Help to Buy Scheme for First Time Buyers

Help to Buy Scheme for First Time Buyers

Updated 20th October

First time buyers will be able to claim a tax rebate equal to 5% of the value of the house they are buying from January 2017.
A tax rebate of up to €20,000 will be available to first time buyers to help them purchase a new home in Ireland. It is aimed at people who might not be able to afford to put down a big enough deposit in line with Central Bank Mortgage Rules.
(The rebate can be claimed on new homes bought since July 19th 2016 – see below for further details.)

If first time buyers also  take out one of the mortgages with 2% or 3% cashback – such as with Bank of Ireland , they could get as much as 7% cashback.. See the Lowest Mortgage Rates Here

A few details of the scheme were announced in Budget 2017  on October 11th 2016.  A lot more detail was contained in the Finance Bill  on 20th October – (which has yet to be passed into law). We have updated this article to reflect any new information contained in the Finance Bill.
This help to buy scheme will allow first time buyers to get up to 5% of the purchase price of a new house back in the form of a tax rebate.  (A New house means one that has not been occupied previously).  The total tax  rebate will be limited to the total income tax and DIRT paid over the previous four tax years and will be capped at €20k. If you have paid less than €20k income tax / DIRT  in the past 4 years – the maximum rebate possible will be the amount of tax you paid.

Applicants for this Help to Buy Incentive  will need to have completed Online Forms 12 (if a PAYE taxpayer) OR Forms 11 (if self-assessed), in respect of each of those four years and they must pay any outstanding taxes due.

The 5% will only apply to houses priced up to €400,000. Initial plans were that buyers will still be eligible for a tax rebate on property purchases up to €600,000 – but the rebate will be limited to  €20,000. This upper limit may not be agreed by the Dail.
No rebate will be available on houses priced over €600,000

The rebate applies to NEW homes only (Including self build)

In order to qualify, applicants must take out a mortgage of at least 70% of the purchase price, or in the case of a self -build, at least 70% of the valuation approved by the mortgage provider.  

This help to buy  scheme will be open to people who signed contracts to purchase their first home on or after 19 July 2016. In the case of a self -build, applicants who drew down the first tranche of their mortgage on or after 19 July 2016 will also be eligible. The scheme is not available for buy-to-let properties.

Applications for the Help to Buy scheme are not going to be accepted by Revenue until January 2017. The Help to Buy scheme is due to run until the end of 2019

First Time Buyer – definition . Revenue say that “The first-time buyer must not have either individually or jointly with any other person (directly or indirectly), previously purchased, orbuilt a property.”

So – owning an inherited property will not exclude people from this scheme.

Clawback: The property must be occupied by the first-time buyer, or at least one of the first-time buyers in the case of multiple first-time buyers , for a period of five years from the date the property is habitable — otherwise some or all of the rebate will have to be repaid. See Below …
Leave or sell within 1 year – 100% of rebate to be repaid.
Leave or sell within 2 years – 80% of rebate to be repaid.
Leave or sell within 3 years – 60% of rebate to be repaid.
Leave or sell within 4 years  – 40% of rebate to be repaid.
Leave or sell within 5 years – 20% of rebate to be repaid.

Examples of Rebate Amounts

Purchase Price             Max Tax Rebate

200,000                          10,000
250,000                          12.500
300,000                          15,000
400,000                          20,000
599,000                          20,000
601,000                            Nil


Previous First Time Buyers Grants

There was a First Time Buyers Grant in operation from 1977 to 2002. When it was abolished it was worth €3,610 .
The Housing Minister at the time said the  grant “returned little benefit to consumers” and had “simply been absorbed in the increased profits of builders” .

We wonder if the same thing will happen this time around? 20% Discount Online

 Marks and Spencer Ireland    have a  special online discount code for  20% off Clothing, Shoes and Homeware  which expires on 24th October  11:59pm.  Use Discount Code: OCT16FF

( INCLUDES: furniture, footwear, accessories and stationery EXCLUDES: schoolwear, branded lighting.)

