Our landlady lives in Spain and we pay rent into her bank account. Is it true that we need to collect the tax she is liable for?
Yes, if you pay rent directly to a landlord (or landlady) who lives abroad, you must deduct tax from the rent and account for it to Revenue, whether by paying it to Revenue or by reducing your tax credits. You deduct the tax at the standard rate (20% at present) from the gross amount of rent that you pay. This deduction is not your tax relief – it is tax payable to Revenue from your landlady's income.
Say, for example, you pay gross monthly rent of €1,500 directly to your landlady. The amount of tax to deduct is 20% of €1,500, which is €300. Subtract this from the gross rent to get net monthly rent of €1,200. You pay this to your landlady. The amount due to Revenue is the €300 per month that you deducted. (The situation is different for a tenant who pays rent through an agent to a landlord living abroad. In this situation, you do not deduct tax from the rent. The landlord’s collection agent must account for it in an annual tax return.)
You must account to Revenue for the tax that you deduct from the gross rent. If you fail to deduct the tax and account for it, this will mean that you (not your landlady) will be liable for any tax that should have been deducted.
If you pay tax under PAYE, you can account for it by reducing your tax credits and Standard Rate Cut-Off Point. You can notify your local Revenue Office and ask them to arrange this. Alternatively, you can make a tax return on Form 12 (pdf) and pay the retained amount to Revenue.
If you pay tax under self-assessment, you should include the details of your rent with your annual return on Form 11 (pdf). A notice of assessment will then issue to you, showing your reduced tax credits.
At the end of the year you must give your landlady a completed Certificate of Income Tax Deducted - Form R185 (pdf).
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.
Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000