The Help to Buy Incentive for First Time Buyers

Added: Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A new Help to Buy (HTB) incentive has been introduced by the Government. It is designed to help first time buyers of newly built homes to put together the required deposit. It also applies to once-off self-build homes. The scheme provides for a refund of Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) (but not USC or PRSI) paid over the previous four years.

Only the amount claimed in tax can be reclaimed. The maximum tax refund is 5% of the value of the property or €20,000 - whichever is lower. The rules provide that if you are a first time buyer who either buys or self-builds a new residential property between the 19th of July, 2016 and 31st of December, 2019 you may be entitled to claim a refund of income tax and DIRT paid over the previous four years. If you are buying (or self-building the property with somebody else) they must also be first time buyers. You will not qualify if you have already previously bought or built a property, either individually or jointly with anyone else, even if you are now separated or divorced from that person. The scheme only applies to properties that are bought or built as the first-time buyer’s home. It does not cover investment properties and cash buyers do not qualify.

A mortgage must be taken out to cover at least 70% of the purchase price (or, 70% of the valuation approved by the mortgage provider) in relation to a self-build. The scheme only applies to properties costing €500,000 or less and you must occupy the property for five years from the date that it is habitable. For Self builds you will need ensure that the builder of your home is registered as a Qualifying Contractor with the Revenue if you wish to claim a refund under the scheme. The Revenue maintains a list of Qualifying Contractors which you can see on In all cases, you must be fully tax compliant in respect of the four years immediately prior to your application and, if you have not already done so, you will need to complete online Form 12 (PAYE) and Form 11 (Self-Assessed) (both forms found on in respect of each of those four years, and pay any outstanding taxes that are due. If you are a PAYE tax payer you must be registered for the Revenue’s online myAccount service, and if you are a self-assessed payer you must be registered for Revenue online service ROS. How to Apply You can apply online.

There are two stages to the HTB electronic process - an application stage and a claim stage.

A. Application Stage
You will be required to provide your PPSN, and complete a declaration. Provided that you are tax compliant you will be provided with an Application Number and a summary of the maximum relief available to you. You will be issued with an Access Code separately through MyEnquiries. You should retain both of these safely as you will require them for your lender. If you are purchasing your home you will require these for your qualifying contractor, or if self-building you will require these for your solicitor. Your contractor or solicitor will require this information to verify the tax relief claim.

B. Claim Stage
Once you have signed the contract for your home and are ready to make your claim complete the following steps;

Step 1 – Upload the following information about your application through MyEnquiries. (You should take note of the reference number given).

  • a copy of the signed contract
  • evidence of your mortgage (including loan-to-value ratio)
  • proof of drawdown of the first tranche of the relevant mortgage (if a self-build).
Step 2 - You should then login to HTB through myAccount or ROS and make your claim. You will need to include your MyEnquiries reference number. You will be asked to confirm details relating to the property, the purchase price, date of completion, mortgage details, and the deposit already paid. Group applicants will also need to provide the amounts of the agreed portion of the refund applicable to each member of the group. Self-build claimants will need to provide the BIC and IBAN of the qualifying loan bank account. Once you have submitted your claim you will be provided with a claim number. Please ensure you have carefully checked all the information you input before signing and submitting the claim. It will not be possible for you to cancel the claim afterwards.

Step 3 - Once the claim is submitted, you should advise your Developer/Contractor, or, Solicitor if you are self-building, and provide them with your claim number and the access code already provided. Before any refund is paid, the information you have given will need to be verified by
  • the Developer/Contractor in the case of a new purchase, or
  • a Solicitor, acting on your behalf, in the case of a self-build.
There are three ways the Help to Buy tax refund can be paid:
  • If you bought your home between 19 July 2016 and 3 January 2017, you can apply for the grant and if approved, it will be paid directly to you.
  • If you complete your purchase after 3 January 2017, the grant will be paid directly to the builder or developer as credit against the purchase price or deposit.
  • If you have built your own home and completed it since 19 July 2016, you can apply for the grant and it will be paid directly to you. In relation to self-build properties the Solicitor for the applicant has to verify the applicants claim and in order to do this the Solicitor must be a registered Solicitor for the scheme, we are so registered as Solicitors for the HTB Scheme.
If you need any further information John Nash Solicitors and we will be happy to supply any further information or deal with any further queries in relation to the scheme.