Payroll Covid-19

Wage Subsidy Scheme WSS

Over 50,900 employers are registered with Revenue for the Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS), of which over 43,000 have received payments. WSS payments with a cumulative value of over €700 million have been delivered to over 427,000 employees. The WSS has been operating for some time but the operational phase only commenced on 4 May.

What is the operational phase of the WSS?

The WSS commenced on 26 March 2020. The period up to 3 May was the Transitional Phase. The operational phase commenced 4 May 2020 and applies to submissions received on or after that date. 

Key features of the operational phase are based on Revenue’s capacity to analyse and provide relevant information to employers. In particular:

  1. Revenue will make available a CSV file (per employer registered for the WSS) with each employee’s Average Revenue Net Weekly Pay (ARNWP), maximum WSS amount and maximum Employer Top-up, using a tiered system for tapering purposes;
  2. The amounts of WSS that will be refunded to employers will be the actual WSS that the employee received, as per the Payroll Submissions;
  3. Revised calculation rules and WSS rates will apply

Where an employer wishes to ‘top up’ the WSS, our experience to date indicates that the process is not as simple as one would hope or expect.

Employers have a lot on their plate operating the WSS, at a time when capability and resources are likely to be impacted. Revenue’s online calculator may provide some assistance to employers struggling with the complexity of the scheme.

This bulletin outlines key decisions, considerations and practical tips.

What needs to be considered prior to any payroll processing?
Before you start

Employers need to have considered their eligibility for the WSS and registered for the scheme.

Prior to processing

Prior to processing a payroll including the WSS, employers should utilise available resources to accurately determine key data items, including individual employees’:

  • Maximum allowable top-up amounts before tapering, and
  • Maximum WSS amount

These figures will be the starting point for any decisions on possible top-up payments. 

Remember, the ARNWP is based on January and February payroll submissions and Revenue’s confirmation of this amount in the CSV file now represents the baseline for the WSS.

The following resources can be utilised to help calculate key data items:

  • Your outsourced payroll provider or your payroll software provider (if your payroll is processed in house). Ask about reporting functionality in relation to WSS ARNWP, WWS etc;
  • a trusted advisor who has visibility of your payroll; and
  • Revenue including both the ‘Request Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme calculation’ and ‘Sample Subsidy Calculator’ facilities

Even with these supports, the operational phase is likely to be difficult to navigate, particularly if you have a large payroll or range of pay levels.

Tips and hints


When processing the payroll it is important for employers to be clear on what they are seeking to achieve and to deliver to employees. For example, do they intend to pay:

  • Only the maximum available WSS amount or
  • maximum available WSS plus Employer Top-up?
If so how do they determine the Employer Top-up amount?

If an employer is delivering Top-up, care needs to be taken to ensure that the amounts processed adhere to appropriate limits and that WSS limits are not breached unintentionally. In addition, an approach needs to be taken regarding the processing of:

  • Pensions: employee pension deductions can’t be made from WSS but can be from Top-up regarding scheme rules for periods of non payment?
  • Benefits in Kind: what are implications of ‘suspending’ BIKs, e.g. a tax liability for the employee at the end of the year? If you continue to process the BIK have you factored this into your calculation of the maximum top-up? Statutory deductions on BIKs can’t be made from WSS but can be from Top-up. How might deductions impact on employees’ net pay and has this been agreed with the employees?
  • Non-statutory deductions from any top-up, e.g. SAYE or medical insurance. If these are suspended what are the implications?

These items all feed into instructions for either an outsourced payroll service provider, or an in-house payroll team.

