Budget 2023 Q&A: Your tax, property, energy, cost-of-living and social welfare questions answered

Ask the experts: Dominic Coyle of The Irish Times and Máiread Harbron from PwC answered readers’ questions in our post-budget live blog which has now closed


That’s where we will wrap up the live portion of our Budget 2023 Q&A. If you have a query that has not been covered here, you can send it to Dominic Coyle at dominic.coyle@irishtimes.com and he will endeavour to answer it in his Q&A column. Thanks for reading.



Q: Will EU students be entitled to the €1,000 university fee reduction for this year?

From Alice

A: If they are doing a relevant undergraduate course, they will be eligible for the reduction as they are operating under the “free fees” scheme which means they pay only the student contribution charge of €3,000. – DC



Q: On the three energy credits, if you are billed every two months does this mean they will be applied every two months to cover a six month period from November onward? Many thanks.

From Derek

A: All we know is that one payment will come before Christmas and the other two in 2023. The plan you outline is logical but we’re not yet sure if that is how it will work. – DC



Q: Will the rental credit for 2022 (PAYE) be divided up throughout 2023 in addition to the credits for that year, or will it be claimed in one lump sum for the previous year?

From Padraic

A: There is, as yet, no clarity on how the back payment for 2022 will be paid. – DC


Social Welfare

Q: What is the eligibility criteria for fuel allowance?

From Grania

A: Fuel allowance is payable to those under certain income levels. As of now, the upper threshold is €120 above the level of the state contributory pension. From January, that is rising to €200 – a rise of close to €5,000 over a year.

If you are over 70, the Minister has now decided that, also from January, people over the age of 70 will qualify with weekly income of up to €500 for an individual and €1,000 for a couple. – DC



Q: I am living abroad and hoping to return to Ireland beginning of next year. The Government has a special incentive (SARP) for returning workers to pay less tax on income above €70,000. Has this program been extended beyond 2022?

From Donal

A: The Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) is not specifically targeted at returning Irish workers but at attracting key workers with special skills regardless of citizenship.

It was extended in Budget 2023, and will now run until 2025. But there has been one noticeable change. Where, until now, you needed to have a minimum basic salary of €75,000 before items like bonuses, commission, benefits or share-based payments, that figure has been increased to €100,000. – DC


Excise Tax

Q: When does the cigarette price change take affect?

From Tony

A: The excise tax increases on items like tobacco are always voted on on budget day so that the increases take effect immediately - i.e. from today. – DC


Social Welfare

Q: Are extra social welfare payments taxed at source or tax-free?

From Miriam

A: Social welfare payments are not taxed at source. However, it can be that, added to other sources of income, they become taxable.

To confuse matters, some are taxable and others are not. Where they do become taxable due to other income, assuming Revenue knows about them, the added tax due will be deducted from your other income via the PAYE system.

If this does not happen, you will be liable for the tax at year end. Usually Revenue will sort this by adjusting tax credits in subsequent years but you can also pay the tax owing via a return at year end. – DC



Q: What is the vacant property tax? Does this apply to the family home if you go on holidays?

From Marion

A: As the vacant home tax will apply only to properties that are occupied for less than 30 days a year, it would want to be a very long holiday. – DC



Q: Will there be any change in the 10 per cent levy on concrete/concrete products? I am hoping to self-build next year and obviously this will drive up the cost. It is an unfair burden to place on once-off builds. Is there any hope it will only apply to developments or commercial buildings?

From Pamela

A: We have yet to see the full details of the Defective Concrete Products Levy, which is designed to subsidise the cost to Government of the Mica Redress Scheme. However, there seems little chance of it being withdrawn at this stage.

If you are hoping to self-build shortly, the best way to avoid it will be to try to ensure the purchase of concrete blocks and pouring of liquid concrete before the new levy comes into force on April 3rd next year. As you say, thereafter, it will inevitably drive up prices.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland – specialists at pricing construction – said yesterday that it estimates the levy will add approximately €3,000 to €4,000 to the cost of an average three-bed semidetached house. – DC



Q: Does long term illness benefit increase?

From Martin

A: The rate of Illness Benefit is increasing by €12 per week from 1 January 2023. – MH



Q: Are holiday home liable for vacancy tax if unoccupied for 30 days or more?

From Maria

A: There are some mixed messages on this. Some in the property sector argue that holiday homes are among the exclusions but there is no mention of them in any exclusions that I have seen.

The only properties excluded from the scheme according to budget documentation from the Department of Finance are:

  • Properties recently sold or currently listed for sale or rent
  • Properties vacant because the occupier is in hospital or a nursing home due to illness or care needs
  • Properties that are derelict or in need of significant refurbishment work

That would mean that holiday homes will be subject to the new vacant house tax if they are not occupied for at least 30 days in the year. In fairness, if you have a holiday home, it seems a no-brainer that it would be used for 30 days across a whole year by yourself or family. – DC



Q: I presume that a renter will only get 20 per cent of the new €500 rent tax credit?

From Kev

A: No, the good news is that you will get the full benefit of the €500 as it is a tax credit, just like your personal and PAYE tax credits, not a relief. – DC



Q: I have a son starting university next year (September 2023). Will we have a reduction in College fees? We have a household income of approximately 350-400k.

From Aoife

A: For the current academic year, all students will see a €1,000 reduction in their Student Contribution Fee. This has been billed as a once off cost-of-living measure and no reduction has been announced in respect of the academic year commencing in September 2023.

There are certain reductions for families with lower household incomes which would not apply at your income level. – MH



Q: How will the IVF scheme work? If we wanted to start in Jan with a private clinic is there likely to be some sort of rebate for it or will we have to start from the beginning at a public hospital?

From Sarah

A: Unfortunately, there are no details on how the IVF scheme will work yet. The announcement in yesterday’s budget confirmed that funds were being allocated towards the scheme but we will have to wait for further details. – MH


Social Welfare

Q: I have a reduced contributory pension. Will I receive a pro rata increase or the full €12?

From Tony

A: Yes, there will be proportionate increases for qualified adults and for people getting a reduced rate. – MH



Q: Can rental credit be claimed for short term lets? For example, renting a holiday house for a few weeks over summer?

