas as a Transport Fuel

The excise rate for Natural Gas and BioGas as a propellant (ie transport fuel) will be set at the current EU Minimum rate and this rate will be held for a period of eight years.

Artists’ Exemption 

The threshold for the artists’ exemption from Income Tax is being increased from €40,000 to €50,000.

The Exemption is also being extended to non-resident artists, who are resident in another EU/ EEA State.

The Foreign Earnings Deduction is being extended for a further 3 years until the end of 2017 and is now widened to  include Chile, Mexico and certain unspecified countries in the Middle East & Asia.

The number of qualifying days abroad is being reduced from 60 to 40.

The minimum stay in a country is cut to 3 days and now includes travelling time.

The Special Assignee Relief Programme is also being extended for a further 3 years, until the end of 2017.

The upper salary threshold is being removed.

The residency requirement is being amended to only require Irish residency.

The exclusion of work abroad is also removed.

The requirement to have been employed abroad by the employer is being reduced to 6 months.

Employment and Investment Incentive
The EII is being amended “to raise company limits, increase the holding period by 1 year and include medium-sized companies in non-assisted areas and internationally traded financial services”. These measures are subject to EU approval.

Hotels, guest houses and self-catering accommodation will remain eligible for a further 3 years, and the operation and management of nursing homes will be included for  the next 3 years.

Seed Capital Scheme
The scheme is being rebranded as “Start-Up Relief for Entrepreneurs” (SURE) and being widened to included those who have been unemployed up to 2 years.

Rent-A-Room  Scheme

The threshold for exempt income under the Rent-A-Room Scheme is being increased from €10,000 to €12,000 per annum.

Water Charges
Tax relief at 20% will be provided on water charges, up to a limit of €500 per annum. Relief will be given annually for charges paid in the previous tax year.

Home Renovation Incentive
The Home Renovation Incentive (which allows a 13.5% tax rebate on refurbishment, extension and improvement work) will now include rental
properties “owned by landlords subject to income tax”.

Capital Gains Tax

The CGT incentive relief, which provided Capital Gains Tax exemption in respect of the first 7 years of ownership, for properties purchased between 7 December 2011 and 31 December 2014 will not being extended beyond 31 December 2014.

Where property purchased in this period is held for seven years, the gains accrued in that period will not attract CGT.

Windfall Tax

The 80% Windfall Tax on land disposal gains & land development profits attributable to planning decisions is being abolished from 1 January 2015.

Farming

The amounts of long term land leasing income exempt from Income Tax rises by 50%.  A new threshold is being introduced for lease periods of 15 or more years, with income of up to €40,000 being exempted.

The long term land leasing income exemption is also being extended to companies which lease land.

The 40 years of age threshold for leasing relief is being abolished.

 

Income averaging, which allows full-time farmers to calculate their income tax position based on rolling average earnings over 3 years, will now be revised to calculate incomes over 5 years.

It is also extended to farmers with other income from “on-farm diversification”.

 

The farmer’s flat-rate addition rises from 5% to 5.2%. This addition VAT-unregistered farmers for VAT incurred on their farming inputs.

 

The deadline for Capital Gains Tax relief for farm restructurings  is being extended to 31 Decemeber 2016.

CGT Retirement Relief can now apply to land that has been leased for up to 25 years in total (increased from 15) ending with disposal.

Retirement Relief is being extended to land currently let under conacre (11 month letting) and which is disposed of by 31 December 2016 or enters a long-term (5-25 years) letting arrangement (ending with disposal) by that date.

CAT Agricultural Relief will now only be available:

  • for agricultural property gifted to or inherited by active farmers, and
  • to individuals who are not active farmers but who lease out the property on a long-term basis for agricultural use to active farmers.

In addition, 5-35 year Agricultural leases  to active farmers will be exempt from Stamp Duty.

Consanguinity relief, which halves the applicable rate of Stamp Duty, will be extended for a period of three years for transferors under 65 years old, where the transferee is an active farmer.

Corporation Tax

The 2003 base year restriction for the R&D Tax Credit is being removed from 1 January 2015.

The limited Corporation Tax relief on trading income (and certain capital gains) of new start-up companies in the first 3 years of trading is being extended until the end of 2015.

This 80% restriction on aggregate capital  allowances in respect of intangible assets (and any interest expense incurred on borrowings to fund the expenditure) will be removed.

The Accelerated Capital Allowances for Energy Efficient Equipment, which incentivises companies to invest in energy efficient equipment, is being extended to the end of 2017.

DIRT

A new relief from DIRT will apply on savings used by first time house buyers towards the deposit on their first home.

The Dept of Finance Summary of 2015 Budget Measures is here.


Non-Residents: How to Avoid a 20% Tax Deduction on Your Irish Rents

March 14, 2013

If you are an Irish non-resident with Irish rental income, your tenants must deduct 20% tax from the rents they pay to you. If you appoint a ‘Collection Agent’ you can avoid the headaches that this can involve.