Payroll processing software will need to be updated to:

  • Process all appropriate individual Pay, Benefit and Deduction element value changes. These may be ‘Masterfile’ (Permanent) or ‘Time sheet’ (Temporary) changes;
  • correctly set up the WSS element with appropriate tax, USC and PRSI treatment; and
  • reflect the appropriate PRSI class

Once a WSS payroll is processed (but not finalised) we recommend undertaking the following (at a minimum):

  • Ensure net pay is equal to or more than the WSS;
  • for each level of ARNWP, ensure that the appropriate ‘band’, ‘tier’, and subsidy is applied correctly to calculate processed values for WSS, Top-up etc.
  • check that WSS is set up correctly as PAYE and USC free and identified as ‘GovC19 Wage Sub
  • confirm that all employees receiving the WSS are on PRSI Class J9 and are reflected on the Payroll Submission as such;
  • any top-up amount is in line with employer’s intention or staff announcements;
  • undertake due diligence around whether pensions, BIKs, and non-statutory deductions can be processed in line with pre-COVID-19 employee agreements and, if so, without impacting WSS net to employees. Care needs to be exercised here; and
  • make sure there’s no discrepancy between the WSS calculated versus the payroll submission report (at individual employee level and total level)

Reporting and reconciliation considerations

Reporting to Revenue

Once processed and finalised, usual Real Time Reporting (RTR) obligations apply and submissions must be made on or before the pay date. Employers can file payroll submissions early but Revenue will not process these (or WSS refunds) earlier than four days before the due pay date.

Revenue do not currently have the capacity to amend submissions that include WSS claims. If an employer needs to correct or amend reporting to Revenue, it is necessary to make this request through MyEnquiries.


In the operational phase the WSS refunded by Revenue to the employer will equal the amount actually paid to the employee. Any excess amount paid by Revenue from the Transitional Phase may be taken into when making these refunds.

Revenue anticipates that refunds of the subsidy will be transferred into the employer’s bank account within two banking days of the payroll submission being made.

As the WSS is taxable but not taxed through the PAYE system, any tax due will be collected from employees at a later date. This is likely to be collected via adjusted credits and bands on a future RPN. Also, employees on a cumulative (normal) tax basis may have received tax refunds in the first periods of WSS payments. 



Guide for Self-Employed, Employers and Employees

As part of the measures announced to limit and slow down the spread of COVID-19, to keep the number of affected people to a minimum and to reduce peak pressure on the health service, the Government is: 

  • Waiving the requirement for 6 waiting days for Illness Benefit in respect of medically certified cases of self-isolation in accordance with public health guidelines,
  • Increasing the personal rate of Illness Benefit from €203 per week to €305 per week for a maximum period of 2 weeks of medically certified self-isolation, or for the duration of a person’s medically-certified absence from work due to COVID-19 diagnoses,
  • Removing the means test Supplementary Welfare Allowance in respect of medically certified cases of self-isolation, and
  • Allowing self-employed people to receive either Illness Benefit or non-means tested supplementary welfare allowance.

 The DEASP has released a detailed guide for employers and employees and includes information on: 

  • Who the enhanced arrangements are intended to serve
  • Workers who are diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Workers who are not diagnosed with COVID-19 but are required to self-isolate
  • Workers whose employers do not supplement/top-up the state Illness Benefit payment
  • Availability of the enhanced payment
  • Workers who are requested to stay at home by their employer
  • Workers who are laid off temporarily or put on to short-time working
  • Workers who need to take time off work to care for a person affected by COVID-19
  • People already in receipt of Social Welfare Payments
  • How to apply for Illness Benefit for COVID-19 absences

You can visit the following sites for information:


PAYE 2019

Update on PAYE Modernisation

Revenue issued an update on the progress of PAYE Modernisation. Revenue received Payroll Submissions in January from employers for over 2.4 million employees, which accounts for 90% of all employees registered with Revenue. Monthly Statements were issued to employers on 5th February confirming the information filed by the employers in their January Payroll Submissions and advising them that any amendments must be completed by 14th February. Statements will be ‘deemed’ to be a Return on the 14th February where no action is taken by the employer. Employers are reminded that in addition to filing the Monthly Return, they are required to pay the January liability by the 23rd February (23rd April for Quarterly filers). Revenue contacted approximately 65,000 employers who were issued with a ‘Nil’ Statement (as no Payroll Submissions were received in January) to ensure they are aware of their obligations. The update also indicates that Revenue intend to make the relevant payroll information available to employees shortly via myAccount so employees can see their pay, tax, USC and PRSI details in real time, hence Revenue has stressed the importance of accurate and timely Payroll Submissions from employers.


