Property Law Property Purchases and Sales

Buying Property in Ireland from Abroad-What You Need to Know

buying irish property from abroad

Thinking about buying property in Ireland? You are living outside Ireland? Or you are not an Irish citizen?

Firstly, the good news is that there is no restrictions on non Irish citizens buying property in Ireland; and this applies whether you are an EU national or a non-EU national.

The bad news, however, is that ownership of property does not entitle you to reside in Ireland. The whole area of visas, residency, immigration, work permits, asylum is a complex one and you will find more information about these topics on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service website.

If you intend letting the property, and there is a very healthy residential letting market in Ireland in 2018, the tenant is obliged to withhold 20% of the annual rent and pay it over to the Irish tax authorities, the Revenue Commissioners, unless you have appointed a collection agent. The collection agent-someone like an accountant, solicitor, or estate agent-will be liable for making the tax returns on the rental income but you will have been obliged to register with the Revenue Commissioners for tax purposes prior to purchase anyway.

Property taxes

On purchasing a residential or commercial property in Ireland you will have to pay stamp duty. This is currently 1% on residential properties and 6% on commercial properties and for your solicitor to do your stamp duty return he will need a PPS or tax number for you. If you are non resident and have never had a PPS or tax number you will need to apply for one from the Department of Social Protection. You can learn more about applying for a PPS number here.

Once you buy your property you will have Local Property Tax (LPT) to pay; the amount will depend on the value of the property. You can learn more about local property tax here.

If you buy a commercial property you pay commercial rates to the local authority instead of LPT.

Buying a property in Ireland-some practical steps

One of the first things you will need to consider is instructing a solicitor to act on your behalf. Your solicitor will be able to explain how the conveyancing process works in Ireland, the various steps in a conveyance, the legal difference between a booking deposit and contract deposit, and the legal costs and outlays you will encounter.

You will also be advised to engage the services of a structural surveyor to check the structural integrity of the property, check for signs of pyrite, and check the boundaries on the ground as compared to the Property Registration Authority folio map/filed plan.

You should be aware, too, of the differences between buying a house as opposed to an apartment; the most important one will be that a management company will need to be in place to manage the common areas in a multi unit development such as an apartment development.

Property purchase costs and outlays

When budgeting for your purchase you need to account for:

  • Professional legal fee
  • Value added tax on the legal fee
  • Property registration authority registration fees
  • Structural survey
  • Legal searches to be carried out on closing day to ensure there are no judgments or other unexpected burdens registered on the folio
  • Commissioner for Oaths fees
  • Stamp duty on purchase price


There is no difficulty buying property in Ireland but you will need to obtain a PPS/tax number from the Revenue Commissioners and engage the services of a solicitor early in your search.

Make sure you are dealing with a registered auctioneer/estate agent and that he/she is registered with one of the accredited auctioneering bodies in Ireland and he/she is registered with the Property Services Regulatory Authority.

Good luck!

Property Law Property Purchases and Sales Taxation

Stamp Duty | Stamp Duty Rates In Ireland

Stamp duty is a tax on documents and most peoples experience with stamp duty will be in relation to property purchase which gives rise to the notion that stamp duty is applied to property.

But it is actually a tax on the instrument which witnesses the property transaction and you will also see stamp duty applied to other instruments (legal documents) such as shares in companies.

The Stamp Duties Consolidation act 1999 governs this whole area and in that legislation there is a Schedule 1 which sets out the heads of charge for stamp duty which stipulates that the stamp duty on a conveyance or transfer of property will range from 0% to 9%. Each year the government in the Finance Act may change the rate of duty in various heads of charge but the duty will be calculated on an “ad valorem” (for value) rate.

Generally stamp duty will be payable if the document/instrument is executed in Ireland or if the transaction relates to property in the State. You used to have 30 days within which to stamp your document/instrument with the Revenue Commissioners; this is now 44 days and you can do the stamping online with the new online stamping service provided by the Revenue Commissioners called eStamping with the purchaser being the liable person for the duty.

