Government Building


The Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe T.D delivered his first Budget today, on 10th October 2017, which concentrated more on expenditure than on tax changes.


The Minister announced a number of positive measures to assist small and medium sized enterprises prepare for “Brexit” as well as confirming Ireland’s commitment to the 12½% corporation tax rate.


We are pleased to bring you our summary of the tax measures set out in Budget 2018.





Universal Social Charge

The USC has been cut for lower and middle income earners.


The 2.5% USC rate has been reduced by 0.5% to 2% and the band has been increased to €19,372 from €18,772 which will benefit employees earning the minimum wage.


The 5% USC rate has been reduced by 0.25% to 4.75%


Medical card holders and individuals aged 70 years and over whose combined income does not exceed €60,000 per annum will only be liable to pay a maximum USC rate of 2%.


For self-employed individuals with income of over €100,000 the 11% rate will continue to apply



Income Tax

The higher or marginal tax rate will remain at 40% for 2018.


The income tax standard rate band, however, will be increased by €750 to €34,550 i.e. the entry point at which the 40% income tax rate applies has been increased from €33,800 to €34,550 for a single person and from €42,800 to €43,550 for married couples with one income.


The marginal rate of tax for individuals earning between €34,551 and €70,044 will be 48.75%.


The marginal rate of tax for individuals earning in excess of €70,044 will remain at 52% for employees.


The marginal rate of tax for self-employed individuals earning in excess of €100,000 will remain at 55%.



Earned Income Credit

For self-employed individuals, the earned income tax credit will increase by €200 to €1,150.


No reference was made in today’s Budget speech as to when future increases to this tax credit would arise to bring it in line with the PAYE Tax Credit of €1,650.



Home Carer Tax Credit

The Home Carer Tax Credit will increase by €100 from €1,100 to €1,200.


The €7,200 income threshold remains


This tax credit can be claimed by a jointly-assessed couple where a spouse/civil partner cares for one or more dependents regardless of the number of individuals cared for.



Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT)

The rate for Deposit Interest Retention Tax for 2018 will be charged at 37%.




The National Training Fund Levy will be increased over the next three years and will apply to employees under Classes A and H by increasing Employer’s PRSI as follows:


a)      10.85% in 2018

b)      10.95% in 2019

c)      11.05% in 2020



Mortgage interest relief 

Mortgage Interest Relief for residential property owners which was scheduled to be abolished from the end of this year will continue until 2020.


This relates to home owners who took out qualifying mortgages between 2004 and 2012.


The relief will be reduced as follows:

a)      to 75% in 2018

b)      to 50% in 2019

c)      to 25% in 2020


Following a change in last year’s Finance Act, the amount of mortgage interest allowable against taxable rental income will increase to 85% with effect from 1st January 2018.  However, there was no reference, in today’s Budget speech, to the expected increase from 80% to 85% mortgage interest relief on rented residential property.


As you may remember, in Budget 2017, it had been announced that100% mortgage interest relief for rental properties would be restored on a phased basis by 2020.



 Deductibility of pre-letting expenses

Expenses incurred prior to the first letting of a property are not deductible against rental income, with a few exceptions.


Following today’s Budget, property owners who rent out residential properties which have been vacant for a period of twelve months or more will be entitled to a tax deduction of up to €5,000 per property.


These expenses must be revenue in nature and not capital expenditure.


The relief will be subject to a clawback of the property is withdrawn from the rental market within a four year period.


This relief will be available for qualifying expenditure between now and the end of 2021.



Benefit-in-kind on motor vehicles

The minister announced a number of measures to incentivise the purchase of electric cars including:

a)      a 0% rate of Benefit-in-Kind for electric cars and the electricity used at to charge these vehicles while at work.

b)      a VRT Relief measure





No changes were announced to the CAT tax-free thresholds in the Budget.





No changes were announced to CGT rates in the Budget.


Seven Year Exemption

The Minister relaxed the “Seven Year Exemption” which applied to land or buildings purchased between 7th December and 31st December 2014.


Disposals of qualifying assets between years four and seven will now qualify for the full Capital Gains Tax Exemption





VAT Compensation Scheme

A VAT refund scheme was introduced in order to compensate charities for input VAT incurred on expenditure.