PAYE Modernisation 2019


This employer notice covers the following topics:

  1. 2018 Employer Tax Credit Certificates (P2Cs)
  2. PAYE Modernisation
  3. 2019 Revenue Payroll Notifications (RPNs)
  4. Forms P45, P46, P30, P35 and P60 abolished
  5. Commencing and ceasing employees
  6. Universal Social Charge (USC)
  7. USC Exemption on RPNs
  8. 2019 Emergency Tax and Emergency USC rates
  9. Taxation of Illness Benefit and Occupational Injury Benefit
  10. Employers’ Guide to PAYE
  11. 2018 P35 Filing: feedback to assist filing
  12. Revenue’s 1890 LoCall phone system replaced by standard telephone numbers
  13. National Employer Helpline
  14. Further assistance


1. 2018 Employer Tax Credit Certificates (P2Cs)

Revenue will cease issuing 2018 P2Cs with effect from 30 November 2018. An exception to this will be for employees/pensioners commencing employment or pension, which are notified to Revenue in December. Revenue will continue to issue P2Cs for ‘December commencements’ through ROS to employers/pension providers until end-December 2018.

2. PAYE Modernisation

From 1 January 2019 the PAYE system, which was first introduced in 1960, is changing to ‘real time’. This means that every time you pay your employees, you will report the pay and deduction details to Revenue as part of the payroll process.

Employers, agents and payroll providers will need to review their business processes and practices so they meet the new requirements. You must ensure that you:

  • have registered all of your employees with Revenue,
  • checked you have the correct Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) for all employees. Employers can use the PPS number checker in ROS to confirm the correct PPS number for employees or pensioners,
  • operate the Revenue deduction instructions for each employee (on the P2C up to end-2018 and on the RPN from January 2019),
  • have complete payroll data, which is accurate and up-to-date,
  • have all required information on employee pay, including notional pay, on a timely basis and in the correct format to payroll; and
  • have an active ROS digital certificate on the computer you use to run your payroll.

If you use an accountant or a payroll agent for your payroll, you must contact them to ensure that you will meet your reporting obligations.

If you use payroll software to operate your payroll, you must contact your software provider to ensure your payroll package is ready to meet the reporting obligations.

Important details on ROS preparations for 2019 are available on our website – see Employing people / PAYE Modernisation / Getting ready.

ROS Digital Certificates
ROS access is critical to fulfilling your obligations as an employer.

You should review your ROS digital certificates to ensure that they have not expired. ROS Administrators should log in to ROS now and if prompted to renew, should proceed with the renewal. If the ROS Administrator certificate expires, all sub-users will be suspended until a new certificate is obtained, which may take up to 5 working days. There is only one ROS Administrator certificate. To check that you are the ROS Administrator, go to the Profile tab in ROS – only the ROS Administrator may update contact details there.

ROS certificates have to be renewed every 2 years. Email reminders are issued in advance. You should make sure that your contact details are up-to-date in the ROS Profile tab so that you receive the reminders.

If any ROS certificate is copied to another computer or another user, ensure that all relevant parties are aware of any renewals or updated passwords.

You should also review your sub-users’ digital certificate permissions to ensure that payroll staff and your software have the appropriate permissions to allow you to comply with PAYE Modernisation. Information regarding ROS certificates is available on our website – see Online services / ROS help / ROS for employers / ROS preparations for 2019 payroll.

Full details regarding PAYE Modernisation and your obligations as an employer are available on our website – see ‘Employing people’.

3. 2019 Revenue Payroll Notifications (RPNs)

From 1 January 2019 Revenue Payroll Notifications (RPNs) are replacing P2Cs.

