The Help to Buy (HTB) incentive is a scheme for first-time property buyers. It will help you with the deposit you need to buy or build a new house or apartment. You must buy or build the property to live in as your home.
The incentive will give you a refund of Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) that you paid in Ireland (minus any refunds you have already claimed). The refund will be from the four years prior to making the application.
Enhanced Help to Buy Scheme
A temporary enhancement to the existing HTB scheme for the remainder of 2020 was announced in the July 2020 Stimulus plan. This enhanced HTB relief has been extended to 31 December 2021 in Finance Act 2020. The enhanced HTB relief provides that where applicants satisfy certain conditions, increased relief is available up to a maximum of €30,000.
Please see ‘How much can you claim?’ for further details.
Who can claim the Help to Buy (HTB) incentive?
To claim HTB, you must:
be a first-time buyer
buy or build a new property between 19 July 2016 and 31 December 2021
live in the property as your main home for five years after you buy or build it
be tax compliant if you are self-assessed you must also have tax clearance.
To qualify, you must not have previously bought or built a house or apartment, either on your own or jointly with any other person. If you are buying or building the new property with other people, they must also be first-time buyers. If you have inherited or been gifted a property it will not affect your eligibility.
Approved developers and contractors
The contractor you are purchasing your home from must be approved by Revenue. You can check the list of approved developers and contractors to make sure that your developer or contractor is approved.
What type of property qualifies?
To qualify for HTB, the property that you build or buy must be:
newly built with the construction subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) in Ireland.
The property must never have been used, or have been suitable to use, as a residential home. If the property was non-residential, but has been converted for residential use, it may qualify for HTB. If you buy or build the property as an investment, it does not qualify for HTB.
The purchase value of a new build means the price that you bought it for. For self-built property, the purchase value is the approved valuation by the lender at the time that you took out the mortgage.
If you bought the property between 19 July 2016 and 31 December 2016, the purchase price must be €600,000 or less. If you bought it after 1 January 2017, it must be €500,000 or less.
You must take out your mortgage on the property with a qualifying lender. This loan must be used only for buying or building the property. The loan must be at least 70% of the purchase value of the property. This is known as the loan to value ratio.
You are allowed to have a guarantor on the loan.
How much can you claim?
The amount that you can claim is the lesser of:
€20,000 (increased to €30,000 for enhanced relief)
5% of the purchase price of a new home. For self-builds this is 5% of the approved valuation of the property. This has been increased to 10% for those qualifying for enhanced relief.
You can apply as an individual, or part of a group that is buying or building a property. You must complete a declaration and select the years you want to use for a refund. If you are tax compliant, your application will be approved. You will be provided with an application number and a summary of the maximum amount you can claim. You will also be given a 6-digit access code separately through MyEnquiries.
Keep a safe note of both of these codes as you will need to provide them to your lender. If you are buying your home, you will also need these codes for your qualifying contractor. If you are self-building you will need these codes for your solicitor. Your contractor or solicitor will require this information to verify what you have submitted.
If you make a HTB application but have not yet made a claim, your application will expire on 31 December. You can then re-apply and make a new HTB application.
You can make your claim once you have either:
signed the contract for your home
drawn down the first part of the mortgage if you are self-building.
Upload evidence of your mortgage and the following information about your application:
if you are buying a home: a copy of the signed contract
if you are building a home:
proof of the drawdown of the first part of the mortgage
a copy of the valuation report from your lender.
You will be asked to confirm details about the:
date of completion
amount of deposit already paid.
If you are applying with other people you will also need to confirm the portion of the refund to be refunded to each person. If you are self-building, you will need to provide the BIC and IBAN of the loan bank account.
Once you have submitted your claim you will be provided with a claim reference.
Please ensure that you have carefully checked all the information you input before you sign and submit the claim.
If any of the information you have provided is incorrect, you must:
cancel your claim
submit a new claim with the correct information
This must be done before you continue to step 3.
Once you have submitted your claim you should advise your developer or contractor (or solicitor if you are self-building).
Provide them with your claim reference (issued to you after step 2) and access code (issued to you when you submitted your application). Before you receive any refund, the information you have provided will need to be verified by the:
developer or contractor, in the case of a new build
solicitor acting on your behalf, in the case of a self-build.
The refund that you finally receive is limited to 5% of the purchase price of the house. This may mean that it is different to the maximum relief amount that you were given at application stage.
Information for applicants
There are three types of applicants who can apply for the Help to Buy (HTB) incentive:
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