Older people's tax credits and reliefs
If you are aged 65 or over, you are liable to pay income tax in the normal way. However, there are tax exemption limits for people aged 65 or over and there are some extra tax credits.
It is possible to get tax relief for covenants to people aged 65 and over.
In certain circumstances, you may be able to reclaim any DIRT (Deposit Interest Retention Tax) paid.
COVID-19 and re-opening of Revenue’s telephone helplines
Revenue’s public offices remain closed while public health measures are in place. You can contact Revenue on 01 738 3660 to make a virtual appointment (by video call). The appointment phone line is open Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 1.30pm. Video appointments are available Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 3.30pm.
Income tax applies to almost all income. People aged 65 and over are subject to the same general tax rules as everyone else but they do get tax exemption limits below which they pay no tax and some extra tax credits.
Tax credits for health insurance and long-term care insurance and tax relief for medical expenses are described in our document about taxation and medical care.
In general, if you are taxed exclusively under PAYE (this includes people whose non-PAYE income is taxed by having it coded into their determination of tax credits) you are not obliged to make an annual return.
If you are not taxed under PAYE (i.e. you are taxed under the self-assessment system) you are obliged to make an annual return by 31 October each year.
Tax exemption limits for people aged 65 and over
Exemption limits are income limits below which no tax is payable.
Annual exemption limits for people aged 65 and over
|Single or widowed or surviving civil partner||€18,000|
|Married or in a civil partnership||€36,000|
|First two children||€575 each|
|Subsequent children||€830 each|
If you expect that your income for the year will be less than these limits, you should contact Revenue and they will issue a revised determination of tax credits to you. If your income is not much above these amounts, you may get what is called "marginal relief". That means that you do not go back into the normal tax system - instead you pay tax at a rate of 40% on the amount by which your income exceeds your relevant exemption.
The point at which marginal relief ceases to be of benefit varies with your family circumstances and the tax credits to which you are entitled.
Tax credits are only relevant if you have a taxable income. Tax credits reduce the amount of income tax that you have to pay. How your tax is calculated depends on your income. Your tax credits are deducted from the gross tax to get the amount of tax that you have to pay.
Everyone is entitled to a personal tax credit at either the married/in a civil partnership, single or widowed/surviving civil partner rate. People who pay tax under the PAYE (pay-as-you-earn) system also get an Employee Tax Credit (formerly known as the PAYE tax credit). This Employee Tax Credit is also available to pensioners who receive their social security pension from another EU member state; they do not pay tax at source but pay tax annually. People aged 65 and over also get an Age Tax Credit.
Age Tax Credit
This is additional to the personal tax credit and may be claimed once you or your spouse or civil partner reaches the age of 65.
|Age Tax Credit||2021|
|Single or widowed or surviving civil partner||€245|
|Married or in a civil partnership||€490|
If you or your spouse or civil partner are 65 or over contact Revenue to claim this additional tax credit.
Dependent Relative Tax Credit
This credit is granted to if you pay tax and maintain, at your own expense, any person who comes within any of the following categories:
- A relative, including a relative of your spouse or civil partner, who is unable to maintain himself or herself as a result of old age or ill-health
- A widowed parent / surviving civil partner parent of either yourself or your spouse or civil partner, irrespective of the state of his/her health
- A son or daughter of either yourself or your spouse or civil partner who lives with you and on whose services you must depend as a result of old age or ill health
The relative's own income must be below a certain amount to claim this tax credit. More information is available in our document about Dependent Relative Tax Credit.
Relief for employing a carer
If you employ a person to take care of an incapacitated member of your family, you may be eligible for tax relief. Revenue set a maximum amount at which you can claim.
If you are a higher rate taxpayer and you want to help support a person on a low income, it may be worthwhile to covenant the money.
The person to whom you covenant must be 65 or over or be permanently incapacitated. If the conditions are met, you can claim tax relief on an amount up to 5% of your taxable income; however, there is no limit if the person is permanently incapacitated.
Covenants are most effective if the recipient does not have a taxable income. The amount you covenant may be taxable in the hands of the recipient. It is important to note that money covenanted to people receiving a non-contributory pension or means-tested allowance may affect their entitlement to the allowance in question. You can find more information about deeds of covenant.
Tax relief for rent
The tax relief for rent paid for private rented accommodation has been phased out and 2017 was the last year for this relief. However, there is a 4 year time limit to claim a tax refund.
People over 55 could claim relief at higher rates. You could not claim relief if you were not renting before 7 December 2010. You can find out more in our document about tax issues for tenants.
Deposit Interest Retention Tax
Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) is deducted from the interest payable on savings in banks, building societies, etc. This happens whether or not you would normally be liable for tax. If you are aged 65 or over or your spouse or civil partner is aged 65 or over or if you are permanently incapacitated, you may not be liable for DIRT if you are exempt from income tax.You can complete form DE1 (pdf) and return it to your financial institution, so that they can pay your interest without deducting DIRT.
How to apply
You can apply to your Inspector of Taxes for the credits described or for the application of the exemption limits to you.Forms for covenants are available from the Revenue Commissioners and in banks and other financial institutions.