Payroll software will retrieve the latest RPNs from Revenue as part of the normal payroll process. If you do not use a payroll package you will be able to request your employees’ RPNs through ROS.

The RPN will provide you with the necessary information to deduct the correct income tax, Universal Social Charge (USC) and Local Property Tax (LPT).

RPNs will be available from 5 December 2018.

Note: from 1 January 2019, you should no longer apply a previous year’s P2C to an employee’s pay. You must request the latest RPN for all employees/pensioners before you run your payroll. Where Revenue cannot provide you with an RPN, you must apply emergency tax. The revised emergency tax rates should be used.

4. Forms P45, P46, P30, P35 and P60 abolished

With the introduction of real-time reporting from 1 January 2019, Forms P45, P46, P30, P35 and P60 will be abolished. The 2018 P35 due to be filed in mid-February 2019 is the last P35 to be filed. The 2018 P60s are the final P60s that should be produced for your employees.

Employer returns
P30s and the suite of P35 forms will not be used in the new real-time reporting system.

Revenue will issue you with a monthly statement based on your payroll submissions; by the fifth day of the following month. The monthly statement will show a summary of the total liability, and a breakdown of your liability for income tax, USC, PRSI and LPT.

The monthly statement will be deemed as your return if no amendments or corrections are made (to the underlying payroll submissions) before the return due date (the 14th of the following month).

Payment due dates
Payment due dates for employers are unchanged.

While quarterly and annual remitters will have a monthly statement issued by Revenue which becomes their monthly return, your payment due dates will remain the same.

5. Commencing and ceasing employees

From 1 January 2019, the process for commencing and ceasing employees will be part of your normal payroll process. You must request an RPN for any new employees before you pay them. (The RPN request and payroll submission includes a field for commencement date.) This action will create the employment on our records and will provide you with the details required to calculate their payroll deductions.

First ever employment in the State
An employee who has never worked before in the State must register with Revenue so that the correct amount of tax and USC will be deducted from his or her wages. It is an employee’s responsibility to register with Revenue using myAccount (selecting ‘Add Job or Pensions’ in PAYE Services) if it is their first ever job in the State. You will then be able to request an RPN.

When an employee ceases their employment with you, you will input the date of leaving (cessation date) on the payroll submission. This eliminates the requirement for a P45.

Note: you should continue to complete the P45/P46 process in respect of employees who cease and commence employment prior to 1 January 2019.

6. Universal Social Charge (USC)

As announced in Budget 2019, the rates and thresholds of the USC are changing with effect from 1 January 2019. The USC information on our website – in ‘Jobs and pensions’ and ‘Employing people’ – has been updated to take account of these changes.

7. USC Exemption on RPNs

Where Revenue estimate (generally based on previous year’s earnings) that the employee’s/ pensioner’s total annual earnings (from all USC-able sources) will not exceed the USC Exemption threshold of €13,000, the USC exemption will be stated on the RPN.

However, where it is known that an employee’s/pensioner’s pay for USC purposes will in fact exceed the €13,000 threshold, we ask that the payroll operator or HR Department advise the employee/pensioner to contact Revenue to have a revised RPN issued. This can be done by individuals online using myAccount (by selecting ‘PAYE Services’), or by contact with his or her Revenue office. This will avoid a situation where the employee/pensioner has an under-deduction of USC at the end of the year (where the exemption is exceeded, USC becomes payable on all income).

8. 2019 Emergency Tax and Emergency USC rates

The new Emergency Tax and USC rates applicable from 1 January 2019 are available on our website. You should be aware that the legal basis for applying emergency tax is updated in PAYE real-time reporting. Additional information is included on the website – see Jobs and pensions / PAYE Modernisation for employees.

9. Taxation of Illness Benefit and Occupational Injury Benefit

Since 1 January 2018, Revenue incorporated the taxable element of Illness or Occupational Injury Benefit into employees’/pensioners’ tax credit certificates. This had the effect of reducing employees’/pensioners’ available tax credits and/or rate bands.

