Domicile is a complex legal concept which has several critical implications for Irish taxation. Domicile is the country which is considered a person’s permanent home and is distinct from legal nationality and from residence. At birth an individual acquires a “domicile of origin”. It is not possible to be without domicile and it is only possible to have one domicile at a time.
Domicile of origin
Assuming an individual’s parents were married and living together at the time of their birth they acquire their father’s domicile. This can be case even if the father subsequently changes their domicile. The domicile of origin is generally clear.
Domicile of choice
A domicile of choice can be acquired where an individual can demonstrate they have abandoned their domicile of origin. However this is not straight-forward as the burden of proof always lies with the taxpayer to demonstrate they have in fact acquired a new domicile. If the evidence is conflicting or not decisive, the courts will normally decide in favour of the existing domicile. The domicile of origin is generally clear, and the main area of difficulty when dealing with domicile is the question of whether or not a person has acquired a domicile of choice.
A domicile of choice can be acquired by making a permanent home away from the individual’s domicile of origin. This requires that all ties are severed with the domicile of origin. In order to become Irish domiciled an individual would need to take up permanent residence in Ireland with no intention of returning to the country of their previous domicile.
There are a wide range of issues to be considered when determining if a new domicile of choice has been acquired and it is recommended that you engage a tax professional to assist you with this. The facts and circumstances for each individual need to be considered.
Interestingly, an individual who is Irish resident but not Irish domiciled id taxed in Ireland on foreign source income ONLY to the extent they remit the income to Ireland. This basically means that if you don’t bring the money to Ireland you won’t pay tax on it here. There is scope for planning to ensure this basis of taxation can be of benefit to non-Irish domiciled individuals.
Complete the contact us form if you would like to get in touch to discuss whether your domicile offers scope for Irish tax planning.
The material in this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or taxation advice. Specific legal and taxation advice should be sought before acting. All information and taxation rules are subject to change without notice.
No liability whatsoever is accepted by Expats Taxes for any action taken in reliance on the information in this article