Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Finance
47. To ask the Minister for Finance if homes built for a number of years but never lived in or finished can be included in the help to buy scheme for first-time buyers; and if not, the reason therefor. [5710/20]
The legislation governing HTB is set out in section 477C of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.
The Help to Buy scheme (HTB) is an income tax incentive designed to assist first-time purchasers with a deposit to buy or build a new house or apartment. The incentive gives a refund of Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) paid in the State over the previous four years, subject to limits outlined in the legislation.
In addition to requiring that the new property is occupied as the sole or main residence of a first time purchaser, the legislation also defines a ‘qualifying residence’ for the purposes of the scheme; it must be a new building which was not, at any time, used or suitable for use as a dwelling. Therefore, if the property was at any time suitable for use as a dwelling it would not qualify for the HTB incentive.
I am advised by Revenue that where there is uncertainty regarding whether a property was previously suitable for use as a dwelling, first time buyers intending to undertake such purchases should contact Revenue via My Enquiries and they will consider the application on a case by case basis. In order for Revenue to make an assessment on whether a dwelling was unfinished and not suitable for use as a dwelling, they would require sufficient evidence from the builder, engineer or other professionals working on the project, about the condition of the dwelling which made it uninhabitable/unfinished. If there is any other information (photos, etc.) that’s relevant in helping Revenue conclude that the property meets the criteria in the legislation, this should also be included.