The Special Assignee Relief Programme (“SARP”) was introduced on 1st January 2012 to provide Income Tax Relief for eligible employees assigned to work in Ireland from abroad. It was due to expire for new entrants on 31st December 2022, however, Finance Act 2022 extended the relief for a further three years, up until 31st December 2025.
Prior to 1st January 2023, an individual was required to earn a minimum basic salary of €75,000 per annum (excluding all bonuses, benefits or share based remuneration) in order to be eligible for SARP.
From 1st January 2023 onwards the employee must have a minimum base salary of €100,000 per annum. This amount excludes all bonuses, commissions or other similar payments, benefits or share-based remuneration.
A number of conditions need to be satisfied for this relief to apply, as follows:
Mark arrived in Ireland from USA on 17th October 2019 on a 5-year contract.
He was not Irish tax resident in 2019.
As Mark was tax resident in Ireland in 2020, he was entitled to claim relief under SARP.
His first year of claim was, therefore, 2020.
He can continue to claim SARP up to and including 2025 if he continues to satisfy the relevant conditions for the Relief.
The relief operates by:
Relief is not extended to Universal Social Charge (USC) so the individual must pay USC on the full amount of his/her/their salary.
The specified amount is not exempt from PRSI, unless the employee is relieved from paying Irish PRSI under either an EU Regulation or under a bilateral agreement with another jurisdiction.
The relief operates by providing a deduction for income tax purposes from remuneration based on the following formula:
(A-B) X 30%
A = Qualifying Remuneration i.e. total remuneration. This includes:
B = €100,000 (prior to 1st January 2023 it was €75,000)
Thomas arrived in Ireland on 1st January 2023 and meets all the above conditions to qualify for SARP relief.
His salary is €120,000, his bonus is €15,000 and he receives a benefits in kind (e.g. medical insurance) valued at €3,000.
A = €138,000 i.e. €120,000 + €15,000 + €3,000
B = €100,000 i.e. qualifying Income Threshold
SARP Deduction = (€138,000 – €100,000) = €38,000 @ 30% = €11,400
Thomas’s marginal Income Tax rate in Ireland is 40%, therefore his Income Tax saving is €4,560 i.e. €11,400 x 40%
It’s important to keep in mind that 8% USC and 4% PRSI, if applicable, will apply to this employment income.
SARP relief can be claimed by the employee in one of two ways:
An employee who receives SARP Relief is considered to be a “chargeable person” for Income Tax purposes. He/she/they is/are required to submit an Income Tax Return to the Irish Revenue Commissioners in respect of each year for which relief is claimed. The Form 11 Tax Return may be filed by way of a paper form or through the Revenue’s On-Line Service (ROS).
Employees who have registered and qualify for SARP must file a Form 11 Tax Return by 31st October following the end of the tax year.
By completing Part C of Form SARP 1A and submitting it to Revenue, SARP Relief can be granted at source through the employee’s payroll.
The employer is required to make this application only once.
Relief can be granted at source through payroll for the duration of the assignment, up to a maximum of five years, providing the employee continues to satisfy all the relevant conditions.
There are two main types of director: a proprietary director who owns more than 15% of the share capital of the company and a non-proprietary director who owns less than 15% of the share capital of the company.
In general, a director is deemed to be a ‘chargeable person’ for Income Tax purposes. This means that he/she is obliged to file an Income Tax Return every year even in situations where his/her entire income has already been taxed at source through the PAYE system.
Non-proprietary directors, however, as well as unpaid directors, are excluded from the obligation to file an annual income tax return.
A Proprietary Director must also comply with the self-assessment regime which means he/she has a requirement to make payments on account to meet his/her preliminary tax obligations. In situations where these payments are not made by the due date, the director is exposed to statutory interest at a rate of approximately 8% per annum.
A late surcharge applies in circumstances where the Director’s Income Tax Return is filed after the due date. The surcharge is either (a) 5% where the tax return is delivered within two months of the filing date or (b) 10% where the tax return is not delivered within two months of the filing date. It is important to keep in mind that the surcharge will be calculated on the director’s income tax liability for the year of assessment before taking into account any PAYE deducted from his/her salary at source. It should also be remembered that the Director can only claim a credit for the PAYE deducted if the company has in fact paid over this tax in full to Revenue.
Proprietary directors are not entitled to an Employee Tax Credit. In general, this rule, subject to some exceptions, also applies in relation to a spouse or family member of a proprietary director who is in receipt of a salary from the company. Proprietary Directors and their spouse and family members may, however, be entitled to the Earned Income Credit.
The director’s salary, just like any other employee’s salary, is an allowable deduction for the purposes of calculating Corporation Tax.
According to the Social Welfare and Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013, a director with a 50% shareholding in the company will be insurable under Class S for PRSI purposes. For proprietary directors with a shareholding of less than 50% of the company the PRSI treatment will be established on a case by case basis.
Where the director has a ‘controlling interest’ in the company, he/she will not be treated as ‘an employed contributor’ for PRSI purposes on any income or salary he/she receives from the company. Therefore, all amounts paid by the company to the director will be insurable under Class ‘S’ meaning that he/she will be treated as a self-employed contributor and liable to PRSI at 4%. Employers’ PRSI will not be applicable to his/her salary.
Where a Director is insured under Class A, PRSI is payable on his/her earnings at 4% and up to 10.75% Employer’s PRSI by the employer/company.
Even if you are not considered to be Irish resident by virtue of the 183 day rule or the “Look Back” rule, if you are in receipt of a salary from an Irish limited company you will be required to pay Income Tax to the Revenue Commissioners. If, however, you are resident in a country with which Ireland has a Double Taxation Agreement and your income is liable to tax in both countries, you should be able to claim relief on the tax you paid in Ireland.