Free delivery on orders over €30

At the  website you can’t buy food (usually)   or  furniture – but there is a wide choice of clothing for all ages and  some great stuff for the home – towels, bed linen , luggage,cookware, and other homeware items. discounts

Check out more online discounts , offers and deals on our Bargain Alerts Page .

Credit cards with a billing address outside Ireland are not accepted – so that means people abroad can’t use the Irish M&S site to buy gifts for people in Ireland.
If you want to get items delivered to someone in the UK or overseas you can’t do it on the Irish M&S site – but international delivery is available on the M&S UK Site
Shoppers on the UK site still can’t get orders delivered to Ireland though.

Marks and Spencer Ireland

See more Online shops delivering to Ireland


Electricity and Gas Prices Compared

What are the Cheapest Options For Switching Both Gas and Electricity in Ireland ?

Updated Octctober 15th 2016 .

Hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland have never switched energy suppliers, they are still with Electric Ireland for Electricity and Bord Gais Energy for gas.
Recent figures show that 58% of electricity customers and  53% of gas customers have never switched supplier.
For many people – changing  energy supplier could cut your fuel bills by about €400 in just one year.
How many hours would you have to work to get €400 take home pay ? (About  40 hours for someone on €25k a year).
Maybe some people have plenty of money and jsut aren’t bothered about saving around €400 in a year !

Note: The price comparisons below are based on what might be typical usage in a medium sized house using gas for both heating and hot water. ( 16500 Kwh of  Gas and 3300 kwH of Electricity a year .)

Any  savings shown are based on customers currently being on the standard tariffs for Electricity from Electric Ireland and gas from Bord Gais Energy (BGE) .

Dual Fuel – Same Supplier :

The current best deal  in this scenario , for  switching both fuels to one supplier , is to move to SSE Airtricity . Their 10% off gas and 10% off  electricity bundle with €150 cashback  would work out at  €1584 in the first year. This represents a saving of €296 over 12 months compared to staying on the Electric Ireland and BGE standard rates at €1880. Full details Here

The next best deal  for  switching both fuels to one supplier is from EnergiaThey work out at a total cost of  €1596 in the first year  (Includes a €150 cashback offer) . You have to use an online promotion code (“CLEVER432”)  to get this deal.

If you are not already with  Electric Ireland. .. they have an even  cheaper dual  fuel bundle than both of the above – it works out at   €1575 in year one for the above usage .  ( €150 cashback offer is included). You can sign up online here


Using Separate Suppliers :

Electricity : In this scenario , if you have never switched your Electricity from Electric Ireland – you will currently get the cheapest deal by switching your Electricity to Energia. You need to use promo code CLEVER260 to get this deal. This would work out at €618 in year one when the €150 cashback offer is included.  This is €176 cheaper than staying with Electric Ireland.
Note- If you have already switched from Electric Ireland and you are not tied to your new provider – the cheapest deal of all is to go back to Electric Ireland. This would work out at €614 in the first year (including €150 cashback).

GAS  : If you have never switched your gas from Bord Gais Energy – the best option currently is to switch your gas supplier to  Electric Ireland  . In the first year this would work out at €857 (includes €150 cashback). A saving of €229 compared to staying with BGE .

This combination of new suppliers will work out at a total of €1475 in year one.
Staying on the standard Electricity rate with Electric Ireland and gas with BGE would work out at €1880 in the next 12 months – so you would save €405 in the first year. 


Note :To get these lower prices with any of the suppliers you have to pay by direct debit and have online billing.

See our Electricity Price Comparison Here

The main message is – if you are have never switched and are still on the standard rates from Electric Ireland or Bord Gais Energy  – then switching provider can save you significant amounts of money. Even staying with the same supplier and changing over to payment by direct  debit and electronic billing can get you a reduced price. Even if you switched supplier couple of years ago – it could be worth switching again.  After 12 months most discounted offers end and you go back on higher rates.  You should treat energy supply  like car insurance – shop around when the 1 year contract is over and get a better deal. It only takes a few minutes to fill a form in and it could save you a few hundred euro.

