A Buyer’s Guide
The Help to Buy incentive was established to help first-time property buyers with the deposit required to buy or build a new house or apartment. This property must be your home and must be a new-build. The incentive is a refund of Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax that you have paid in Ireland over the last four years.
The property is also subject to a maximum value of €500,000 or less. Your mortgage loan must be taken out with a qualifying lender, and the loan must be at least 70% of the property’s purchase price. You are allowed to have a guarantor on the loan.
To avail of the scheme, you must:
- be a first-time buyer
- buy or build a new property between 19 July 2016 and 31 December 2021
- live in the property as your main home for five years after you buy or build it
- be tax compliant or have tax clearance if you are self-employed
- buy from a contractor or developer approved by Revenue, such as Quintain
How much can I claim?
As part of the Irish Government’s July Jobs Stimulus package, any applicants who sign a contract for the purchase of a new home or apartment between 23 July 2020 and 31 December 2021 are eligible for increased relief. The amount you can currently claim is the lesser of:
- €30,000 (increased from €20,000)
- 10% of the purchase price (increased from 5%)
The amount refunded depends on how much Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) you have paid over the previous four years. Universal Social Charge (USC) and Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) are not taken into account.
How do I apply?
1. Pre-application stage
Before you apply you must ensure your tax status is up to date. First, ensure you are registered with Revenue with myAccount (if you are a PAYE worker) or Revenue Online Service (ROS) (if you are self-employed).
Then, submit an Income Tax Return for each year you wish to claim for, and ensure all outstanding tax is paid. PAYE workers can use myAccount to submit returns for the years from 2015; these are pre-populated with your pay and tax details. If you are self-employed you must be fully tax compliant and have tax clearance. Your returns must be submitted and all tax due paid in full.
2. Application stage
Use myAccount or ROS to apply for Help to Buy online. You must complete a declaration and select the years you want to use for a refund. If you are tax compliant, your application will be approved and you will be provided with an application number and a summary of the maximum amount you can claim. You will also be given a six digit access code separately through the MyEnquiries section.
Make sure to keep these numbers safe as you will need to give them to both your lender and your developer.
3. Claim stage
Once you have signed the contract for your new home, you can make your claim through myAccount or ROS. You will be asked to upload evidence of your mortgage and a copy of the signed contract. You will also be asked to confirm a number of details:
- purchase price
- date of completion
- amount of deposit already paid
- the portion of the refund for each person in the application (if more than one)
Once you have submitted your claim you will be provided with a claim reference number. This should be given to your developer along with your access code (issued when you submitted your application). Before you receive any refund, the information you have provided will need to be verified by the developer or contractor.
How is the refund paid?
The refund is paid directly to the developer (Quintain). At time of application, the sales agent will calculate your deposit based on your booking deposit, the amount due back through the Help to Buy scheme and any balance then due. You therefore only have to pay the balance of your deposit before drawing down your loan.
More information on the Help to Buy incentive can be found at www.revenue.ie