From Brid

A: Nice idea but I can say with confidence that there is no chance that this will be permitted under the rules of the scheme which will be published in the Finance Bill next month. The rental tax credit is a housing measure to support tenants, not a tourism measure. – DC


Social Welfare

Q: I am in receipt of a weekly disability allowance. I see there is a one off payment of €500 coming. Will I also be eligible for the double week social welfare payment in October?

From Susan

A: Yes, you will, according to information published by the Department of Social Protection. – DC


Social Welfare

Q: Hi, in the answer to a question at 9.58 you said that there would be a €12 increase in maternity/paternity/adoptive parent payments as well as a double payment of the weekly benefit in October.

But then, at 10.37, you said there were no changes to maternity benefit. Can you clarify which is true? Are there any changes to maternity benefit, in either the amount paid or any double payment?

From Siobhan

A: Hi Siobhan....sorry for any confusion. The weekly maternity/paternity/adoptive parents benefit payment will rise by €12 in common with other welfare payments from January next.

As far as I can see, the maternity et al benefit will not qualify for the double payment in October. The Department of Social Protection has broken down which payments qualify for that October bonus and the family supports, such as maternity benefit, were not among them. – DC



Q: As an unemployed student who is paying rent, am I out of luck with regard to the tax refund for renters?

From John

A: The nature of tax credits is that they are sums which are set against tax to reduce your liability. We have yet to see the full details of the rental tax credit but I cannot see how you can benefit from a tax credit if you have no tax liability against which to offset it. – DC



Q: Is the EV grant scheme in place at the same terms as 2002?

From DT

A: Electric vehicle grants, worth up to €5,000, available in 2022, are set to continue until July 2023. However there will be a gradual reduction after July 2023. – MH



Q: In relation to the childcare subsidy, is the €2,100 the max per child or per family?

From Phil

A: The maximum amount claimable per child is €1.40 (up from €0.50) per hour up to a maximum of 45 hours per week. The maximum increased claim per child equates to €2,106. – MH



Q: Is the reduction in university contribution if €1000 applied to all Irish students?

From Ciara

A: It applies to all undergraduate students who are currently paying the Student Contribution Fee. – MH



Q: Will I get the €12 increase on illness benefit?

From Liz

A: The rate of Illness Benefit is increasing by €12 per week from January 1st for those eligible to claim it. – MH



Q: When will we see the new tax adjustments come into effect in our pay?

From Gavin

A: The changes to the standard rate band, tax credits and USC will apply from 1 January 2023. – MH



Q: I’ve read that a €500 tax credit will be available to renters, but that married couples will receive different treatment. Will married people be less well off in this regard?

From Ciara

A: The new rent tax credit of €500 per annum for renters in the private rented sector is being introduced for those who are not in receipt of any other State housing support.

Only one credit may be claimed per person per year, however it is proposed that the value of the credit will be doubled in the case of married couples and civil partners. – MH



Q: My son is in college in DCU. Will €1,000 be knocked off his fees?

From Iris

A: If your son is currently an undergraduate student he should be eligible for a once off reduction in his student contribution fee of €1,000 for academic year 2022/23. – MH



Q: Was property tax affected?

From John

A: The Local Property Tax was not impacted. There was a new Vacant Homes Tax introduced for properties occupied for less than 30 days in a 12 month period. – MH



Q: What is the VAT rate going to be for magazines?

From Steven

A: The VAT on newspapers (including digital editions) to be reduced from 9 per cent to 0 per cent with effect from January 1st. This change does not apply to magazines. – MH



Q: How do I apply for renters tax credit and the energy credit?

From Lorenzo

A: We have yet to get details of how people will apply for the rental tax credit but it seems certain that it will be directly to the Revenue Commissioners. We will likely have to wait until the Finance Bill – which puts the budget measures into law – comes out on October 20th.

The energy credit will almost certainly – like the one that was given earlier this year – be deducted directly from your electricity bill by your provider on dates determined by the Government – one before Christmas and the other two next year. – DC



Q: Will the childcare reduction apply to childminders not under the National Childcare Scheme?

From Adrian

A: The measures announced yesterday envisage improvements to the existing National Childcare Scheme (NCS) subsidy. It appears that in order to qualify, the childcare provider would need to fall under the NCS. – MH


Social Welfare

Q: I am a pensioner (81) but have a blue parking badge as I have a mobility issue. Will I receive the additional “disability amount”? I do not receive a disability allowance, but am disabled.

From Gavin

A: The increases in welfare payments are given only to those people in receipt of those specific payments. If you are not getting a disability payment, you won’t get the increase. The fact you hold a blue disabled parking badge will not affect things one way or the other. – DC


Cost of Living

Q: Is it correct to say that my 23-year-old daughter, currently working in hospitality and earning €20,000 per annum with no children, no rent, no social welfare payment, should temper plans of what to do with her share of this year’s windfall budget giveaway?

From David

A: She will likely only be €150 better off on the back of this year’s budget (before the impact of inflation). This is coming from a €75 personal tax credit increase and a €75 PAYE tax credit increase. – MH



Q: My son is doing his fifth year engineering Masters – he is paying fees of nearly €8000. He only paid student contribution for years one to four. Is there any possibility he might get the €1,000 reduction? He’s not grant eligible. Thank you.

From Catriona

A: Unfortunately, the measure announce relates to a reduction in the Student Contribution Fee. Where he is not currently paying the Student Contribution Fee, he will not be able to claim the reduction. – MH



Q: What would I be gaining, earning €36,000 yearly?

From Jon

A: For a single individual with no dependents earning €36,000 per annum the tax changes should result in an extra €191 in your back pocket excluding the €600 energy credit and €500 rent credit which may apply depending on your circumstances. – MH



Q: My daughter has just started a Masters in UCD. We received the SUSI grant towards the fees. There is no maintenance awarded with this. The fees total €6,500 this year and the grant awarded is €3,500. Will we see any reduction in the balance of €3,000 that we are due to pay? Many thanks.