Switching supplier does not involve any wiring changes, pipe changes or disconnections. It just means that a different company is administering your bills. It is still the same electricity and gas coming into your house.

Figures  were calculated  to the nearest euro  October 15th 2016  using published tariffs and standing charges on suppliers websites and including VAT, the PSO Levy on Electricity  and Carbon Tax on Gas.
The prices given are for new customers only .

When you  switch electricity suppliers you will need your  MPRN . This is an 11-digit number printied on your electricity bill. If you don’t have it, you can get it by calling ESB Networks on 1850 372 757.

If you’re switching gas suppliers they will need your GPRN . This is a 7-digit number printied on your gas bill. If you don’t have it, you can get it by calling Gas Networks Ireland on 1850 200 694.

You could obviously save even more money on your electricity bills by cutting  energy use . For  example –  switching any halogen downlighters to Gu10 LED  Low Energy Bulbs (Savings as much as 90%  compared to Halogen 50 watt!)

Insulating your home can also cut your energy bills – see our article about grants for insulation.


Property Tax 2017

The 2017 liability date for LPT is  November 1st 2016.  If you own  a residential property on that date – then you will be liable for the Property Tax on it  for the whole of 2017.  See how much your Property Tax will be in 2017 here.

If  you are planning on paying your  Local Property Tax 2017  in full by  cash, cheque, postal order, credit card or debit card. – the payment deadline  will be the 11th  January 2017

If you wish to change your payment method for 2017, you will need to have amended your LPT record online and confirmed the new payment method by 25th November 2016 (if you need to select an alternative phased payment method) .
If  you wish to pay the tax in full, in a single payment you need to confirm that  by the 11th January 2017

For all of the 700,000 or so owners that paid the 2016 LPT  by Direct Debit or by deduction at source – that method of payment will continue automatically for 2017. There will be no need for these people  to complete any forms etc. (Unless they want to change their  method of payment). If owners  were exempt in 2016 – and nothing has changed – then the exemption carries on through 2017.

But – if you are one of the majority of people (about 1.1 million) who paid the 2016 LPT  in a lump sum from your bank account or by credit card or debit card , or by cheque or cash or by installments in the Post Office etc   – you will need to confirm your payment method again for 2017.

Revenue will be sending out  letters during October 2016  to those  people who paid by lump sum –  to ask them to confirm their payment option again for the 2017 Property Tax .

A payment instruction form (LPT1a) was included with this letter only for about 300,000 people (i.e. those who filed by paper last year) . The rest of the owners will be expected to confirm payment methods for 2017 online.
About 30,000 notifications will also  issue to Revenue Online mail boxes.

The deadline for  confirmation of the payment method is 25th of November 2016

The LPT Helpline is 1890 200 255 .–  See alternative to 1890 number here

LPT Online can be accessed here

The good news is  – that the original LPT  valuations that were  filed back  in  2013 are still valid for 2017 – so you don’t have to go through the valuation process again. The LPT valuation band you selected for 2013 stays the same until November 2019 (Unless you think it was wrong.).
If you live in an area where the Property Tax for 2017 is different to the 2016 rate – you will get a letter confirming the new rate if you pay by deduction at source or direct debit .
See the 2017 Property Tax Rates

Note that if you bought your home in 2013 you are still exempt from the Property Tax until 2019 – see more about that here

Property Tax Lump Sum Payment Dates for 2017

Credit/Debit Card payments: (online only):  The full amount will be charged to your card on the day you select this payment method for paying your 2017 LPT liability.

11th January 2017: If  you are paying your LPT in full by  cash, cheque, postal order, credit card or debit card. – payment must be made by the latest 11th January 2017

15th January 2017 – This is the date of the first LPT monthly direct debit.

21st March 2017:  Single Debit Authority payments will be deducted from bank accounts on or around  this date.