Tax breaks for renters and landlords on the table after lifting of eviction ban
An increase in the tax credit for renters is being considered as part of tax package aimed at addressing the fall-out from lifting the eviction ban.
The rental tax credit was introduced in the Budget and allows single tenants claim €500 a year while couples can claim €1,000.
There has been a slow uptake on the tax credit since it has been introduced, with recent figures showing just 154,000 renters out of a possible 400,000 tenants making claims through the Revenue Commissioner.
However, senior Government sources suggested the scheme could be expanded in the next budget to assist renters who are struggling with record levels of rent.
Other tax breaks being considered for landlords include potentially reduced rates of capital gains tax if they sell a rental property to a tenant or approved housing body.
A series of other tax incentives for landlords were considered by a Cabinet subcommittee on housing which was tasked with drafting an options paper on the eviction ban.
This included introducing a new €14,000 tax break for landlords modelled on the rent-a-room scheme which gives homeowners a tax relief on rental income of the same amount for renting a room in their own home.
Meanwhile, a group of tax experts has said thousands of tenants could be losing out on rent credit because some landlords are flouting the rule around registration.
One of the conditions of the rent credit is that in most cases the tenancy must be registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).
However, as it is up to the landlord rather than the tenant to register a tenancy, a number of tenants are unfairly losing out on the rent credit through no fault of their own.
Taxback.com is calling on the Government to abolish a rule which prevents private residential tenants from claiming the newly established rent credit if their landlord is not registered with the RTB.
“We’re aware of a number of tenants who have hit a wall when they tried to claim the rent credit simply because their own landlord hasn’t registered the tenancy with the RTB. Tenants in such positions have their hands tied,” said Marian Ryan, consumer tax manager with Taxback.com, a multi-national corporation providing specialist tax return services to private and corporate clients.
“A landlord who hasn’t registered a tenancy with the RTB could be receiving their rent in cash so there may be no trace of that rent being paid, unless a receipt is being provided to the tenant, which may not always be the case,” she said.
“It can be very difficult for a tenant to request that the landlord registers the tenancy as, in practice, the tenant could risk losing their rental accommodation if they do so. This is a risk which many tenants simply cannot afford to take.”
Ms Ryan is calling on the Government to put a system in place which would allow tenants to claim the rent credit, even if the tenancy isn’t registered.
“There are few exemptions to the tenancy registration rule – those renting ‘student digs’ or staying in accommodation that is let out under the rent-a-room scheme can claim the rent credit, even though such tenancies do not need to be registered with the RTB,” she said.
“For those renting private rented accommodation and on-campus and purpose-built student accommodation however, the tenancy must be registered for the tenant to be eligible for the rent credit.
“If the same registration exemption around student digs and the rent-a-room scheme could be applied to private rented accommodation, more tenants would be able to claim the rent credit.”