From Gavin

A: There is some confusion between the Minister’s statement to the Dáil on the relief for postgraduate students and a release put out by the Department of Further and Higher Education, although it may just be down to clumsy wording by one or the other.

One of the postgraduate supports will benefit from €1,000 but whether it is yours, we just do not know yet. We do expect to have an answer later today so keep an eye on the website as we will publish the detail when we have it. – DC


Social Welfare

Q: My wife and I have a joint income from contributory old age pension and occupational pension of about €800 per week. We are aged 67 and 75. Are we within the new limits for the fuel allowance?

From Pat

A: You will be, from January 1st. The Minister said that, for people over the age of 70, the weekly income limit for a couple will rise to €1,000 from 2023 so you will qualify comfortably. The standard measure is that couples are eligible for the over-70s rate where at least one of the couple is over that age. – DC



Q: On the rent tax credit, many tenants in private rental accommodation live with the landlord. Landlords are excluded from registering with RTB if they also live at the property.

That said, both the Finance and Housing Minister noted that the announced rent tax credit for tenants will only apply to properties registered with RTB.

Will tenants renting and paying to landlords, which are exempted from registering with the RTB, be excluded despite being in private rental accommodation i.e. paying rent for accommodation?

From Carlos

A: They will not be excluded from what we know. What is unclear is what evidence you will be required to produce to Revenue if you are a rent-a-room tenant to qualify, given, as you say, that they are not registered with the Residential Tenancies Board. That level of detail will be in the Finance Bill which will be published next month. – DC



Q: Is there any increase in the rates of income-assessed NCS subsidy paid to lower income families?

From Aoife

A: The measures announced in Budget 2023 relate to all families accessing registered early learning and childcare and availing of the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) subsidy – there were no changes announced in respect of income-assessed NCS. – MH



Q: I was wondering whether house renovation will be considered as a valid reason for the exemption from the vacant property tax? Context: while we try to secure funding for the renovation, the house is not in liveable condition and stays empty. Thank you!

From Kat

A: The Tax Policy Changes document released yesterday suggests that there will be an exemption from Vacant Tax for properties vacant as a result of significant refurbishment work.

This measure seeks to achieve an appropriate balance between incentivising owners of vacant homes to bring their properties back into use and not penalising home-owners for normal, temporary vacancy. – MH


Vacant Homes Tax

Q: What is the vacant property tax all about? I have three properties that I keep for my own use. Will I be impacted?

From Tommy

A: The new Vacant Homes Tax (VHT) will be introduced in 2023. The VHT will be self-assessed and administered by the Revenue Commissioners.

The measure aims to increase the supply of homes for rent or purchase to meet demand, rather than raise revenue. The tax will apply to residential properties which are unoccupied for 12 months or more.

A property will be considered vacant for the purposes of the tax if it is occupied for less than 30 days in a 12-month period. The tax will be charged at a rate equal to three times the property’s existing base Local Property Tax liability.

There will be a number of exemptions to ensure property owners are not unfairly charged for temporary vacancy arising from genuine reasons.

This will include properties recently sold or currently listed for sale or rent; properties vacant due to the occupier’s illness or long-term care; and properties vacant as a result of significant refurbishment work. – MH



Q: Hello. Question on behalf of my son please. How would the electricity bonus work on a shared pre-pay meter in rented accommodation? Many thanks for your help.

From Yvonne

A: It’s a long time since I was a student juggling prepay meters in a bedsit but apparently we now have standard pay-as-you-go meters and “smarter” pay-as-you-go meters. How this credit scheme works will depend on which your son has. My thanks to Electric Ireland for the information.

If it is a smarter meter, the credit will be automatically credited to the meter on the day it is issued. I gather this will be the €200 minus the VAT element, so the credit will be €176.22.

On standard meters, where your son buys regular top-ups, the situation will be slightly different, Electric Ireland says.

Its comment relates to the credit issued earlier this year but there is no reason to assume the structure will change for the three credits coming over this winter. Essentially you will redeem the full €200 credit (including VAT) across two or three €10 top-ups.

This is apparently because of technical limits on how much credit these meters can take. When you buy the credit you get a top-up code which applies the credit to the meter when you input it.

Precisely how much of the credit you get with each €10 top-up depends on whether you purchase the credit on the day the Government relief is allocated or subsequently.

You can find more details here.

The one thing that will confuse the issue is the fact that this is a shared meter. It is the meter that will get the credit, not the individual. It is not a personal thing but one that applies to the bill.

The benefit will effectively be shared by all users, regardless of who pays each of the €10 top-ups. – DC



Q: Will vacant home tax exempt those involved under the fair deal scheme?

From P

A: There will be a number of exemptions from the Vacant Homes Tax to ensure property owners are not unfairly charged for temporary vacancy arising from genuine reasons. This will include properties vacant due to the occupier’s illness or long-term care. – MH



Q: I have grown up kids living at home, contributing a small amount towards cost of living and rent. Can they claim the tax credit allowance of €500 if they don’t have official tenant status?

From Colette

A: I can see the attraction but there is no way Revenue is going to wear what are very informal “rental arrangements” between parents and their adult children in the family home. – DC


Social Welfare

Q: Is fuel allowance increasing? Or the time period? And is living alone allowance up €12?

From M

A: The major change in fuel allowance is that the weekly income threshold to qualify for the payment is being increased to €200 above the State contributory pension rate from €120 currently.

For people over the age of 70, the means test income limit will rise to €500 for an individual and €1,000 for a couple.

However, these new thresholds will only kick in from January 1st so anyone above the existing limits but below the new thresholds will have to wait until then to receive the allowance which, this year, is being paid for the standard 28 weeks from this week.

They will also presumably not benefit from the one-off €400 payment to those eligible for the fuel allowance that is being paid before Christmas. There is no weekly increase in the living alone allowance but there will be a once-off €200 payment made to those who receive it before Christmas. – DC



Q: Has the age allowance increased this year as it has not been increased for many years?

From Deanne

A: And it has not been increased this year either. It remains at €245. – DC



Q: On student fees, does every student get the €1,000 reduction this year? We collectively do earn over €100,000. However, with three students in college, this is still a crippling cost.

