Help to Buy Scheme for First Time Buyers

Help to Buy Scheme for First Time Buyers


First time buyers in Ireland  can claim a tax rebate equal to 5% of the value of the new home they are buying from January 2017. A New home is defined as “a new building which was not previously used, or suitable for use, as a dwelling.”  Second hand homes are not eligible.

As of Thursday 29 June 2017 the value of HTB refunds paid was €28.1 million.

The number of applications received for the HTB scheme was 7,787, of which 5,038 have been approved. Some 2,519 claims have been made, of which 1,930 have been verified and paid. The average value of claims is €14,560.

The Help to Buy tax rebate of up to €20,000  is available only 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 10% deposit in line with Central Bank Mortgage Rules.

The  tax rebate can  be claimed on new homes that were bought since July 19th 2016 .  But – if you signed a contract to buy a property (or drew down the first tranche of the mortgage for a self-build) before 19th July 2016  you will not be eligible for the Help to Buy Scheme
The Help to Buy scheme is due to finish at the end of 2019.

Bonus : If first time buyers also manage to take out one of the mortgages with cashback – such as with Bank of Ireland , they could get as much as 8% total cashback.. See the Lowest Mortgage Rates Here


Details:

The government’s  Help to Buy Scheme  (HTB)  will enable eligible first time buyers to get up to 5% of the purchase price of a new house or apartment back in the form of a tax rebate.  This can then be used towards the deposit on the purchase .

The total tax rebate under Help to Buy is  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 total amount of tax you paid.

Purchases Before Jan 1st 2017
The rules are different for houses bought or built between July 19th 2016 and Dec 31st 2016. These properties will  be eligible for tax rebates on purchases up to €600,000 – but the rebate will still be limited to  €20,000.

Purchases from Jan 1st 2017 – The 5% tax rebate will only apply to houses  priced up to €500,000. Still  with a €20k cap.


Applications for Help to Buy

There are 2 stages to the  HTB Application :
Stage 1 is to work out the maximum relief available to you under the scheme based on tax payments you made in the relevant years.  You can apply before you choose a house or apply for a mortgage. Once you know the maximum rebate possible –  you can then  arrange a mortgage and/or sign a contract with a prospective Qualifying Contractor.

When mortgages and contracts are signed you will need to  complete Stage 2 of the Help to Buy Claim  where the exact rebate will be worked out based on purchase price.

Payments of the rebate will be made directly to the builder/developer as part of  the deposit.  The builder/developer must have registered with Revenue as a registered contractor under the Help to Buy Scheme . Only properties built by a registered contractor will be eligible.
In the case of a self build – the payment wil be made direct to the bank providing the mortgage.

Before making an application for the Help to Buy Scheme , you will  first need to complete Online Forms 12 (if a PAYE taxpayer) OR Forms 11 (if self-assessed), in respect of each of the  four tax years and you must pay any outstanding taxes due.

Online applications for the Help to Buy scheme have been accepted by Revenue since Jan 3rd 2017.
PAYE employees can apply on Revenue’s MyAccount .
Self Assessed taxpayers can apply through ROS

Applicants will also need to register to use the Revenue’s MyEnquiries service.


Mortgage Rules

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.  


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 on Purchases After Dec 31 2016

200,000                          10,000
250,000                          12.500
300,000                          15,000
400,000                          20,000
499,000                          20,000
501,000                            Nil

 

First Time Buyers Grant

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?  Will the HTB scheme  just result in a rise in house prices ?

Update – July 2017

The Dept of Finance have commissioned an independent impact assessment on the effects of the Help to Buy incentive. This  is being carried out by a company called Indecon Economic Consultants . The results are expected in August 2017.

There have been rumours that the HTB  scheme will be stopped soon –  because of it’s possible effect on higher house prices. In July 2017 , the new finance minister , Paschal Donohoe said in the Dail that he  “would like to reassure members of the public who may be in the process of applying for the Help to Buy incentive,  that speculation concerning its abolition will not impact negatively on their applications. I would propose to signal well in advance, any proposed changes to the incentive following my consideration of the Indecon report.”

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