The commencement date for the Help to Buy scheme of 19 July 2016 was chosen as it was the date of the launch of 'Rebuilding Ireland - Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness', in which the development of such a scheme for inclusion in the Budget was initially announced. The intention to backdate this tax incentive to this date was announced at that time with a view to avoiding any potential interruption in house sales, by purchasers who may otherwise have deferred purchases, pending the commencement of the incentive.
An estimate of the cost of the scheme for the period 19 July 2016 to 31 December 2016 is included in the overall estimated cost for the scheme in 2017, when the relevant payments in respect of this period are expected to be made. No estimate of the cost of a further backdating to 1 January has been completed as to extend eligibility for the scheme further back than the date of its initial announcement would consist entirely of deadweight. Individuals who purchased new homes since the start of the year did not need the assistance of the State to fund the required deposit. Such individuals made their purchasing decisions on the basis of the information available to them at the time of purchase, and could not have expected a subsequently introduced tax relief to also be available to them.
As with all time bound reliefs, there will always be those who just miss out on qualification. I do not intend to extend the parameters of this new measure any further as it would become less targeted and more costly.