Also, can we claim the rent allowance for the three student rentals, as we are heavily subsidising their rent?

From John

A: All students paying the student contribution of €3,000 are eligible for the €1,000 reduction in relation to this academic year. Most parents pay this in stages so it will reduce their second semester payment. Those who have paid in full will be due a refund.

In terms of rent, it seems certain that it will be the tenant who can claim the credit. It will likely be up to you to tailor the subsidy you currently give to reflect that. – DC



Q: I am male, 25 years old, earning €27,000 per year. I live with my parents, not paying rent per se but am paying a contribution to utilities of €400 per month. How does this budget affect me?

From Rory

A: Apart from a very modest increase in your take home pay due to the rising USC 2 per cent threshold – just over €40 over the whole year – I don’t think there was anything really in this budget for you. – DC



Q: I run a small business and have been looking to use KEEP to retain key staff but can’t meet the conditions – what has changed in the budget?

From Ana

A: The Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP) is a topic close to my heart having been involved in the consultation process on changes over the summer.

KEEP was introduced by the 2017 Finance Act. It is a tax efficient share option scheme aimed at assisting Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) who want to retain key talent.

Uptake on KEEP has been very low to date due in part of the complexity of the conditions to be met.

There were some very welcome measures announced including the extension of KEEP to December 31st, 2025.

It was also announced that measures to facilitate the buy-back of KEEP shares by the issuing company are being introduced and the effective valuation cap of €3 million on options under KEEP is being doubled from €3 million to €6 million.

In addition, the Minister signalled that measures announced in Finance Act 2019 are due to be commenced.

These measures included the extension of the relief to companies who operate through certain group structures, provisions to allow part time employees to qualify for relief and facilitate employees to move between group companies, and the extension of the relief to existing shares as well as new shares. – MH



Q: Is childcare reduction based on universal or means tested?

From Bernadette

A: All families accessing registered early learning and childcare will receive a minimum hourly National Childcare Scheme (NCS) subsidy. This is not a means tested subsidy. – MH



Q: The €600 towards electricity bills is welcome. However it goes towards the electricity bill only at a time when my gas bill will be twice as high as electricity until March 2023.

Electric Ireland transferred €100 in the last support to the gas bill for my mother but all others, including my supplier Energia, say it’s not legal to do that. It means at a time when I need assistance to pay my gas bills, there is no support.

From Damien

A: The thinking is that everyone has an electricity bill whereas there is a wide range of energy sources used for heating and cooking etc.

You’re quite right that gas bills are those most dramatically affected by the current surge in charges but if the Government were to provide for those, they would come under attack from people using solid fuel, solar etc.

The simplest and fairest way to make sure everyone benefits equally was deemed to be via electricity bills – though there is obviously an argument that the fairest approach would be to target those most vulnerable to rising energy costs. But again, simplicity and speed seem to have won out. – DC



Q: Is the tax bracket for one income married couples increasing too? If so, to what?

From Kieva

A: The income tax standard rate cut-off points is increasing from €45,800 to €49,000 for married couples/civil partners with one earner. – MH



Q: I’m in HAP (€1,500) and I pay extra €500 to pay my rent (€2,000). I just want to ask if I’m qualified to €500 tax credit for renters?

From Joy

A: There is a lot of detail yet to be clarified on the new rental tax credit but my understanding is that it is likely to be available only to those who are not already availing of state rental supports.

That would rule out Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) recipients. We would hope to have more clarity of this later today. – DC



Q: Has the threshold in housing raised?

From Lorraine

A: The income threshold for social housing is not something determined in the budget but by the Minister in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

It is an issue as there is concern that certain budget measures could have the impact of bringing people’s income above current social housing eligibility thresholds, so you may well see some amendment to current thresholds. – DC


Social Welfare

Q: Will a person on Invalidity Pension get a bonus double payment in October, a €500 bonus in November and a bonus double payment in December? So basically three bonus payments.

From Jan

A: That is the effect of the budget and was confirmed last night by the Department of Social Protection. – DC



Q: What happened to the proposed tax break for small landlords to stop them exiting the market?

From Katie

A: Indeed. The only very modest relief announced yesterday was the decision by Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, to double the amount landlords can claim in pre-letting expenses to €10,000 and reduce the time a property must be vacant in order to qualify from 12 months to six.

Of course, none of that is any use to landlords who currently have sitting tenants, and are limited in rent pressure zones to increasing rent by no more than 2 per cent per annum when consumer prices are rising by more than four times that figure. I think it is fair to say that landlords feel they rank among the “losers” in Budget 2023. – DC


Cost of Living

Q: Is minimum wage going up?

From Lou

A: The Tánaiste, earlier this month, announced that the Government were accepting the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation to increase the National Minimum Wage by 80 cent to €11.30 from the 1st of January. There were no further changes to the National Minimum Wage in the budget.

Budget 2023 did provide for an increase in the second USC rate band (2 per cent rate) from €21,295 to €22,920 in line with the 80 cent per hour increase in the National Minimum Wage.

The increase in the USC band will ensure that full-time workers on the minimum wage will remain outside the top rates of USC. – MH



Q: What will the criteria be for the 400,000 extra GP visit cards? Will it still be means tested?

From Sandra

A: The indicative threshold for qualifying for free GP care from next year is €418 a week for a single person or €607 for single parents, couples and families.

Free GP care is also being extended to 70,000 six and seven-year-olds in the last quarter of this year. Free GP care is provided to eligible children regardless of household income. – MH


Social Welfare

Q: I am currently on maternity leave since May. Will maternity leave payment be doubled in November and December like other payments as it appears to be a social welfare payment too??!

From Grace

A: There were no changes to maternity leave payments announced in Budget 2023. However, the Government has committed to making a double Child Benefit payment to all qualifying households. This is worth €140 per child in addition to the normal monthly payment. – MH



Q: I have a house which I use for Airbnb and my family occasionally use it but family use may not amount to 30 days. Can I use the Airbnb days as occupation also?

