A Savvy Taxpayer’s Guide to Moving to Ireland | Expat Taxes

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September 21st, 2022
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A Savvy Taxpayer’s Guide to Moving to Ireland | Expat Taxes

A savvy taxpayer’s guide to moving to Ireland

The topic of tax can already be a difficult one to get to grips with. When everyone also has an opinion on the subject, solid advice can seem difficult to come by. Especially if you’re moving from abroad to Ireland, tax matters and advice can feel overwhelming.

If you’re planning on moving from abroad to Ireland, we always recommend speaking with an expert to get tax advice. To get you started, we’ve created this handy guide of things you should know before your move:

1. If you’ll be working in Ireland, you’ll need a PPS number

Ireland’s equivalent of a social security number is known as Personal Public Service (PPS) number. This number is essential for helping you access public services, social welfare benefits and certain types of information on national systems.

Especially if you are starting work in Ireland soon after you move, your employer will expect for your PPS number to be set up as quickly as possible. This is so that you can more easily register with the Revenue Commissioners for tax purposes.

As someone born in Ireland:

Applying for a PPS number is a much easier process if you are returning to Ireland after having lived as an expat elsewhere. This is because you will already have had a PPS number if you:

  • You were born in Ireland in or after 1971
  • You started work in Ireland after 1979

A PPS number is always 7 numbers followed by either one or two letters and might be printed on old payslips or public services cards. If you have had a European Health Card during your time living in Ireland, your PPS number can also be found there.

If you cannot locate your PPS number or don’t think you have one, you will need to contact the Department of Social Protection or apply online. You will be asked for proof of identity and proof of address during this application process.

As someone not born in Ireland:

To apply for a PPS number as an EU citizen (other than Irish and UK), you will require a copy of your current passport or a national identity card to apply. As a non-EU citizen, only a current passport will be valid for application.

You will also need to show evidence of your address. The document you use must show your full name and address (and not be older than 3 months). The following documents can be used to apply for a PPS number in Ireland:

  • A household utility bill
  • A financial statement
  • An official letter/document
  • Property lease or tenancy agreement
  • Confirmation of long-term address by a third party such as a hotel/hostel administrator or manager, school principal/administrator or accommodation/property owner.

Citizens information states that “if you are staying with friends or relatives, an original household bill plus a note from the bill holder confirming your residency at the bill address is acceptable”. 

Tip: Before arriving in Ireland and if you already have accommodation set up with a landlord — let your landlord know that you will require a proof of address document as soon as possible. This will ensure that they have your tenancy agreement ready with your full name (spelled correctly!) and confirmed address as soon as you arrive in Ireland.

2. Research how tax in Ireland is collected

Regardless of where you’re moving from, the tax system in Ireland requires some research because no two tax systems are exactly the same. 

In Ireland, income tax for employees is collected under the ‘Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system’. For self-employed people, income tax is paid under a self-assessment system. Both types of worker under the age of 66 also pay ‘Pay Related Social Insurance' (PRSI) contributions.

Other taxes will also apply once you move to Ireland, but these will depend on your own personal circumstances. For example, if you’re intending to drive in Ireland, you should be aware of motor tax rates that apply to different types of vehicle. Additionally, if you plan to buy a new car or if you import a car into Ireland, you will need to pay Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) which will also be collected by Revenue.

No matter how much you think you know about the tax system in Ireland, always be prepared for unforeseen taxes that you hadn’t accounted for.  

3. Find out if you’re entitled to any tax credits or reliefs

There are many income tax credits and reliefs available in Ireland. Whether you are entitled to any of these reliefs will depend on things such as your type of employment, your age, your employer and your personal circumstances. 

Just some examples of tax credits and reliefs in Ireland are as follows:

  • Tax relief on medical expenses 
  • Older people's tax credits and reliefs (for people aged 65 and over)
  • Working from home and tax relief
  • Housing tax credits and reliefs (e.g. rent-a-room relief)
  • Home carer tax credit (for stay-at-home parents)

While each of these special taxation reliefs/credits are subject to their own conditions, it’s worth investigating your entitlements before you move to Ireland. For example, if you are searching for a job in Ireland before your move — which tax credits or reliefs might you be entitled to depending on the job?

For example, if your employer has a work-from-home model of working, you might be able to claim tax relief on the costs of working from home. This might include tax relief on electricity, heating and internet. 

Additionally, it’s good to know if your future employer operates tax incentive schemes such as the Bike to Work Scheme. Even though some tax reliefs are greater than others, it’s valuable to know which Irish employers are on top of new ways to help employees pay less tax.

4. Know about tax rates and tax bands in Ireland before starting your job search

If you are going to be working in Ireland, it’s important to know your tax rates and tax bands so that you can compare them to your previous rate of taxation in the country you’re leaving. This helps to clarify how much money you’ll actually be receiving in Ireland (i.e. your after-tax income) and might help you decide which rates of pay you need to have to make your life in Ireland work.

Tax rates and tax bands in Ireland can be viewed here.

When searching for jobs in Ireland, also keep the following things in mind:

  • Always check what your salary expectations will look like after they’ve been taxed. Are you still happy with the number?
  • Research what tax credits and tax reliefs you might be eligible for and see if this affects the figure you have in mind
  • If you have a partner or dependents moving to Ireland with you, what other taxes will apply to your household as one unit?
  • Do any of the employers you’re interested in offer relocation packages? (this might include some tax-free expenses)

5. Start paying money into a pension as soon as you get to Ireland

A savvy taxpayer is one who doesn’t just think about the now, they think about the future. 

Starting a pension in Ireland is a great way to not only secure your future, but also to be more tax-efficient. In Ireland, money that you save into a pension is exempt from income tax up to a certain amount. This is a good way of knowing that the money you pay into something will benefit you later, while also helping you benefit from tax relief.

Age-related limits for tax relief on pension contributions can be found here, as well as information on total earnings limits. 

If you are moving to Ireland from abroad, you may be able to get tax relief for pension contributions made to pre-existing plans with a pension provider in another EU Member State. We’ve written an entire blog on setting up a pension in Ireland as an expat if you’d like to know more!

6. Try not to get overwhelmed by the Irish tax system

Moving to a new country (or returning to a familiar one!) is already enough of a challenge as it is. You’ll be juggling transport, moving boxes, accommodation, job searches and maybe even taking care of a family at the same time!

The thing to remember about the Irish tax system is that it might seem like a complicated process, but it’s still a process. This means that no matter what, there’s a system in place for your tax matters to be handled in the appropriate way. All you need to do is speak with the right people and make tax one less thing for you to worry about.

Revenue and Citizens Information have lots of great resources available for you to research your tax situation, but the level of information available can sometimes get overwhelming (as a result, confusing!).

For more targeted advice, it’s better to speak directly to your local tax authority, or enlist the help of a tax specialist who can go through everything you need to know on a one-on-one basis. Having someone with the exact knowledge you need to keep your tax affairs in order before, during and after your move to Ireland can really help streamline the entire moving process.

Some final notes on this guide:

While we can’t cover everything you need to know in this guide, we hope that we’ve given you somewhere to start when it comes to planning your move to Ireland. 

If you’d like to know more about your own tax situation and the things you need to know while here, you can contact us for a consultation. We offer specialist tax advice for both individual people and corporations, so whatever information you need, we’ll be able to help.

Stephanie Wickham

Stephanie is an award-winning international and expatriate tax specialist with over a decade’s experience. She is a KPMG trained Chartered Tax Adviser and Chartered Accountant.

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