This scheme will take effect from 1st January 2018 but will be paid one year in arrears. In other words charities will be entitled to claim an input VAT credit in 2019 in relation to expenses incurred in 2018.


Charities will be entitled to a refund of a proportion of their VAT costs based on the level of non-public funding they receive.


The Minister also confirmed that a capped fund of €5 million will be available to fund the scheme in 2019.


For further information please visit:



9% VAT Rate

The reduced VAT rate of 9% for goods and services, mainly related to the tourism and hospitality industry, has been retained.



VAT on Sunbed Sessions

 In line with the Irish Government’s National Cancer Strategy, the VAT rate on sunbed services will increase from 13.5% to 23% from 1st January 2018.






Corporation tax rate

The government has made a firm commitment to retaining the 12½% Corporation Tax rate to attract foreign direct investment.



 Capital Allowances for Intangible Assets

The Minister confirmed that he would be limiting the amount of capital allowances that can be claimed for intangible assets.


A tax deduction for capital allowances under Section 291A TCA 1997 on intangible assets and any associated interest cost will now be limited to 80% of the relevant income arising from the intangible asset in the accounting period from midnight of 10th October 2017.



Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP)

The Minister announced plans for a new share based remuneration incentive for unquoted SME companies aimed at improving the ability of SMEs to attract and retain key staff.


This incentive will be available for qualifying KEEP share options granted between 1st January 2018 and 31st December 2023.


No income tax, PRSI or USC will be charged on the exercise of the share options. Instead gains from exercising these share options will only be liable to CGT @ 33%.


The tax becomes payable when the shares are sold.


State Aid approval will be required to introduce this scheme.



Accelerated capital allowances for expenditure on energy-efficient equipment

Following a review of the accelerated capital allowances scheme for energy efficient equipment, the current scheme is being extended for a further three years to the end of 2020.





Stamp Duty on commercial property

The rate of stamp duty on commercial property transactions will have increased from 2% to 6% with effect from midnight of 10th October 2017.


A stamp duty refund scheme is also being introduced for commercial land acquired for the development of housing, on condition that the development must begin within 30 months of the purchase of the land.


It is expected that further details of the relief and the conditions will be outlined in the Finance Bill.





Stamp duty

The Stamp duty rate of 1% remains for inter-family farm transfers for a further three years.


The Stamp Duty exemption for Young Trained Farmers on agricultural land transactions will also be retained.


Leasing land for solar panels

The leasing of agricultural land for the use of solar panels will continue to be classified as agricultural land for the purposes of the CAT Agricultural Relief and the CGT Retirement Relief providing the solar panel infrastructure does not exceed 50% of the total land holding..





Brexit Loan Scheme 

A new Brexit Loan Scheme has been announced. A loan scheme of up to €300 million will be available at competitive rates to SMEs to assist them with their short-term working capital needs, with particular attention given to food industry businesses.


Details of this scheme will be provided by the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.


Plans were also announced to hire over 40 additional staff across the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and enterprise agencies in 2018 to respond to the issues arising from Brexit.



Increased funding

The Minister announced increased funding of €64 million to support the agri-sector. Of this, a further €25 million is to be provided to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to develop further Brexit loan schemes for the agri-food sector in addition to the loan scheme discussed above.





Sugar Tax

 From 1st April 2018 two rates of tax on sugar-sweetened drinks will be introduced subject to State Aid approval.


The first will apply at a rate of 30 cent per litre where the sugar content is above 8g per 100ml.


The second rate of 20 cent per litre will apply where the sugar content is between 5g and 8g per 100ml.


Drinks with less than five grams of sugar won’t attract a sugar tax.



Vacant site levy

The vacant site levy has been increased from the current 3% levy in the first year to 7% in second and subsequent years to encourage land owners to develop vacant sites rather than “hoarding” land.


The vacant site levy is due to come into effect in 2018.


An owner of a property on a vacant site register who does not develop their land in 2018 will be liable to the 3% levy in 2019 and a further 7% levy in 2020 and each year thereafter until the land is developed.


From 1st January 2017, each local authority is obliged to maintain a register of vacant sites to include on the register, details of any site, which they believe, has been vacant for the previous twelve month period.