From Kathleen

A: The measure aims to increase the supply of homes for rent or purchase to meet demand, rather than raise revenue. A property will be only considered vacant for the purposes of the tax if it is occupied for less than 30 days in a 12-month period.

Based on current information available occupation by Airbnb should be considered to be ‘occupation’ for the purpose of this test. – MH



Q: Is there any more information on the IVF scheme please?

From Donna

A: The announcement in yesterday’s budget confirmed that funds were being allocated towards the scheme but we will have to wait for further details. – MH


Social Welfare

Q: How is the eligibility for the Fuel Allowance being extended?

From Angela

A: From January 1st, the qualifying income threshold for the Fuel Allowance will increase from €120 to €200 above the relevant rate of the contributory state pension.

For over 70s specifically, the weekly Fuel Allowance means limit is being increased to €500 for single people and €1,000 for couples. – MH



Q: Has there been any amendment to the €400 payment for housing Ukrainian families?

From Aisling

A: There was no announcement in relation to payments for housing Ukrainian Families. – MH



Q: Will the new vacant homes tax be applied to a to holiday home in Ireland if it is used by the family more than 30 days a year (not rented to others)?

From Margaret

A: The vacant homes tax (first mooted as part of the ‘Housing for All Plan released in 2021) will be introduced in 2023. This will apply to houses which are occupied for less than 30 days in a 12-month period.

From the information available to date, there does not appear to a specification on who occupies the house, just that the house is occupied for 30 days or more in a year. – MH



Q: Does the €1,000 decrease in college costs include postgrad courses (Masters) too?

From Fiona

A: The €1,000 discount on the student contribution applies only to those eligible for the higher education free fees schemes.

That means Irish and EU students, as well as those form the UK, Switzerland and certain other EEA countries as well as refugees who are undertaking an approved undergraduate course of at least two years’ duration.

That effectively rules out Masters students. There is a separate postgraduate relief but that is limited on the basis of income. – DC



Q: What works/items are included in pre-letting expenses?

From Katie

A: When calculating rental profit, deductions are allowed for certain costs such as rates, insurance, maintenance costs, interest costs etc. Typically, a landlord can only claim expenses (other than expenses such as letting fees, advertising fees and legal fees before the first letting) during the term of a lease.

Changes introduced in Finance Act 2017 provided that pre-letting expenditure of up to €5,000 incurred on a premises which has been vacant for at least 12 months and which is then let as a residential premises would be allowable as a rental deduction.

Budget 2023 reduces that period to six months and increases the allowable expenditure to €10,000. – MH



Q: How can you ask for the electricity bill grant if you are a European citizen living in Ireland?

From Nicolò

A: The electricity credit will be applied directly to your bill. This is what happened earlier this year with a similar relief.

So it doesn’t matter whether you are an Irish citizen, an EU citizen living here or a citizen of some other country living here, as long as you are a paying customer of an electricity supplier, you will benefit from this €600 budget measure.

It will be credited in three €200 sums, one before Christmas and the other two in 2023. – DC



Q: Free contraception for people up until 30. Why not every age? I am a 37-year-old female back home because I cannot afford to live in this country or afford to have a child.

All as an effect of the choices the government made through the 2008 recession, and the decision to effectively allow any company to furlough staff for two years due to Covid-19 and make house prices unaffordable for a single person.

From Mel

A: Like a lot of programmes – think of the gradual expansion of free GP care for children – the Government has incrementally widened the number of people who can avail of free contraception.

Last year’s budget provided €9 million for this programme and it was actually introduced only earlier this month, when it was made available to anyone between the ages of 17 and 25.

Budget 2023 will expand that to anyone from the ages of 16 to 30 and it seems likely that future budgets will further widen eligibility to women over that age. – DC



Q: I’m thinking of installing solar panels on my house. Currently there is a grant of up to €2,400 towards the cost of installing solar panels available from SEAI. Was there any changes to this grant scheme announced in the budget?

From Colm

A: There was no change announced in terms of grant aid for home retrofit or domestic green energy projects such as the installation of solar panels.

However, the Minister did mention funding for a new low-cost loan scheme for residential retrofit which passed somewhat under the radar last night.

The sheer cost of some of these retrofit projects has been a factor holding people back and there have been calls for a low-interest loan scheme that would incentivise people to make the jump. It appears that will now be put in place although details are currently very sketchy.

That aside, the Minister, Michael McGrath, announced what he said was “the highest funding commitment ever to energy efficiency” – €337 million – which will be made available for the sort of grants you mention in your question. He said this would fund more than 37,000 home energy upgrades. – DC



Q: Could you clarify the change in PhD stipends? In your opinion, does this change acknowledge or diminish the work that the PhDs do for €3,300 less than minimum wage?

From Aaron

A: The Department of Education is expected to clarify details around the increase in PhD stipends mentioned in the budget speech by Minister Michael McGrath in a briefing that takes place later this morning. – DC



Q: Are Pensioners getting a rise?

From Daniel

A: They are. Pensioners will see their weekly payment rise by €12 from January. They will also benefit from a double weekly payment for social welfare recipients in October as well as the more normal Christmas bonus.

In addition, they should get the once-off €400 fuel allowance payment in November and, if they are living alone, another €200 once off payment, also in November. – DC


Social Welfare

Q: Despite the lump sum, is fuel allowance increasing and does the €12 increase include living alone allowance?

From M

A: Neither the fuel allowance of €33 a week nor the living alone allowance of €22 a week were increased in this year’s budget.

However, there will be a once-off payment of €400 to fuel allowance recipients before Christmas and a €200 once-off payment to those receiving the living alone allowance as part of the cost of living package. – DC



Q: Will the rental tax credit be made available to all renters? My understanding is it currently only applies to you if you were renting before the cut-off date.

From Cillian

A: The rental tax credit will be payable to everyone who has been renting this year – apart, I gather, from those already in receipt of state support on rent – and will continue to be paid over the coming years to those continuing to rent.

There is no cut-off date before which you have to have been renting. – DC


Social Welfare

Q: Will the €12 increase in weekly social welfare payments, and the double week payment in October, include maternity benefit?

