Non Resident Landlord: Guide to Irish Tax Returns

Guide to Irish Rental Income Tax Returns for Non-Resident Landlords: 

If you own rental property in Ireland but are not currently living in the country, you are considered a non-resident landlord.

All non-resident landlords must declare any Irish rental property to the Revenue Commissioners, file a tax return for any income earned, and pay any rental income tax for which you are liable.

Managing and filing your taxes while living abroad can be both frustrating and time-consuming, so it’s important that you have all the information you will need before you sit down to file. Luckily, the expert accountants at Tax Return Plus have compiled this guide to help you understand how to go about filing your rental income tax return as a non-resident landlord.

Am I a Non-Resident Landlord?

You are classified as a non-resident landlord if you rent out property in Ireland but live/reside in another country (including Northern Ireland). Any rental income you earn from these properties while you are living abroad is subject to the same taxation as that of Irish-resident landlords.

There are particular rules for non-resident landlords that specify how rental income tax can be paid. It’s important that you understand these, as non-compliance can have serious repercussions for both non-resident landlords and the tenants renting their properties.

How Do I Pay Tax as a Non-Resident Landlord?

Non-resident landlords have two different options when it comes to collecting rent and paying tax on those earnings.

  • You can nominate an Irish-resident “collection agent” to file and pay your taxes for you.
  • Your tenants can withhold the rental income tax rate (20%) of their rent and pay this directly to the Revenue Commissioners on your behalf. You will then claim this as a credit when you file your income tax return.

Regardless of your course of action here, it’s important to remember that your taxes must be filed and paid by October 31 of each year.

Should I Use A Collection Agent?

There are benefits to both methods of paying rental income tax as a non-resident landlord.

Tenant Tax Withholding

In this scenario, instead of collecting 100% of your rental income and then paying out 20% tax on these earnings at the end of the year, you can arrange that your tenant pays you 80% of their rent, withholding the 20% to pay directly to the Revenue Commissioners on your behalf.

Confused? We don’t blame you! Here’s an example that might help:

Mary lives in New York and owns a house in Galway, which she rents to Joe and his family. The rental agreement, signed by both Mary and Joe, states that Joe’s rent is €950 per month (€11,400 annually).

Instead of making monthly payments of €950, however, Joe pays Mary €760 (80%) each month. Joe then sends the remaining €190 to the local tax office on Mary’s behalf. 

At the end of the year, Joe fills a Form R185 and sends it to Mary, who uses the form to claim a tax credit on her income tax return.

This method often works best for long-term and trusted tenants, or for landlords and tenants with an established relationship (such as friends of the family).

Using a Collection Agent

Nominating a Collection Agent to manage your taxed in your stead can be very handy. While making an arrangement with your tenant may seem like the easier route, your tenant(s) may not want the burden of paying tax on your behalf, and there is no guarantee for you that your tenant will actually do so. This could lead to a messy situation you don’t want to deal with while living abroad.

A Collection Agent is someone resident in Ireland – it can be a personal contact you trust, such as a family member or friend, or a professional service provider such as an accountant or rental agency – you appoint to be responsible for filing and paying your rental income tax each year.

This method often works best for landlords who have little to no contact with their tenants, or landlords with multiple properties. In these scenarios, nominating a Collection Agent can actually save you money in the long run, as unpaid, incorrect or overdue tax payments can incur significant penalties.

What Tax Reliefs Can I Claim?

Non-resident landlords are entitled to the same tax relief in the form of expenses as landlords who live in the Republic of Ireland. Some examples of the expenses you can claim to reduce the overall amount of tax you end up paying to Revenue include:

• RTB Registration Fee. You need to pay this fee of €90 per tenancy to the Private Residents Tenancy Board within one month of a tenancy start date. The registration fee can be claimed as a deductible expense to provide tax relief.

• Qualifying Mortgage Interest. If you secured a mortgage to purchase, repair or renovate a residential rental property, you may deduct 100%* of the interest accruing on the loan once your tenants are registered with the RTB.

*As of January 2020, landlords who let residential property to tenants receiving certain social housing support may deduct 100% of the accruing interest for a period of three years.

An important note however, is that the additional 15-25% deduction for each year may be claimed only by filing a separate claim to the Revenue Commissioners at the end of the three-year period.

2016 Return: 75% of Mortgage Interest
2017 Return: 80% of Mortgage Interest
2018 Return: 85% of Mortgage Interest
2019 Return: 100% of Mortgage Interest

• Management and Agent Fees. You can deduct fees paid to a property management company or agent to collect rent and manage the property on your behalf from the tax you pay.

• Insurance Premiums. Landlords who buy insurance policies to protect their rental properties can deduct the premiums as an allowable expense.

How Do I File My Non-Resident Landlord Tax Return?

Non-resident landlords living outside of the Republic of Ireland are required to file and pay their income tax returns by October 31 each year.

If your net income exceeds €5,000 you will be required to register for self-assessment and declare your rental income by completing a Form 11. If your net rental income is less than €5,000, you can declare this income as non-PAYE income using the Revenue Commissioner’s online platform.

If have decided not to use a Collection Agent and instead have your tenants withhold and pay your rental income tax, don’t forget to submit the Form R185 they have filled out in order to claim this payment.

If you are a non-resident landlord filing and/or paying your rental income tax this year, don’t waste your time getting caught up in the details! We help non-resident landlords around the globe file and pay their rental income tax returns. Find out more about tax on rental income or get a quick quote here. 

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