Employers should not have included taxable Illness Benefit with pay in payroll in 2018, and should not return Illness Benefit on their 2018 Form P35L.

Throughout 2018, when Revenue was informed by the DEASP that an employee was in receipt of an Illness Benefit payment, we wrote to the individual to advise that this payment is a taxable source of income and that any tax due would be collected by reducing their tax credits. From 1 January 2019, Revenue will no longer issue letters to employees.

10. Employers’ Guide to PAYE

The Employers’ Guide to PAYE is available on our website. This is a comprehensive source of information on the operation of PAYE for employers.

The Guide is currently being updated to take account of changes arising from the introduction of PAYE real time reporting from 1 January 2019.

11. 2018 P35 Filing: feedback to assist filing

(i) Correct PPSN
Payroll/pension departments are reminded to ensure that the correct PPSN is used for their employees/pensioners. All employers/pension providers should have a P2C with the correct PPSN for all their employees or pensioners; and that PPSN should be subsequently used in completing the 2018 P35L detail. As employers have submitted their list of employees, employer register information should match the P2Cs issued by Revenue in 2018.

Issues have arisen when, for example, an employee/pensioner changes from a ‘W’ number and has a new PPSN issued by DEASP and Revenue issue a new P2C under the new PPSN. The employee’s/pensioner’s new PPSN should be recorded on the 2018 P35L. Where an employer continues to use a cancelled or incorrect PPSN on the P35L, this will cause delay in updating the individual employee’s or pensioner’s pay and PRSI information to the DEASP.

Employers can use the PPS number checker in ROS to confirm the correct PPS number for employees or pensioners.

(ii) Local Property Tax (LPT)
Employers/pension providers are reminded that they are obliged to ensure that LPT is correctly deducted where instructed to do so by Revenue, and is subsequently included on the 2018 P35L. Updated P2Cs containing instructions about LPT deductions are issued by Revenue during the year, generally based on a customer’s instructions to Revenue. Accordingly, it is important that the latest P2C instruction relating to LPT deductions is used. It is particularly important to ensure that updated information about new PPSNs is used in order that the LPT deductions are correctly recorded on your employee’s/pensioner’s LPT payment record.

12. Revenue’s 1890 LoCall phone system replaced by standard telephone numbers

In September 2018, Revenue launched a new telephone technology platform that facilitates phone calls using standard telephone numbers, resulting in reduced costs for customers using mobile phones.

While the 1890 service is a low-cost service for fixed line calls, mobile telecom operators do not treat it as a low-cost service or as part of ‘bundled minute packages’ and charge standard rates.

Revenue has implemented changes that will allow us to provide a robust and reliable telephone service like that provided by the 1890 architecture. As it uses standard phone numbers, calls will be charged based on a caller’s own telephone ‘bundle package’.

National Service Phone number Outside Ireland
National Employer Helpline (01) 738 36 38 + 353 1 738 36 38
PAYE queries from employees or pensioners (01) 738 36 36 + 353 1 738 36 36

The full list of new phone numbers replacing the 1890 numbers is available in the ‘Contact us’ section of our website.

13. National Employer Helpline

The National Employer Helpline provides information and support to employers.
Contact details as follows:

MyEnquiries: Select ‘Employers PAYE’ in the ‘My Enquiry Relates To’ box.

14. Further assistance

Additional assistance is available from our website in relation to

  • using ROS – see Online Services / ROS Help
  • PAYE Modernisation – see Online Services / Software developers / PAYE Modernisation Technical Overview.

Furthermore, there are videos to assist employers and payroll operators in familiarising themselves with the new screens and facilities developed as part of PAYE Modernisation.

Advice for Small to Medium Start up’s

Resources for your business

The Republic of Ireland has over 185,500 active enterprises, of which 99.7% are SMEs. In fact over 90% of these SME businesses are classified as “micro-enterprises” with less than 10 employees.