From Aisling

A: The increase in weekly rates will apply to the maternity/paternity/adoptive parents weekly payment, bringing it to €262 from €250 currently. Recipients will also benefit from the once-off cost of living double weekly payment in October. – DC


Cost of Living

Q: I’m living in rented student accommodation and wondering do we get the €600 credit on our electricity bill? When does this come into force?

Do we have to apply for the credit or is it automatically paid out? We move out in December so would we still be able to get this credit?

From Laoise

A: The €600 payment to help reduce the pain of rapidly rising energy prices is payable to whoever pays the electricity bill so you should qualify for that.

However, it will be paid in three tranches of €200 each, with just one of those being paid before Christmas and the other two in 2023. If you are moving out in December, you will not benefit from the second or third payments – at least in relation to this property.

Assuming you are paying energy bills elsewhere in the New Year, you will qualify at that address. – DC


Social Welfare

Q: When is the Working Family Payment lump sum being paid?

From Seline

A: The €500 lump sum Working Family Payment is due to be paid in November. – MH



Q: Who do the education fees reduction apply to? Is it just those receiving SUSI grants? Is it just for undergraduate degrees or does it apply to postgraduate courses too?

From James

A: For undergraduates, the once-off €1,000 reduction applies to anyone paying the student contribution fee. For postgraduates, the €1,000 increase in grant payable appears to apply only to those with reckonable income of less than €24,500.

Those in receipt of SUSI grants will benefit from a once-off double monthly payment, though it is not yet clear when this will happen. – DC



Q: How does it affect disability benefits?

From David

A: Disability benefits and invalidity pension payments will increase by €12 a week from next year. That will bring the disablement benefit weekly payment to €251, the disability allowance/blind pension to €210 a week and the invalidity pension to €225.50.

There will also be a once-off payment of €500 made in November to those who qualify for disability allowance, invalidity pension and the blind pension. – DC



Q: If I have already paid the €3000 college fees, will I get a refund of €1,000?? I hope so!!

From Paula

A: The €1,000 reduction in college fees applies for the current academic year – 2022/23 – so you will get a refund of those fees. The less certain question is: when? – DC


Social Welfare

Q: How has the Working Family Payment changed in the budget?

From Sarah

A: An additional lump sum payment of €500 will be paid to those in receipt of the Working Family Payment. This will be payable in November. The Working Family Payment threshold is also being increased by €40 per week. – MH



Q: Do we have a date from when the income tax changes and the USC changes will be implemented? Also, the energy support for businesses was to be “per trade”. Does this mean if a company has multiple businesses they can claim on them all or just one per limited company?

From Ruairí

A: The income tax and USC changes will take effect from January 1st. The Minister announced the introduction of the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme which will apply to “businesses carrying on a Case I trade”.

As you mentioned, relief will be subject to a monthly cap of €10,000 per trade – there will also be an overall cap applied on the total amount a business can claim. – MH



Q: Is there any tax relief if earning more than €100,000?

From Esam

A: For a single individual with no dependents earning €100,000 the tax changes should result in an extra €831 in your back pocket excluding the €600 energy credit and €500 rent credit which may apply depending on your circumstances. – MH



Q: How will the rent relief apply? Will Schedule E individuals have to submit tax return – how do you prove payments?

From Helen

A: Details have yet to be made available on the rental tax credit. I anticipate that PAYE workers will claim the credit through PAYE anytime in the same way medical expenses and other reliefs are claimed.

Typically reliefs are claimed on a self-assessment basis (i.e. no proof needs to be submitted to Revenue but you should retain proof on file should it be requested). – MH



Q: In 2023, the Student Contribution Fee will be reduced by €500 for eligible families earning between €62,000 and €100,000. Is this income bracket after tax or before tax?

From Navin

A: The income brackets refer to gross income. Separate to the €500 reduction for eligible families, all third-level students will see a once-off reduction of €1,000 in their college fees this year, as part of Budget 2023. – MH



Q: When will the contributory pension increase?

From Gerry

A: The €12-per-week increase will apply from January 1st. There will be a cost of living double pension payment paid to all pensioners in October and a Christmas Bonus double payment in December. – MH


Cost of Living

Q: What gains/losses will we have as a result of the budget? We are home-owners, married, working full-time on salaries of €70,000 and €71,000 with 7 per cent to pension. We have one car, and no children.

From Robert

A: You and your spouse should each end up with an extra €830 in your back pocket. As a home-owner you should also benefit from the €600 energy credit. – MH



Q: Did the government keep the electric vehicle grant? There were reports earlier this year that they were going to scrap it? I have one ordered for delivery in January, and it will be €5,000 more expensive if the grant is gone.

From Jeremiah

A: Electric vehicle grants, worth up to €5,000, from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) are set to continue until July. However there will be a gradual reduction after July. – MH



Q: My query relates to the SUSI grant scheme for university students. In short, has the eligibility criteria been changed in any way? Has the income thresholds for eligibility been relaxed to help students?

From Mike

A: There were some limited changes to the SUSI supports. First up, the upper family income threshold that will allow you secure a 50 per cent discount on the student contribution has been increased to €62,000 from €55,240 currently.

SUSI grants will increase by between 10 and 14 per cent but not until September of next year. Finally, anyone on a SUSI grant this academic year will be in line for a once-off double monthly grant payment although the timing of that has not yet been clarified. – DC



Q: How will the IVF fund work? Are there any details on it? Thanks.

From Kate

A: An allocation of funding towards access to publicly funded IVF treatment was announced in this year’s budget. There were no further details provided. – MH



Q: Are there any incentives at all for single property landlords to stay in the sector?

From Catherine

A: There were no major reliefs provided for private landlords. Instead, the budget gave relief in the form of a rent credit to renters.

Under measures announced yesterday, landlords will be able to claim €10,000 (i.e. double the previous amount) per premises in respect of pre-letting expenses. The premises must now only be vacant for a period of six months to qualify (reduced from 12 months). – MH



Q: When are the tax credit changes being implemented: 2022 or 2023?

