Capital Acquisitions Tax

In April, our legal partner updated our readers on the Companies Act 2014. This September, with the upcoming budget now firmly in tax payers and practioners minds, there is much talk about Capital Acquisition Tax and specifically the various thresholds that apply. Casey & Co Accountants, give an overview of this ‘tax head’ and the regulations that apply. Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) is a tax on gifts and inheritances. The following is a summary of the method of assessment to CAT:

Taxable Inheritance

A taxable inheritance arises in any of the following situations:

  • The disponer is resident or ordinarily resident in Ireland at the date of the disposition
  • The successor is Irish resident or ordinarily resident at the date of the inheritance
  • The property is located in Ireland at the date of the inheritance

Taxable Gift

A taxable gift arises in any of the following situations:

  • The disponer is resident or ordinarily resident in Ireland at the date of the disposition (not applicable to gifts under a Discretionary Trust)
  • Where a gift is taken under a Discretionary Trust, the disponer is resident or ordinarily resident in Ireland at the date of the disposition or the date of death (if the gift is taken after the death of the disponer)
  • The beneficiary is resident or ordinarily resident in Ireland at the date of the gift.
  • Provided the settlor or beneficiary is not Irish domiciled, he is not deemed to be resident until after 1 December 2004 and then only if he has been resident in Ireland for 5 consecutive years of assessment immediately before the year of assessment in which the gift is received and is also resident at the date of the gift.
Gifts/inheritances taken on or after 5 December 1991 are aggregated with later gifts/inheritances in order to arrive at the current tax payable. Only gifts/inheritances within the same group are to be aggregated. Accounts

Thresholds for CAT

The following maximum tax-free thresholds apply for gifts and inheritances:
Relationship to Disponer
Group Threshold from 8/4/2009 to 31/12/2009
Group Threshold from 1/1/2010 to 7/12/2010
Group Threshold from 8/12/2010 to 31/12/2010
Group Threshold from 1/1/2011 to 6/12/2011
Group Threshold from 7/12/2011 to 5/12/2012
Group Threshold from 6/12/2012
Relationship other than
Group A or B
*In certain circumstances a parent taking an inheritance from a child can qualify for Group A threshold. Group 1This threshold applies where the donee or successor is a child, minor child of a deceased child of the disponer, a foster child of the disponer subject to certain conditions, or a spouse of a deceased child. It also applies to inheritances taken by a parent from a deceased child, subject to certain conditions. Certain inheritances taken by a parent from a child may be totally exempt. Group 2 This threshold applies where a donee or successor is a lineal ancestor, lineal descendant (other than a child or minor child of a deceased child), a brother, sister, or a child of a brother or sister of the disponer. Group 3 This applies where the donee or successor is not related as outlined in either of the previous classes.


A rate of 33% (25% prior to 7 December 2011) applies to all gifts/inheritances. This rate applies to the amount of gift or inheritance in excess of the tax-free threshold.
Inheritances Gifts
Threshold amount 0% 0%
Excess over threshold amount 33% 33%

Main Exemptions and Reliefs

The following exemptions and reliefs apply:
  • Inheritances and gifts between husband and wife are exempt.
  • Transfers of property by virtue of an order under the Family Law Acts 1995 or 1996.
  • The first €3,000 of gifts from each disponer taken in a calendar year.
  • Gifts or legacies applied for public or charitable purposes.
  • Normal and reasonable payments received in the disponer’s lifetime by family members for support, maintenance or education or by a dependent relative for support or maintenance.
  • Life assurance policies (Section 60 policies) designed for the payment of CAT and used for this purpose within one year of the death of the Insured person. Any excess proceeds may be taxable.
  • Dwelling houses, which are the only or main residence of the beneficiary (subject to certain conditions).
  • Business Property Relief
  • Agricultural relief

Private Residence Relief

Private Residence Relief

The gift/inheritance of a private dwelling house is exempt from CAT provided:
  • The beneficiary has continuously lived in the house as his only or main residence for 3 years prior to the date of the gift/inheritance.
  • At the date of the gift/inheritance, the beneficiary is not beneficially entitled to any other dwelling house or to any interest in another dwelling house.
  • If the beneficiary is under 55, he must either continue to live in the house for 6 years after the date of the gift/inheritance or in the event of sale, invest the proceeds of sale in another dwelling which will be his only or main residence, to avoid a claw back.
The relief is restricted in the case of gifts. Relief will not be available where the property was the disponer’s only or main residence during the three year period prior to the gift, there is an exception in the case where the disponer resides there due to old age or infirmity and relies on the services of the beneficiary. There is also a restriction to properties owned by the disponer for the three year period prior to making the gift, this avoids situations whereby a parent buys property owned and occupied by a child and then gifts it back to the child. The following is worth bearing in mind;
  • It is not necessary for individuals to be related in order to avail of this relief.
  • If a person has an interest in another residential property it may, depending on circumstances be worth divesting yourself of this interest prior to receiving the gift.

Business Property Relief

Business Property Relief

The value of business assets is reduced for a gift/inheritance of relevant business property by 90% subject to a number of qualifications. The relevant business property must have been owned by the disponer, or his/her spouse for at least five years prior to the transfer in the case of a gift or two years in the case of an inheritance. The asset must remain in the business for at least six years to avoid a claw-back of the CAT relief. Business property relief also applies to a gift or inheritance of shares in a holding company that holds shares in one or more companies controlled by the beneficiary and his/her relatives, nominees or trustees. A claw back of the relief will apply where the full proceeds from the disposal or compulsory acquisition are not fully expended within one year in the case of a disposal or within six years in the case of a compulsory acquisition made after 25 March 2002. Where there is a disposal of land which qualified for agricultural relief or business asset relief in the period commencing six years after the date of the gift or inheritance and ending ten years after that date, there will be a claw back of the relief by reference to the development value of the land at the date of the gift or inheritance. Again the following is worth bearing in mind Agricultural property may qualify for Business Relief where it fails to qualify for Agricultural Relief. It is not necessary for the business to be carried out in the State or for the property to be situated in the State for the relief to apply.

Payment and Compliance

There is a new Pay and File system (outlined below) which requires returns to be filed via ROS where reliefs and exemptions (other than a small gift exemption) are being claimed by the beneficiary. Valuation Date                           Return Filing and Payment Deadline 1 January – 31 August                  31 October in the same year (previously 30 September) 1 September – 31 December       31 October in the following year (previously 30 September)

Interest Payments/Repayments

Interest on outstanding tax will be computed from 1st October each year. There is a four year time limit for claiming repayments of overpaid tax, including the overpayment of probate tax; the four year period runs from the date of payment of the tax where the tax has been paid on time or from the valuation date where the tax has been paid late. Surcharge for Late Returns
  • Filed within 2 months of due date 5% (maximum €12,695)
  • Filed after 2 months of due date     10% (maximum €63,485)

Surcharge for Understatement

A surcharge applies to discourage understatement of asset values in self-assessment returns. The surcharge is: (a)  10% if the declared market value was between 50% and 66% of the true value, (b)  20% if the declared market value was between 40% and 49% of the true value, (c)   30% if the declared market value was less than 39% of the true value.

Joint Account Limits

The amount that can be held in a joint account, which can be released to the survivor of a deceased person without prior Revenue approval, is €50,000

Record Retention

Records must be maintained for a period of 6 years commencing on the valuation date of the gift or inheritance. Solicitors are liable for the CAT of beneficiaries in cases of probate on which they act. Contact Casey & Co Accountants for further information +353 (0) 66 712 4439.  


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