Small and medium enterprises in the Republic employ 68% of the workforce and generate just over half the State’s annual turnover (Central Statistics Office, 2012).

Keeping good records can help your business:

  • avoid paying too much tax
  • budget for tax payments ahead of time with no nasty shocks at the end of the year
  • avoid interest and penalties by making it easier to pay the right tax at the right time
  • manage your business and help it grow
  • get a loan
  • pay lower accountants fees

Funding Your Business

Microfinance Ireland provides loans to small businesses with no more than 10 employees, including sole traders and start-ups. The loans of between €2,000 and €25,000 are for commercially viable proposals that have been refused credit by the banks. Details of how to apply and forms are available on

JobsPlus is a new employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who employ jobseekers on the Live Register. There are 2 levels of incentive: €7,500 for recruits unemployed for more than 12 but less than 24 months and €10,000 for recruits unemployed for more than 24 months. Eligible employers who recruit full-time employees on or after 1 July 2013 may apply for the incentive, which will initially operate on a pilot basis for a period of 6 months. JobsPlus has replaced the Revenue Job Assist and Employer Job (PRSI) Exemption Scheme which ended on 30 June 2013, but existing participants on these schemes will not be affected.

Under the Trading Online Voucher Scheme vouchers of up to €2,500 may be available to businesses who demonstrate that they have a credible plan to trading online. Further details are available from your Local Enterprise Office.

Read more on the Citizens Information website.


Hiring a Certified Bookkeeper to work freelance, is a cost-effective way to reduce the burden of bookkeeping and leave’s you time to get on with running your business.

Remember – you should always verify your bookkeeper’s credentials.

Five things a Certified Bookkeeper can do for you:

  1. Help you with your cash-flow, VAT returns and tax bills
  2. Sort out your receipts
  3. Ensure you’re claiming for the right expenses
  4. Save you time
  5. Save you money


Self Assessment Tax Returns guidance article

Starting and Running a Business  by the the Revenue Commissionerslinkedin

Marry Christmas from Us to You and yours


Merry Christmas and a

Happy New Year 

May you all have a blessed and peaceful holiday season. Be safe when and if you are travelling. 2017 was a fantastic year with many challenges but we all met them head-on and here we are now.

Here is to 2018.

Our offices will be closed from Wednesday the 20th December 2017 and we are reopening on the 08th January 2018. This does not mean you cannot get hold of us we are still contactable by phone and email. If we are not answering immediately be patient as we are in holiday mood.




6 Ways Budget 2018 Will Affect SME’s

6 Ways Budget 2018 Will Affect SMEs

Posted By: AIB Business

Budget 2018

10 October 2017 saw the unveiling of the second Budget of the 32nd Dáil.  Delivering his first Budget, Minister Donohoe said the Budget “achieves sustainable and affordable tax reform, delivers improvements in services and ensures increased investment in our national infrastructure”. Thomas Sheerin, Tax Director at KPMG in Ireland, outlines some of the elements affecting SMEs.

1. Income Tax, Earned Income Tax Credit for Self-employed and USC Changes

The point at which an individual attracts the higher 40% income tax rate has increased by €750.  Therefore, for a single person the first €34,550 of income will be taxable at the 20% rate.  The first €43,550 will be taxable at the 20% rate in the case of a married person (one earner).

The Minister announced an increase of €200 in the Earned Income Tax Credit to €1,150 for 2018.  This credit is available to self-employed individuals who cannot benefit from the PAYE tax credit of €1,650 that is available to employees.

The entry point for the USC remains at €13,000.  However, the 2.5% rate is to reduce to 2% and the ceiling for this new rate is increased from €18,772 to €19,273.  This change ensures that full-time workers on the minimum wage do not pay the upper USC rates.  The 5% USC rate is also to reduce to 4.75% thereby reducing the top marginal rate of tax on income up to €70,044 to 48.75%.