From Shiela

A: Changes to tax credits will apply from January 1st, 2023. The rent credit will apply retrospectively to 2022 and will be claimable in 2023. – MH



Q: Has benefit in kind (BIK) for company electric been changed? In last year’s budget it was announced BIK would be phased out. Is this still the case?

From Michael

A: Certain BIK exemptions and discounts are available where the car made available by an employer is an electric car. There were no further changes announced in this year’s budget.

As announced last year, partial relief will apply in respect of electric cars made available to employees between January 1st, 2023, and December 31st, 2025.

This relief applies by reducing the original market value of the vehicle. The reduction which applies is as follows:

  • €35,000 in respect of cars made available during 2023
  • €20,000 in respect of cars made available during 2024
  • €10,000 in respect of cars made available during 2025


Cost of Living

Q: As a typical 30-year-old single man who works professionally and rents, how do I benefit from this budget? Thank you.

From Shane

A: Well, you will be in line for the rental tax credit of €500. You should also benefit to the tune of €640 from the increase in the standard rate tax band by €3,200 to €40,000 and by a further €40 or so due to the rise in the 2 per cent USC income threshold. – DC



Q: Does the renters’ tax credit apply for parents of students in rented student residences?

From Beatrice

A: It does apparently, provided the rent paid by the student is above a certain threshold. Given the cost of student residences in colleges across the State, that is unlikely to be an issue. – DC


Cost of Living

Q: How does someone claim the renters’ tax credit and electricity allowance?

From Eoin

A: Full details have yet to be made available on the rental tax credit but it seems certain that those renting will apply for it online from the Revenue Commissioners. Details should be included in the Finance Bill which is due to be published on October 20th.

On the electricity credit, I assume this will simply be deducted from your bill by your energy provider as happened with the energy credits already made earlier this year.

Of course, as you never actually see the cash, it doesn’t quite feel the same but it will be welcome given the size of those looming winter energy bills and it is certainly a more efficient way for government to manage it than physically giving people three separate cheques for €200. – DC


Social Welfare

Q: Will there be an increase in the living alone allowance? Thank you.

From Colette

A: There was no increase announced in the €22 weekly Living Alone Allowance in the budget or in the new rates announced subsequently by the Department of Social Protection.

However, the Minister did say there would be a once-off payment of €200 paid before Christmas to everyone on this allowance.

Welfare payment recipients, including pensioners, will also benefit from a once-off double week “Cost of Living Support” payment in October. This is separate from the normal Christmas bonus which will also be paid, in December. – DC



Q: We are a professional couple with four children aged 8-16. We have very high childcare costs – private care in our home for mornings and an afterschool service for afternoons. Will the budget affect these costs?

From Camilla

A: To the extent your children are using registered childcare you will be eligible to receive a minimum hourly National Childcare Scheme (NCS) subsidy of €1.40 (up from €0.50) towards the cost of childcare.

This represents an additional €0.90 per hour reduction in the cost of childcare per eligible child. The subsidy is applicable for children up to the age of 15 so you will not be in a position to claim for your 16 year old. The increased rate will apply from January 1st. – MH



Q: Regarding the €1,000 reduction in the student contribution fees for third level students, is this going to be universal or just for families in a certain income bracket?

From Matej

A: There was no mention of income brackets in relation to the once-off €1,000 reduction in the €3,000 student contribution fee for this year, although the separate measure for postgraduate students does appear to be income limited. – DC


Cost of Living

Q: I earn €25,350 before tax. What increases have I gained from this budget?

From Ronan

A: For a single individual with no dependents the tax changes should result in an extra €191 in your back pocket, excluding the €600 energy credit and €500 rent credit which may apply depending on your circumstances. For a more accurate calculation our calculator here. – MH



Q: Will there be any help in terms of fuel for a business using a car or van?

From John

A: The excise duty reduction of 21 cent per litre on petrol, 16 cent per litre of diesel, and 5.4 cent per litre of marked gas oil introduced earlier this year has been further extended to February 23rd, 2023.

As already set out in Finance Act 2020, carbon tax will increase to €48.50 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions. This represents an increase of €7.50.

The increase will be applicable from October 12th, 2022, for petrol and auto-diesel and from May 1st, 2023, for all other fuels. This will result in an increase of approximately 2 cent per litre, VAT inclusive, on petrol or diesel.

The Minister has offset this increase by reducing the National Oil Reserves Agency levy to €0 from the previous cost of approximately 2 cent per litre, VAT exclusive. – MH



Q: Is there any help for a self-employed carpenter?

From Kelly

A: All self-employed individuals will benefit from the €3,200 increase in the standard rate cut-off point as well as the increase in both the personal tax credit and the self credit and USC changes – for a single individual earning above €40,000 this could amount to €830.

Separately, if you qualify for the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme it should help cap an important component to your overhead base.

Full details are yet to be published but what I understand is that the scheme will be open to businesses that carry on a Case 1 trade, are tax compliant, and have experienced a significant increase (more than 50 percent) in their natural gas and electricity costs. – MH



Q: If myself and my husband have a combined income just over €100,000 do we get any reduction for our daughter as a student?

From Sue

A: A once-off reduction in the Student Contribution of €1,000 was announced by Minister for Expenditure and Public Reform Michael McGrath in his cost of living package.

It will apply for eligible students in the 2022-2023 education year, which is the current college year. By eligible students, I assume he is talking about those students subject to the current €3,000 fee, so you will benefit from this measure it appears. – DC



Q: Will the Metro Link or Dart+ initiatives be impacted by this budget?

From David

A: The Budget 2023 Expenditure Report released yesterday noted that capital investment will increase by €75 million, or 3 per cent to €2.6 billion in 2023.

It was noted that this capital allocation will be used to target investment towards active travel, greenways and the roads network, as well as the continued delivery of the Department of Transport’s ongoing megaprojects MetroLink, DART+ and BusConnects. – MH


Community employment

Q: Will there be an increase in community employment rates?

From Terry

A: Community employment pay rates were not mentioned in the budget speeches, so no change there unless they feature in the Finance Bill which will be published in the coming weeks to implement the budget measures. – DC



Q: My girlfriend and I are both renting together. Will we each get the €500 renting tax credit? And do we need to apply for it or how do we receive please?

