Help to Buy Scheme

Introduction

The Help to Buy (HTB) Scheme helps first-time buyers purchase a newly-built house or apartment. It also applies to once-off self-build homes. It only applies to properties that cost €500,000 or less.

The Help to Buy Scheme gives a refund of the income tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) you have paid in Ireland over the previous 4 tax years.

The HTB Scheme was increased in July 2020. This increase is known as the Enhanced Help to Buy Scheme. The Enhanced Help to Buy Scheme was due to end on 31 December 2022. But, it was announced in Budget 2023 that it will be extended until the end of 2024.

Do I qualify for the Help to Buy Scheme?

You must be a first-time buyer

If you are a first-time buyer who either buys or self-builds a new residential property between 19 July 2016 and 31 December 2024, you may be entitled to claim a refund of income tax and DIRT that you paid over the previous 4 tax years. You cannot claim relief on PRSI or USC.

If you are buying (or self-building) the property with someone else, they must also be a first-time buyer. You will not qualify if you have previously bought or built a property, either individually or jointly with anyone else, even if you are now separated or divorced from that person. You will not qualify if you have owned a home abroad.

The scheme only applies to properties that are bought or built as the first-time buyer’s home. It is not available for investment properties. Cash buyers do not qualify. If you have inherited or been gifted a property it will not affect your eligibility.

Your mortgage

You must take out a mortgage of at least 70% of:

  • The purchase price of the property if you are buying your newly built home
  • The valuation approved by the mortgage provider, if you are building your home

This is known as the loan to value ratio.

You are allowed to have a guarantor on the loan. A guarantor is someone who agrees to have the responsibility to pay your mortgage if you don't or can't pay it, for example, a parent or close relative.

Your new home

The property you buy or build must be a new residential property.

If you are buying a new home it must cost €500,000 or less.

If you are building your home the approved valuation of your home must be €500,000 or less. The valuation of your self-built home is approved by your mortgage provider. It is the valuation of the property at the time the mortgage is entered into and includes the cost of the site.

You must live in the property for 5 years from the date that it is habitable.

If you are buying your new home, the contractor or developer you buy it from must be approved by Revenue. If you are building your own home, you will need a solicitor (registered with Revenue as a ‘HTB approver’) to verify your HTB claim.

Tax requirements

If you pay tax through PAYE, you must be registered for Revenue’s online myAccount service. If you are a self-assessed taxpayer, you must be registered for the Revenue Online Service ROS.

In all cases, you must be fully tax-compliant for the 4 years immediately before your claim.

If you have not already done so, you will need to complete online Form 12 (PAYE) and Form 11 (self-assessed) for each of those 4 years. You must also pay any outstanding taxes that are due.

Rates

Enhanced Help to Buy Scheme

The maximum relief available was temporarily increased on 23 July 2020. This increase has been extended in subsequent budgets and the increased relief now applies to 31 December 2024.

If you sign a contract for a new house, or draw down on a self-build mortgage, between 23 July 2020 and 31 December 2024, you are eligible for the increased relief.

You can claim relief on the lesser of:

  • €30,000
  • 10% of the purchase price of a new build property
  • 10% of the approved valuation of a self-build property
  • The amount of income tax and DIRT you paid for the previous 4 years

The maximum payment is €30,000 per qualifying property under the enhanced relief. This cap applies regardless of how many people enter into a contract to purchase the property.

You can read more about the Enhanced Help to Buy Scheme on Revenue.ie.

All other conditions of the scheme stay the same.

Purchase price or valuation 1 January 2017 to 23 July 2020 23 July 2020 to 31 December 2024
Up to €500,000 Relief of up to 5% of purchase price or €20,000 Relief of up to 10% of purchase price, or 10% of approved valuation, or €30,000
Over €500,000 No relief No relief

How to apply

There are 3 stages to the online application process:

  1. The application stage
  2. The claim stage
  3. The verification stage

Application stage

If you are a PAYE employee only, you can apply for the Help to Buy Scheme through Revenue’s myAccount service.

If you are a self-assessed taxpayer, you can apply through Revenue’s Online Service (ROS).

You will also need access to MyEnquiries, a secure method of corresponding with Revenue.

  • If you are a ROS business user, you can access MyEnquiries from your My Services screen under ‘Other Services’
  • If you are a PAYE employee only, you can access MyEnquiries through myAccount

If you are tax compliant, your application will be approved and you will be given a summary of the maximum amount you can claim.

Claim stage

Once your application is approved you can make your claim using ROS or MyAccount. You will need to provide documents about your mortgage and confirm details about the property at this stage.

Verification stage

The information you have provided is verified by an eligible verifier. This is the contractor if you are buying a new home, or your solicitor if you are building your home.

You can get full details of the process from Revenue.

How do I get the refund?

If you buy a new build, the refund is paid directly to the builder. If you self-build the property, the refund is paid to a bank account you hold with your loan provider.

Further information

Read more about the Help to Buy Scheme and how to apply on revenue.ie. You can also read Revenue’s Summary Guide (pdf) for full details on the HTB process.

Page edited: 28 September 2022