What Is the Help To Buy Scheme?

The Help to Buy Scheme (HTB) is aimed at first time buyers who have difficulty coming up with the 10% deposit for purchasing a house.

The enhanced HTB scheme is available until December 2024.

Here are the main factors you need to keep in mind regarding the Help to Buy Scheme in Ireland:

  • You can receive 10% of the purchase price or of the completion value of a new build.
  • The maximum amount you can claim is now set at €30,000 and it can only be applied to new homes purchased from qualifying contractors.
  • The programme is aimed at first-time buyers only. If you are buying the property with anyone else, it must also be their first time buying a home. Otherwise, you will not qualify for this scheme.
  • The scheme is applicable to newly built houses or apartments. New self-build homes also qualify but cannot be applied to second hand homes.
  • With this scheme, you will be able to claim both, a refund on income tax and a refund on any Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) you have paid in the previous four years.
  • It does not cover investment properties and it is expected to be your main residence for at least five years from the date it is habitable.
  • You must take a mortgage of a minimum of 70% of the purchase price. You can have a guarantor on the loan, regardless if it is that person’s first home or not.
  • The Help to Buy Scheme is only available for properties which cost less than €500,000.
  • It can also be used in conjunction with the Local Authority Home Loan (see details below).

Some banks offer cashback on mortgages, be sure to shop around when choosing a financial institution for your property mortgage – get financial advice. A Broker should be able to advise you on a range of products and services in the market, whereas a Bank will be limited to advising on just their products or services.

How Does the Help To Buy Scheme Work?

Here are four important factors to note to ensure the Help to Buy Scheme works for you:

  • Apply for the scheme before taking out a mortgage or purchasing a home.
  • When calculating your budget, keep in mind that to qualify for this scheme, your mortgage must be for at least 70% of the purchase price of the home.

  • Be sure to select a newly-built home through a qualified contractor (see https://www.revenue.ie/en/property/documents/htb-qualifying-contractors.pdf) – You can find a listing of qualified builders the Revenue website

  • Lastly, you also need to be tax compliant yourself to qualify for the programme.

What Happens If I Sell a House I Bought Through the Help To Buy Scheme?

Anyone who purchases a first-time buyer’s house through the scheme must live in the house for at least five years or be liable to refund some of the tax savings received as well as an element of stamp duty relief.

If for whatever reason, the purchaser or purchasers need to sell the property before the end of the initial five-year period, or move main residence, the following amounts of the rebate must be repaid:

Amounts to be Repaid if Leave Property Earlier than 5 Years
Date of Sale % of rebate Amount
Within 1 year of purchase 100% Up to €20,000
Within 2 years of purchase 80% Up to €16,000
Within 3 years of purchase 60% Up to €12,000
Within 4 years of purchase 40% Up to €8,000
Within 5 years of purchase 20% Up to €4,000

How To Apply for the Help To Buy Scheme?

Have you reviewed all of the requirements for the scheme and tick all the boxes? You are therefore ready to apply for the Help to Buy Scheme which is divided into five stages.

  • The Claim Stage – Once you have worked out the amount of tax rebate you can claim back, you can then apply for the Help to Buy Scheme before choosing a house or mortgage. You must have filed forms 11 or 12 for the previous four years with Revenue before applying, and have no outstanding tax payments due for those years. You can apply for the Help to Buy Scheme online through Revenue’s MyAccount (for PAYE employees) or ROS (for self-assessed taxpayers)., and applicants must also register for the Revenue MyEnquiries service.

  • Arranging a Mortgage – You can then arrange a mortgage or house purchase through a qualifying contractor. The rebate will be paid directly to the qualifying contractor of the property you have chosen. At this stage of the process, you need only complete a declaration and choose which years you want to use for the refund. You will then be issued with an application number and told the maximum amount of tax rebate you can claim.

  • After Signing the Contract – You complete the second part of the Home To Buy claim when you have signed the contract for a house. You return to the application you had begun in stage 1, and upload proof of mortgage, a valuation report and a copy of the purchase contract. If the property is a self-build, you will need to submit proof of the drawdown of the first part of the mortgage.

  • Confirming Details – You will then need to confirm details such as the purchase price, estimated date of completion, mortgage details, and any money you have already paid towards the deposit. You will receive a claim reference which you will need to give to your qualifying developer or contractor.

  • Final Checks – The contractor will then validate the details you submitted and will directly receive the refund to put towards the deposit. Keep in mind that the amount refunded may differ from the maximum amount of tax relief you were provided within stage 1, as it is limited to 10% of the purchase price.

Does Everyone Qualify for the Help To Buy Scheme?

Anyone can qualify for the Help to Buy Scheme in Ireland, the requisites to qualify for the scheme are as follows:

  • This must be your first-home purchase, you cannot have previously purchased or built a home, either on your own or jointly with any other person.
  • The property you are buying must have a value of €500,000 or less.
  • You must live in the property as your main residence for a minimum of five years.
  • You have to take a mortgage of at least 70% of the property’s value.
  • The property must be a new build or self-build between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2022.
  • You must be tax compliant with Revenue.

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