Bringing savings into Ireland to buy a home

Q&A: Dominic Coyle

I just read an article about bringing money from overseas to Ireland and the consequent tax implications. We are an Indian couple who have recently moved to Ireland (husband on a Critical Skills permit) and we intend to buy a house here. We own a house in India, so we do not qualify for any first-time buyer benefits.

We have savings in India and would like to bring them here to pay for the deposit for the house. However, we are not too sure if this will have any tax liabilities. We intend to buy a new built home.

Ms SM, email

Starting out in a new country can always be a bit of a worry. Trying to adapt to new rules and customs is never easy. And you are right to make sure of regulations on things like cash transfers as getting them wrong can carry a considerable cost.

The Critical Skills Employment Permit on which you and your husband have come to Ireland is issued for two years years to people who have a job offer from an Irish-registered employer offering either €64,000 or more in annual salary, or, for positions on the highly skilled occupations list, salary of €32,000 or more.

At the end of the two-year period, there is no obligation to renew it. Instead permit holders are entitled to apply for permission to live and work in Ireland without a special employment permit. This is called a Stamp 4 permission and is done through the local immigration office.

Assuming it is granted, it lasts also for two years. It can be renewed as long as you are still eligible and, after five years of legal residency, your family can apply for long-term residency.

The good news is that there is nothing to prevent you from bringing savings derived from legally taxed income into Ireland. Revenue’s only interest here – along with their fellow tax collectors abroad – is to make sure that “hot” money which should be taxed is not floating around between countries in an attempt to avoid tax.

As long as your Indian savings are all declared locally in India to the extent that is required, there is no issue with transferring some or all of it to Ireland. And there will be no tax to pay on it.

As you say, you will not qualify for any first-time buyer assistance even though this is your first home in Ireland. The rules here dictate that you lose any entitlement to first-time reliefs once you have bought a property – or a share in a property in any jurisdiction. So your existing home in India will certainly disqualify you from that.

Where things can get complicated is where you would be taxed on any income other than through your husband’s Irish employment – for instance, if you are renting out your Indian home. But you are perfectly safe in bringing your savings here tax free.

Please send your queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2, or email dcoyle@irishtimes.com. This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice. No personal correspondence will be entered into.

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