From Paul

A: According to the Department of Finance, if a couple is renting, each will be able to apply for the rental tax credit.

What is not yet clear is precisely how they will apply for it. I suspect it will have to be done through the Revenue Commissioners. Details will likely emerge in the coming days. – DC


Cost of living

Q: I am on the 20 per cent tax bracket, and am struggling like everyone else. What is being done for me in the budget today? People on social welfare are getting extra fuel allowance. How am I going to pay for my fuel? I’m not getting a fuel allowance.

They are also getting a bonus at Christmas. What bonus am I getting? Nothing is what. So why is it that the people that are working seem to get a raw deal, and the people who are on the social welfare and people on higher tax brackets are getting something done? Like, can the USC charge be done away with?

From Mary

A: The main income tax changes will benefit those at the very top of the standard rate income tax band.

Currently, €36,800, or just over it as it moves to €40,000 (and pro rata for those who are married or in a civil partnership), but you will most likely benefit from the albeit very modest changes in USC that increase the 2 per cent band to income of €22,920 from €21,295.

Depending on your income, you may also qualify from January for the fuel allowance as the weekly income thresholds there have risen to €200 above the state contributory pension rate from €120 currently.

That means where someone this year would need their income to be below €19,411 in order to qualify, from next January that income threshold will rise by close to €5,000 to €24,195.

There appears to be no plan to do away with USC although the Minister did announce plans for a review of personal taxation. – DC



Q: I’m a fresh start home buyer. Are there any changes in this budget that would benefit me? My understanding is I don’t qualify for help to buy as a fresh start buyer. I had previously earned too much to qualify for an affordable home or rebuilding home loan. Many thanks.

From Eoghain

A: Budget 2023 provides relief for first time buyers only. This was provided through the extension of the Help to Buy Scheme which was extended for two years to December 31st, 2024. – MH



Q: Is the renters’ tax credit a once-off measure? As in, will the €1,000 next year carry on into 2024 and beyond?

From Sean

A: The rent credit of €500 per annum will apply for 2023 and subsequent tax years. The Minister also provided that it may be claimed retrospectively in respect of rent paid in 2022. – MH



Q: I’m finding it very hard to predict what the proposals mean for childcare. Are the costs based on an Ireland average?

I see a reduction of €1,200 being mentioned, and also 20 per cent to 25 per cent. I’m a parent with two kids in preschool full time paying €2,000 a month. Any insight would be great!

From Stephen

A: From January 2023 all families accessing registered early learning and childcare will receive a minimum hourly National Childcare Scheme (NCS) subsidy of €1.40 towards the cost of early learning and childcare – up €0.90 per hour from the current €0.50 per hour.

This translates to a maximum additional €40.50 subsidy per week per child or €2,106 a year. – MH



Q: Does the rental credit apply to renting just a room in someone’s house or a Residential Tenancies Board full property lease?

From Paul

A: This level of detail has not yet been clarified. However, as the intention of the measure is to defray the cost of renting for tenants, logic would suggest that it will apply to those renting a room in a property as well as those renting an entire property.

I expect that, given the interest in this credit, fuller details will emerge in the coming days. – DC



Q: What tax relief is available to landlords to keep them in the market?

From John

A: In the lead up to Budget 2023 it was widely anticipated there would be an introduction of tax relief measures for landlords and a tax credit for people living in rented accommodation to provide some relief in the short-term and hopefully stem the tide of landlords leaving the market.

Budget 2023 delivered much needed relief to renters in the form of a €500 per annum tax credit. For landlords, the news was fairly underwhelming – the only measure of note is a change to the rules around pre-letting expenditure.

Landlords now can claim pre-letting expenditure of up to €10,000 as an allowable expense. The vacant premises period during which the expenditure must have been incurred has been reduced from 12 months to 6 months. – MH


Working from Home

Q: I am working from home almost three years. My heating bills are very high and my employer doesn’t pay me €3.20 per day. I only claim €120 from Revenue for a year.

From Mehmet

A: There was no mention in the budget of improving the rate that people working from home can claim for expenses such as heat, light and broadband even though, as you say, these have been rising dramatically in recent months and look certain to continue to do so over this winter and possibly beyond.

It is possible that something will appear in the Finance Bill on this but it is not likely. – DC



Q: Can you clarify if the reduction in education of €1,000 applies to someone working full time but paying to do a masters?

From Anna

A: The Minister, Michael McGrath, did announce a special once-off €1,000 increase to the postgraduate tuition fee contribution grant under his cost of living package.

However, this grant – which ordinarily can be payable up to a maximum of €6,270 towards the cost of their fees – is open only to those students whose reckonable income is below €24,500.

The maximum amount is paid to students living more than 30kms from their college. For those living close, the grant is normally capped at €2,575 – before this once-off measure.

There is a separate €3,500 Postgraduate Fee Contribution payable to students with reckonable income below €55,240 but our current understanding is that the €1,000 once-off increase will not apply to students in receipt of this payment. – DC



Q: I rent a room cash in hand from a relative. Can I claim the tax relief benefit for renters?

From Paul

A: The precise way in which the rental tax credit will work has not been set down publicly as yet but the credit will go to the tenant and not the landlord.

It is likely that in order to claim the credit, the tenant will need to supply details of the rented property, which will be a way for Revenue to make sure that landlords are tax compliant.

Whether it will apply to those renting a room has also not been clarified, but I expect it will. – DC


Good morning and welcome to The Irish Times’ post-budget Ask the Experts live blog.

The Government unveiled an unprecedented €11 billion giveaway budget on Tuesday amid growing concerns about deteriorating economic conditions.

The cost-of-living package, which will see once-off payments to families beginning in the coming weeks under a range of headings and a series of tax changes and business supports, will cost €4.1 billion.

The core package of recurring spending increases and tax changes will cost €6.9 billion. But how exactly will it all affect you?

Our in-house expert Dominic Coyle is joined now by tax partner at PwC Máiread Harbron to answer your budget questions live.