If you have property in Ireland but live abroad – if you’re a retired expatriate and chose to rent rather than sell your house in Ireland, for example – you’d able to rent your property back home but would have to adhere to certain unique tax stipulations.
There are more details here but the basics are that you still need to pay the same amount of tax as a resident landlord but in a slightly more complicated fashion.
Nonetheless, there's an upside; you're entitled to exactly the same expenses on your tax returns as a landlord living in Ireland. You can find a list of everything you're entitled to claim back on here, but the following list details a few expenses that could come in extremely handy for landlords who don't reside in Ireland.
PRTB Registration Fee
In Ireland, if you're renting rooms in your own residence and earning under €10,000 per year from the endeavour, you aren't obliged to register with the Private Residential Tenancies Board. Obviously if you're living abroad, your rental property isn't your main place of residence, and so this 10k threshold doesn't apply to you and it's necessary to register with the PRTB regardless of how much you earn from rental income. Of course, registering with the PRTB does come with certain benefits: if a disagreement arises between you and your tenant it will be taken on by the Board, saving you the trouble of dealing with any issues through small claims – something which is especially handy if you're living overseas.
It's €90 to register each tenancy with the PRTB and a capped fee of €375 to register a number of individual tenancies in the same building. Provided you get everything in on time, however, you should have no trouble claiming back these fees as expenses.
Advertising Expenses and Estate Agent Fees
Presumably, you're going to want to advertise your property using a service that won't require you to be physically present while you're trying to attract potential tenants. Even if you're living abroad and advertising in Ireland (using a service like Daft.ie, for example) or using an estate agent, you're entitled to claim back on any money you have spent publicising your property. The estate agent is a particularly helpful asset, as it means you have the piece of mind of knowing that your property is being advertised and handled professionally without you needing to be there to sort everything out.
Speaking of having your property run for you...
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Agency and Management fees
Having an intermediary there to manage your property while you're away is something a lot of non-resident landlords elect to do. If you don't want your tenants to have to file your income tax for you, you can elect a Tax Agent (who can either be a professional or a close friend/relative) who is allocated a separate PPS number for dealing with the property, collects the rent, and files your taxes on your behalf. Of course, you can elect a non-professional as your Tax Agent, then do all the preparation for the returns yourself and give said agent the finished return. The only involvement they would have would be to file it – that way, your tax returns are in your hands (by way of the agent) and you get access to 100% of your due rent instead of having it withheld at source.
In light of this, hiring a professional Tax Agent might seem like an expensive (albeit attractive) prospect, but the upside is that you can claim these fees back with your returns. If you're loathe to spend the money getting your property managed, bear in mind that it could be a lot more expensive getting to Ireland if something goes amiss with your tenants, and regrettably those flights aren't tax exempt!
Repairs and Maintenance
Any money you spend on essential repairs or maintenance can be claimed back on your returns, provided it isn't for capital gain. The element of this that's particularly helpful to you as a foreign landlord is that this covers hired labour, so if you get an external party in to conduct the repairs and maintenance you aren't able to do yourself, you can claim these expenses against your tax.
Legal and Accounting
You can hire a legal or financial professional to help with some of the more administrative elements of renting a property, and any money you spend doing so is tax exempt. For landlords living abroad who might not be familiar with Irish legislation – or who'd be out of the loop with regards to any changes that come into play year-by-year – this can be an extremely useful asset, especially in terms of drawing up rental accounts.
If you're letting property in Ireland but don't live in the State, Taxback.com's Landlord Tax Return service is open to non-residents too. Click here to learn more about our hassle-free returns service.