2. Share-based remuneration

Following a public consultation and review of share-based remuneration that took place last year, a new incentive called Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP) is being introduced.  KEEP is to facilitate the use of share-based remuneration by unquoted SME companies to attract and retain key employees.  Gains arising to employees on the exercise of KEEP share options will be liable to Capital Gains Tax on the disposal of the shares.  At present, such gains on the exercise of options are subject to income tax, USC and PRSI.  This incentive will be available for qualifying share options granted after 1 January 2018.

3. Retailers and Tourism

The Minister confirmed that the reduced 9% VAT rate for tourism and related activities will continue to apply.

The old reliable excise duty on tobacco is to increase by 50 cents on a pack of 20 cigarettes with a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products.

4. Construction and Property

The rate of stamp duty on commercial property transactions is to increase from 2% to 6% with effect from midnight tonight.  However, a stamp duty refund scheme will be introduced for commercial land purchased for the development of housing, provided the relevant development commences within 30 months of the land purchase – further details to follow in the Finance Bill.

Funds of €750 million are to be made available to a new vehicle, Home Building Finance Ireland for commercial investment in housing finance.  This vehicle will increase the availability of debt on market terms to commercially viable residential development projects whose land owners want to build homes.

The holding period to qualify for the exemption from Capital Gains Tax for certain land and buildings will be reduced from 7 years to 4 years.  The exemption is available on the disposal of certain land and buildings that were acquired between 7 December 2011 and 31 December 2014.  Further details to follow in the Finance Bill which should be examined clearly.

The Minister announced an increase from 3% to 7% in the vacant site levy that applies to the second and subsequent years.  An owner of a vacant site on the register who does not develop the land in 2018 will pay the 3% levy in 2018 and the increased 7% levy from 1 January 2019.

Finance Act 2016 introduced the Help to Buy scheme for first time buyers of new houses that take out a mortgage of at least 80% of the purchase price.  No changes to this scheme were announced in the Budget.

Mortgage interest relief was due to cease on 31 December 2017.  This relief is available in respect of qualifying loans provided to owner occupiers between 2004 and 2012 to purchase, repair, develop or improve their home.  The relief has been extended to 2020, but in a tapered manner.  As a result, 75% of the existing relief will be available in 2018, reduced to 50% in 2019 and 25% in 2020.

Generally, a landlord is not entitled to offset pre-letting expenses against rental income arising from a first letting.  A deduction of up to €5,000 per property in relation to pre-letting expenses is to be introduced.  The deduction will be available for owners of residential property that has been vacant for 12 months or more.  A clawback will arise if the property is withdrawn from the rental market within four years.

Last year’s Budget saw an increase to 80% for the deduction of interest incurred by landlords on qualifying loans when computing the rental income subject to income tax.  At that time, it was announced that the deductible amount would increase by 5% each year until a 100% deduction for interest is restored.  Therefore, the deduction for 2018 will be equal to 85% of the interest incurred.

5. Food and Farming

For the purposes of agricultural relief for Capital Acquisitions Tax and retirement relief for Capital Gains Tax, agricultural land used for solar farms will continue to be classified as agricultural land.  This measure is designed to increase diversification.  However, the amount of the farmland that can be used by the solar farm will be restricted to 50% of the total farm acreage.

To facilitate intergenerational shift in farm ownership and management, consanguinity stamp duty relief at a rate of 1% for inter-family farm transfers is to be maintained for a further three years.  The exemption for young trained farmers from stamp duty on agricultural land transactions also continues.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine is to bring forward a package of Brexit response measures.  These include a Brexit Loan Scheme for SMEs.  This scheme will see €300 million available at a competitive rate to SMEs, including food businesses given their unique exposure to the UK market to assist with their working capital needs.

6. Other

On 1 April 2018, a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks will be introduced subject to State Aid approval.  The tax will be levied at 30 cent per litre on relevant drinks containing more than 8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres and 20 cent per litre on drinks where the sugar content is between 5 grams and 8 grams per 100 millilitres.

No changes were announced to the Capital Acquisitions Tax thresholds.


For further coverage of Budget 2018, visit