Oct 13, 2020

An extension of the Help to Buy scheme for first time buyers and an extension to the Stamp Duty Refund scheme are the only tax related housing measured announced.

Help to Buy Scheme Extended

The Help to Buy (HTB) scheme was due to expire on 31 December 2020. However, as housing is one of the longer-term priorities of the Government, the scheme is being extended to 31 December 2021. The changes brought in in the July stimulus package, which saw an increase in the tax refund to 10 per cent of the purchase price of a new property up to a maximum of €30,000, are also extended. This comes at estimated annual cost of €43 million to the Exchequer.

Stamp Duty Residential Development Refund Scheme

The scheme was introduced in Finance Act 2017 and provides for a refund of a portion of the Stamp Duty paid on the acquisition of non-residential land where that land is subsequently developed for residential purposes. It brings the effective Stamp Duty rate down to a minimum of 2 per cent.

In his speech, the Minister for Finance announced that because of the impact COVID-19 has had on the sector, the scheme which was due to expire on 31 December 2021 will be extended to operations commenced by 31 December 2022. The time allowed between commencement and completion of a qualifying project is also being extended from two years (24 months) to two-and-a-half years (30 months). Therefore, the last possible completion date will be 30 June 2025.