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Mortgage interest relief

Introduction

Mortgage interest relief is a tax relief based on the amount of qualifying mortgage interest that you pay in a given tax year for your principal private residence (your home). A tax year means the period from 1 January to 31 December.

Mortgages taken out after 31 December 2012 do not qualify for mortgage interest relief.

Mortgage interest relief is administered via Tax Relief at Source (TRS). This means that your mortgage lender gives you the benefit of tax relief on the amount of mortgage interest paid. The lender does this by reducing your mortgage repayment by the amount of tax relief you are entitled to in each tax year. Any amendments to this tax relief - for example, if there is a change in interest rates - are made automatically by your lender.

You do not have to be earning a taxable income to qualify for mortgage interest relief.

Normally, you do not claim mortgage interest relief in an annual tax return because it is given directly to you by your mortgage lender. Tax relief can still be claimed from your Revenue office for interest paid on non-secured loans used for qualifying purposes.

Mortgage interest relief will be abolished entirely after 31 December 2017.

Rules

For you to qualify for tax relief on mortgage interest repayments, the interest must relate to money that you have borrowed to purchase, repair or improve your sole or main residence. For example, you cannot claim mortgage interest relief for interest on a loan used to buy a holiday home or investment property, but you can claim it if the loan is to extend or improve your main home.

If you work and pay taxes in the UK (including Northern Ireland) but your sole or main residence is in the State, you can claim relief on the interest you pay on the mortgage. You will need to have a Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) in order to claim the relief.

Relief is also subject to upper limits, which will depend on your personal situation and whether you are a first-time buyer - see Rates and ceilings for details.

Mortgage start date and entitlement to relief

Your entitlement to mortgage interest relief depends on the relevant start date, as follows:

  • If you started paying the mortgage in 2003 or earlier, your entitlement expired in 2009.
  • For a mortgage taken out between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2012, your entitlement to relief will continue until the end of 2017.
  • Mortgages taken out after 31 December 2012 do not qualify for mortgage interest relief.

Mortgage arrears and payment of interest

While the legislation governing mortgage interest relief provides for granting of relief based on the amount of qualifying interest paid in a tax year, many lenders used to operate the relief based on the amount of interest charged to an account, even if the borrower did not actually pay that amount of interest. This had little impact up to recently.

However, in response to the growing incidence of mortgage arrears, it was decided that, with effect from January 2014 onwards, all lenders would be obliged to grant Tax Relief at Source (TRS) based on the amount of interest actually paid by the borrower within a tax year in accordance with the legislation.

This change does not affect borrowers who make the full repayments on time, in accordance with their mortgage loan agreement.

For borrowers who do not make their repayments or who pay less than the amount of interest charged to their account, the TRS amount due will be reduced to reflect the actual amount of interest paid.

As regards interest-only arrangements, people who are only paying the interest portion of their mortgage are still entitled to TRS and will continue to get it if they meet the qualifying conditions.

Read more in Revenue's Frequently Asked Questions.

Rates and ceilings

There are different rates and ceilings for mortgage interest relief, depending on your circumstances. The Revenue Commissioners have published detailed tables, which show how the various rates and ceilings are applied. You can use these tables to calculate how much mortgage interest relief you will get each year.

First-time buyers

You are a first-time buyer for the purposes of mortgage interest relief if you are in the first 7 tax years of receiving it. Rates of relief for first-time buyers are generally reduced over the lifetime of the mortgage. However, for mortgages taken out by first-time buyers between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2008, there is a special rate of 30% for the tax years 2012 to 2017.

Rates for non-first-time buyers

If you are not a first-time buyer, the rate of mortgage interest relief is 15%.

Ceilings

The amount of mortgage interest on which you can get relief is subject to upper limits or ceilings. The ceiling that applies to you depends on your situation.

The following are the ceiling amounts for tax years 2014 and 2015:

Single Married/in a civil partnership/widowed/surviving civil partner
First-time buyer (for first 7 years) €10,000 €20,000
Non-first-time buyer €3,000 €6,000

How to apply

In general, you should register online for mortgage interest relief. However, if you cannot use the online facility, you can contact the TRS Helpline on 1890 46 36 26 or email trsadmin@revenue.ie for assistance. There is more information about TRS on the Revenue website.

Where to apply

TRS Section

Collector-General's Division
Sarsfield House
Francis Street
Limerick
Ireland

Locall:1890 463626
Homepage: http://www.revenue.ie
Email: trsadmin@revenue.ie


Further information

Changes in 2012

The Finance Act 2012 made the following changes to the rules on mortgage interest relief:

  • First-time buyers in 2012 qualified for mortgage interest relief at a rate of 25% for the first 2 tax years, reducing after that, with the appropriate first-time buyer ceilings
  • Non-first-time buyers in 2012 qualified for mortgage interest relief at a rate of 15% from 2012 until 2017
  • A special rate of 30% for the tax years 2012 to 2017 was introduced for first-time buyers who bought their sole or main residence for the first time in the years 2004 to 2008 or paid their first mortgage interest payment in this period

Deadline for new mortgages in 2012

Your entitlement to mortgage interest relief was dependent on the loan being drawn down and used in the purchase, repair, development or improvement of your principal private residence in 2012. It was not necessary to have made the first repayment on the loan in 2012. Interest accrues on the loan from the date the loan is drawn down and this interest qualifies for mortgage interest relief even if the first repayment was made in January 2013.

‘Drawing down’ a mortgage refers to the transfer of the money from the mortgage lender to you or to your solicitor. The money must have been paid to the seller or builder by 31 December 2012 for it to be considered as used in the purchase, repair, development or improvement of your principal private residence in 2012.

Page updated: 28 October 2014

Language

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Related Documents

  • Budget 2012
    Budget 2012 was announced on 5 and 6 December 2011. Summary of the main changes.
  • Budget 2009
    Budget 2009 was announced on 14 October 2008. Summary of the main changes.
  • Stamp duty on property
    Stamp duty is payable on the transfer of property.

Contact Us

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