Tax issues for tenants
There are two main tax issues for tenants in private rented accommodation.
The first is that you may be eligible for tax relief on part of your rent. This tax credit ended in 2017, but if you are eligible you may be able to claim for previous years – see 'Tax relief' below.
The second is that, if you pay rent directly to a landlord who lives abroad, you must deduct tax from the rent and account for it to the Revenue Commissioners – see 'Landlords living abroad' below.
There is more information on these 2 tax issues on Revenue's website.
This tax credit on your rent ended in 2017. However, you may be able to get it for previous years, if you haven’t already claimed it.
To be eligible for this tax credit for the previous four tax years (2014-2017) you must:
- Have been renting accommodation privately (whether in Ireland or outside the State) and paid income tax
- Have been renting on 7 December 2010
- Have used the rented accommodation as your sole or main residence
You cannot claim tax relief for rent paid to a local authority or a State agency, or for rent paid under a lease agreement for 50 years or more.
You must provide receipts for rent you have paid if the Revenue Commissioners request them. This rule applies regardless of whether you pay your rent directly to the landlord or to an agent on behalf of the landlord. Each receipt must show the following:
- Landlord's name, PPS Number and address
- Amount of rent that you have paid
- Period of time covered by the receipt.
You should keep your receipts for at least 6 years in case the Revenue Commissioners ask to see them.
See ‘Rates’ below for the maximum amounts of relief for your own situation.
Tax relief on private rented accommodation is calculated at the standard rate of 20%. The maximum amounts on which you can claim relief are as follows:
|Personal circumstances||For tax year 2016||For tax year 2017|
|Single and aged under 55 years||€400||€200|
|Single and aged over 55 years||€800||€400|
|Married/widowed/in a civil partnership/surviving civil partner and aged under 55 years||€800||€400|
|Married/widowed/in a civil partnership/surviving civil partner and aged over 55 years||€1,600||€800|
To work out what this is worth to you each year after tax, you multiply the tax allowance amounts above by 20%. So, for those aged:
- Under 55: the maximum amount that a single person under
55 can get is €80 (€400 x 20%) for rent paid in 2016. This will reduce
to €40 (€200 x 20%) for rent paid in 2017.
The maximum amount that you can get if you are married, widowed, in a civil partnership or a surviving civil partner is €160 (€800 x 20%) for rent paid in 2016. This will reduce to €80 (€400 x 20%) for rent paid in 2017.
- Over 55: the maximum amount that a single person over 55
can get is €160 (€800 x 20%) for rent paid in 2016. This will reduce to
€80 (€400 x 20%) for rent paid in 2017.
The maximum amount that you can get if you are married, widowed, in a civil partnership or a surviving civil partner is €320 (€1,600 x 20%) for rent paid in 2016. This will reduce to €160 (€800 x 20%) for rent paid in 2017.
How to apply
This tax relief ended in 2017, but you can claim it for the previous 4 years. To claim rent relief for 2014-2017 you should submit a request using Revenue's myAccount. Alternatively, you can contact your local tax office to enquire about claiming this tax relief.
As with all tax reliefs, you must claim within 4 years of the end of the year to which it refers, or you will not get the relief. As this tax relief ended in 2017, you can only claim the relief for the qualifying tax years up until 2017.
Landlords living abroad
If your landlord lives outside Ireland and you pay your rent through an agent, you do not have to deduct tax from the rent. The landlord’s collection agent must account for the tax in an annual tax return.
However, if you pay the rent directly to the landlord (including into their bank account, whether in Ireland or abroad), you must deduct tax at the standard rate (20% at present) from the gross amount that you pay. This deduction is not your tax relief - it is tax payable to Revenue from your landlord's income.
For example, your landlord lives in Germany and you pay them gross rent per month of €1,000. First, work out the amount of tax to be deducted (€1,000 x 20% = €200). Now deduct the tax due from the gross rent you pay (€1,000 - €200 = €800). The net rent to be paid to your landlord is €800 per month. The amount due to Revenue is the €200 per month that you deducted from the gross rent of €1,000.
Accounting to Revenue for tax deducted from rent
You must account to Revenue for the tax that you deduct from the gross rent. If you fail to deduct tax from rent that you pay directly to a landlord living outside Ireland, this will mean that you (and not the landlord) will be liable for any tax that should have been deducted.
If you pay tax under PAYE, you can account for it by reducing your tax credits and Standard Rate Cut-Off Point. You can notify your local Revenue Office and ask them to arrange this. Alternatively, you can make a tax return - Form 12 (pdf) and pay the retained amount to Revenue.
If you pay tax under self-assessment, you should include the details of your rent on your annual return - Form 11 (pdf). A notice of assessment will then issue to you, showing the reduced credit.
At the end of the year you must give your landlord a completed Certificate of Income Tax Deducted - Form R185 (pdf).
Where to apply
Contact information for tax offices is available here and in all telephone directories.