Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (154)

Holly Cairns

Question:

154. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Finance the reason persons (details supplied) do not qualify for the first-time buyer's help-to-buy scheme; if other grants are available to them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2682/21]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Help to Buy (HTB) incentive, is a scheme to assist first-time purchasers with the deposit they need 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 Ireland over the previous four years, subject to limits outlined in the legislation.

In addition to the conditions laid down in section 477C Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA), including that the property is occupied as the sole or main residence of a first time purchaser, section 477C(1) defines a ‘qualifying residence’. The legislation is very specific as to the definition of a qualifying residence. It must be a new building which was not, at any time, used or suitable for use as a dwelling. Renovation or refurbishment of old houses to either upgrade or reinstate them for habitation does not qualify for HTB. The previous dwelling must have been demolished and replaced as opposed to being extended/refurbished. In the circumstances where a house was previously used as a dwelling but knocked down and rebuilt, then it is “new”.

I am advised by Revenue that, based on the information outlined by the Deputy, it appears that, in this case, the applicants are renovating an old house, which would not be considered as “new” for the purposes of the HTB scheme and, accordingly, does not qualify for HTB.

The availability of direct expenditure measures, including grants, for first time buyers is not a matter that would fall within my direct remit.

Question No. 155 answered with Question No. 133.