The Irish Income Tax code requires tenants to deduct 20% tax on rents paid to a non-resident landlord. This requirement does not apply if you nominate an Irish-resident person as  your ‘Collection Agent’.

Rental Property

The ‘collection agent’ effectively acts as your nominee for Irish tax purposes.  It is possible for a family member or close friend to act as your ‘collection agent’ as they normally don’t have any duties  to perform in this capacity, although some people prefer to nominate their letting agent.

Take note that, if you have engaged a letting agent who is collecting the rents and engaging with tenants on your behalf, they are not actually obliged to deduct 20% tax from you, once you nominate either them or another Irish-resident person as your ‘Collection Agent’ for Revenue income tax purposes.

Acting as a ‘collection agent’ doesn’t affect or impact upon the nominated person’s own tax affairs in any way. It is still your responsibility, as property owner, to file your annual tax return and pay your tax liability each year.

If no ‘collection agent’ is appointed, the tenant must deduct tax at source from the rents and pay it to Revenue. As you can imagine, this sort of situation can get messy, especially if the tenant deducts 20% from the rent payments but ‘forgets’ to pay the deductions to Revenue.  In my experience, this potential nightmare is best avoided.

The ‘collection agent’ regulations may seem complex, but thankfully once everything is done properly, they are relatively straightforward – they only get complicated if the landlord fails to file tax returns or pay tax bills, in which event Revenue chase the ‘collection agent’  for them.

See my previous blog post: Irish Property, Living Abroad – What To Do About Tax  or Revenue’s Guide to Rental Income.

Ease your Irish Tax Return worries by getting in touch with Thomas McGibney & Company today.


P35 & RCT35 Online Filing Deadline Tomorrow

February 22, 2012

Tomorrow, 23 February, is the online filing deadline for 2011 Employer PAYE/PRSI P35 & Contractor RCT35 returns.

A P35 return includes details of all pay, PAYE/PRSI/USC deductions and other employee details for the year ended 31 December 2011.

An RCT35 return must be filed by all principal contractors in the construction, forestry, and meat processing sectors. It includes details of all payments made to subcontractors in 2011, and tax deduction details where relevant.

The original deadline of 15 February 2012 which applied to both returns is extended to 23 February for returns filed online via ROS.

In a recent eBrief, Revenue stress the importance of employers recording their employees’ PPS numbers correctly on P35 returns. Presumably the same guidance applies to subcontractor PPS and tax reg. numbers recorded on RCT35 returns.

The Revenue.ie website contains more guidance on completing P35 and RCT35 returns.


Revenue abandon Lenihan’s Professionals’ Tax Plan

March 25, 2011

Revenue have today abandoned Brian Lenihan’s plans to tax employees on professional subscriptions and membership fees.

In an eBrief unveiled this evening,  Revenue confirm that most professional subscriptions will continue to be exempt from tax under Benefit in Kind rules.

This reverses the former Finance Minister’s announcement in last December’s Budget, that the existing Benefit in Kind exemption on these fees would be scrapped from January 2011. This would have meant that where an employer paid a professional membership or subscription fee on behalf of an employee, the employee would have faced a tax, PRSI and USC charge on the amount paid.

Today, Revenue confirm that the exemption will still apply

  • Where the employee is required by law to be a member of a professional body, in order to carry out their work. This includes architects who (under the Building Control Act 2007) must be registered with the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland; and Health care professionals who are obliged by the  Health and Social Care professionals Act 2005, to be registered with the Health and Social Care Professionals Council.
  • Where the employer requires the employee to hold a practising certificate or licence, eg accountants  working in professional practices.
  • In certain other situations, where the employee is a member of a professional body which is relevant to their occupation.  This will cover accountants, engineers and others working in professional capacities in industry.

Revenue stress that the BIK exemption applies only where the professional subscription is relevant to the employee’s work. They cite practical examples to show that the exemption will not apply to a qualified architect who works as a HR manager, or a trained solicitor working as a media presenter.

The Revenue eBrief on this subject outlines 11 practical examples which illustrate how these rules will work in practice. Revenue also stress that Benefit in Kind PAYE, PRSI and USC must be charged on all cases not covered by the exemption.

I think this is a very positive move on Revenue’s part. The original plans to scrap this BIK relief were badly thought out, and a very poor appreciation of the much-vaunted ‘knowledge economy’.  It is nice to see Revenue taking action to restore this relief in most cases.

That said, I wonder would  such a u-turn have been politically possible if Mr. Lenihan was still Minister for Finance. Maybe it is time for his successor Michael Noonan to work alongside  Revenue in reversing some of the anti-business and anti-employment measures introduced in recent Budgets – several of which have proved in the meantime to be counter -productive.