However if it is a voluntary transfer, such as a gift, both parties will be jointly and severally liable.

Residential Stamp Duty Rates

The rates of duty applicable for residential property (whether new or second-hand) are as follows:
First €125,000 Nil
Next €875,000 7%
Excess over €1,000,000 9%

* Transactions, where the consideration (or the aggregate consideration) does not exceed €127,000, are exempt from stamp duty.

Stamp Duty Rates On Non Residential Property

Up to €10,000 Exempt

€10,001 to €20,000 1%

€20,001 to €30,000 2%

€30,001 to €40,000 3%

€40,001 to €70,000 4%

€70,001 to €80,000 5%

Over €80,000 6%
These rates are applicable from February, 2010.

How much stamp duty you will have to pay will depend on whether you are considered to be a first time buyer, owner occupier or investor.

First time buyers do not have to pay stamp duty on either new or second hand houses but there is a clawback of duty if the first time buyer or owner occupier lets all or part of the property other than under the Rent A Room scheme.

This rent a room relief is not available to investors.

Stamp Duty On New Homes

Investors pay full duty on new homes; first time buyers are exempt. Owner occupiers may qualify for relief from stamp duty if there is a Floor Area Compliance Certificated for the property and whether the house is completed or if it is the sale of a site and contract to build a new house.

Conveyance Combined With Building Agreement

Owner occupiers will pay duty on either 25% of the total price excluding vat or the price of the site(excluding vat), whichever is the higher.
No stamp duty is payable on contents although they are taken into consideration when apportioning the total price paid.

Stamp Duty on Leases

Stamp duty is payable on leases and is divided between any premium payable which is calculated at normal stamp duty rates and duty payable on the rent.

Residential and Non-Residential Property

The stamp duty on the premium or fine is the normal rate for residential or non residential as appropriate.
Lease for a term not exceeding 35 years or for any indefinite term-Rate: 1% of the average annual rent
Lease for a term exceeding 35 years but not exceeding 100 years-Rate: 6% of the average annual rent
Lease for a term exceeding 100 years-Rate 12% of the average annual rent

Transfers Between Spouses
Transfers between spouses are exempt from stamp duty.

Stamp Duty Reliefs

Consanguinity Relief
This relief applies to transfers between blood relations such as transfers from parent to child, grandchild, grandparent, brother, sister and some others. The relief provides for payment of 50% of the normal stamp duty that would have applied had there been no relationship.

Young Trained Farmer
There is no stamp duty on a transfer of qualifying land to young trained farmers.

Site Transfer From Parent To Child
When a parent transfers a site to a child for the purposes of building a private residence, and the value of the site is less than 500,000 euros, then there is no stamp duty.The size of the site can not be greater than 1 acre.

Farm Consolidation Relief
There is considerable relief in relation to the transfer of farms to encourage the consolidation of farms and the best place to investigate this scheme is the farm advisory body, Teagasc.

Charities And Sporting Bodies
Charities and sporting bodies both enjoy relief from paying stamp duty when acquiring property; both the charities and sporting bodies need to be approved and further enquiries should be made from the Stamp duty section of Revenue Commissioners for further information.

Gifts/Voluntary Transfers
Bear in mind that if the transfer is a voluntary transaction, that is a gift, the stamp duty will be calculated on the market value of the property at the date of transfer.

If you are thinking about buying or selling a house and want a professional, competitive, personal service, we would be delighted to hear from you.


A much simplified stamp duty system was introduced in Ireland in 2010 with many of the exemptions and reliefs outlined above being abolished.

The stamp duty rates in Ireland are as follows:

Residential Property

Up to €1,000,000-the rate is 1%

Excess over €1,000,000-the rate is 2%

There are also reliefs in relation to transfers between spouses, civil partners, and cohabitants.

Non Residential Property

The rate was 2% until the budget announced in October, 2017 which saw an increase in stamp duty on commercial property increasing to 6%.

Stamp duty 2020

From October 2019 the stamp duty rate on non-residential is 7.5% (this rate applies to instruments (written documents) executed on or after 9 October 2019.)