If you are thinking about becoming a landlord in Ireland, you’ll no doubt have considered the tax implications of letting out a property. While you will almost certainly have a tax liability, you may not be sure exactly how to work out what tax you need to pay or be aware of the tax relief available to you. This guide will give you all the essential information for calculating income tax on your rental income, helping you to better plan your finances and ensure your success as a landlord in Ireland.
In a nutshell, your rental profit can be calculated by determining your gross rental income minus your allowable deductions and expenses. It is this amount that is subject to income tax. If you make a loss (i.e. if your total allowable deductions and expenses are more than your rental income) you can simply carry your losses forward until you can offset them against a profit.
The rate of tax you pay on your rental profit will depend on your personal circumstances, your total income (from all sources including your work) and any tax reliefs you may be entitled to. Generally speaking, you’ll pay either 20% or 40%.
It’s very important to keep thorough records of all your expenses, and you should keep hold of them for 6 years unless your Revenue office advises you otherwise. If you are subject to an audit and you don’t have these records available then you may have to pay a penalty.
Expenses You Can Claim
Though your rental profit will be taxed, there is plenty of opportunities to reduce your bill thanks to a long list of things you can claim as expenses. Making the most of these deductions will go a long way in ensuring your financial success as a landlord in Ireland.
Though you can’t claim your entire mortgage payment, since January 2019 landlords have been allowed to claim 100% of their mortgage interest against their rental income. This is usually applied to the mortgage used to purchase the property but is also applicable for a mortgage used to repair or improve it.
Note that this cannot be backdated. You can only claim your mortgage interest from the first month you rented out your property, not since you bought it (even if you did so with the intention of renting it out). You can, however, continue to claim mortgage interest in between tenancies, provided you do not move into the property yourself.
If you have provided furniture or white goods in your rental property, then you can claim capital allowances (also known as ‘wear and tear allowances’). The rate for these allowances is 12.5% of the cost of the items per year, and can be claimed for a maximum of 8 years.
For example, say you provided a sofa that cost €1,000 and a dishwasher that cost €400 for your rental property. Your capital allowances would be €175 per year (12.5% of €1,000 + 12.5% of €400).
There are various other one-off and recurring expenses that you are allowed to claim against your rental income. These include:
Your registration with the Residential Tenancies Board
Any rates you pay to the local authority for the property
Insurance premiums against fire and public liability
Repairs and maintenance costs (unless they were carried out when the property was not being rented – see below for more information)
Costs incurred through the lettings process, for example, property management, agency, legal, advertising or accountancy fees
Fees for any services that are not repaid by your tenant, for instance, waste collection
Expenses You Can’t Claim
While there are many costs you can deduct from your tax bill, there are certain expenses that you aren’t allowed to claim against your rental income. It’s just as important to familiarise yourself with these as with your allowed expenses so you don’t run into any trouble when submitting your tax return.
Pre Or Post-Letting Expenses
A good rule of thumb is that if a cost was incurred on the property before or after you began to let it out, then you are not able to claim it as an expense. For example, you couldn’t claim the cost of a roof repair carried out before your first tenant moved in, and you couldn’t claim your mortgage interest payments from the time you bought the property to the time you first let it out. There are a few exceptions to this rule, so if you are unsure if something can be claimed it’s always worth checking with an accountant.
If you carry out repairs or maintenance on your rental property while it is being rented, you can claim for the costs. However, if you make the work yourself, you are not allowed to include the cost of your labour as part of this expense.
Local Property Tax (LPT)
Almost every residential property owner in Ireland must pay Local Property Tax, which is calculated according to the value of the property. This payment can vary anywhere from €90 to upwards of €1,755 for the most valuable homes, and must be paid every year.
If you purchase a property in Ireland you are liable for Stamp Duty. This is not tax-deductible even if you are buying the property with the intention of letting it out, however, any costs for legal aid you receive in relation to Stamp Duty is.
An Example Of Income Tax On Irish Rental Income
Using the information above, let’s take a look at an example of calculating income tax on rental income. Say that you rent out a flat in Ireland for €1000 euros a month, making your gross rental income €12,000 a year. This year, your expenses were as follows:
Your insurance premiums at €50 per month (€600 for the year)
The interest of your mortgage payment at €300 per month (€3,600 for the year)
Capital allowances at €175 for the year
Repairs carried out during the tenancy at €400
If you add these allowable expenses together, it comes to €4,775. Deduct this from your gross rental income of €12,000 and you are left with €7,225. This is your rental profit on which you will be taxed.
For the sake of this example, let’s say you are single and also have PAYE income from your job amounting to €30,000 for the year. That would make your total income €37,225 (€7,225 rental income + €30,000 regular income). In 2021, the standard rate of tax for a single person is €35,300.
As your total income is €37,225, the first €35,300 is taxable at 20% with the balance taxable at 40%. €35,300 taxed at 20% gives €7060, and €1,925 (the balance) taxed at 40% gives €770. This leaves a total of €7,830 (€7060 + €770).
You would then deduct any tax credits you might have. As you are an employee, you would have €1,650 of employee tax credit and €1,650 personal tax credit (a total of €3,300) . Provided you had no other tax relief available to you, this would leave you with €4,530 (€7,830 – €3,300).
Note that as your PAYE income will already have had the tax paid by your employer through payroll, you would also get a deduction on your end of year tax computation for any taxes already ‘paid on account’. In this example it would be roughly €2,700 in taxes already paid through PAYE, giving you an estimated tax bill of €1,800 (€4,530-€2,700). On top of the income tax, you will also be liable for USC and PRSI if you are a resident in Ireland.
Tax isn’t always straightforward and will vary depending on your personal situation. Add rental income into the mix, and things can easily become confusing. For peace of mind that your tax return has been completed as it should (and that you’ve saved as much money as possible), we would always recommend working with an experienced accountant. This will not only get you the best results but will also cut down on any unnecessary stress in filling out the tax return yourself.
At SCK Property, we have a team of in-house accountants who are well versed in Irish tax laws and can provide you expert advice. If you opt for our all-in property management package, we will even include your annual tax return at no extra cost. To find out more, you can take a look at our property management pricing or head over to our contact page to get in touch directly.