How does gift and inheritance tax work?

If you receive a gift or inheritance you may have to pay tax on it. Here’s a closer look at how gifts and inheritance are taxed in Ireland.

What is gift and inheritance tax?

Gift and Inheritance tax, or Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) may be due on gifts and inheritances you receive. The amount owed is set by Irish Tax and Customs and is currently charged at 33%.

CAT is due on all inheritances, but you don’t need to pay CAT on gifts worth under €3,000 - this is called a Small Gift Exemption.

If someone gives you a gift and then passes away within two years, it is then considered to be an inheritance and the Small Gift Exemption doesn’t apply.

Are there any exemptions?

Yes, as well as the Small Gift Exemption several types of gifts and inheritances are exempt from CAT entirely, these include:

  • All gifts and inheritances from your spouse or civil partner
  • Any items exchanged following a court order during or after divorce proceedings
  • Payments to your children to support their education (until they turn 18, or 25 while in full time education)
  • Payments you make to support your children with a disability

You can check the full list of exemptions and explanations on the Revenue.ie website.

You also get an allowance for gifts and inheritance from certain relatives and family members. If this is below the threshold, you won’t have anything to pay.

There are three group thresholds, these are:

Threshold group Tax free allowance Who it includes
Group A €335,000* A son or daughter of the person giving the gift or inheritance
Group B €32,500 Other relatives, including parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews. Also includes other direct descents e.g. grandchildren.
Group C €16,250 Everyone else

*This increased from €320,000 on 9th October 2019.

These thresholds apply to all gifts and inheritances you receive in each group. If you’ve previously had a gift or inheritance, this will use some of your allowance from that group, for example:

Jane received a gift from her uncle in 2015 worth €22,500, leaving her with €10,000 of her Group B allowance. When she received an inheritance from her sister in 2019 worth €25,000, she would only have to pay CAT on €15,000, after using up what’s left of her Group B allowance.

What do you have to pay tax on?

You could have to pay tax on the following:

  • Cash
  • Property or land
  • Stocks and shares
  • Jewellery
  • A vehicle

You could also have to pay CAT if you are given an interest free loan or free use of a property for life.

How to pay

If you think you need to pay gift and inheritance tax you’ll need to complete a IT38 form or file a tax return online at Revenue.ie.

The deadline for any money you owe will depend on the valuation date of your gift or inheritance:

  • If it’s between 1st January and 31st August you will need to pay by 31st October that year
  • If it’s between 1st September and 31st December you’ll need to pay by 31st October the following year

If you’re registered for the standard Revenue Online Service you can choose to pay by either:

  • Single Debit Instruction
  • Credit or Debit card

If you don’t live in Ireland then you will need to pay by Electronic Funds Transfer.

You can find out more about how to pay your CAT online on the Revenue.ie website.

If you’re late paying there may be extra charges to pay and interest added to what you owe.

Gifts and Inheritance tax FAQs

Are farms exempt from inheritance tax?

No, but farms and other agricultural property can benefit from additional CAT relief depending on your circumstances. If you qualify, any land will be assessed at 10% of its value for CAT purposes which could significantly reduce what you have to pay. You can find out more on the Revenue.ie website.

How does favourite nephew relief work?

Favourite Nephew or Niece Relief allows your niece or nephew to be treated as your “child” for tax purposes. To qualify they must have worked for you for at least 5 years before the gift or inheritance is made. You can find out more about this relief on the Revenue.ie website.

What is a disclaimer of benefit?

This is where you are given a gift or inheritance and choose not to keep it. In these cases CAT isn’t due but the gift or inheritance must be returned. You can find out more about disclaiming on the Revenue.ie website.

What is powers of revocation?

This is where someone gives a gift of property but reserves the right to take it back at any time. In these circumstances CAT isn’t due. However, if you are given property under these terms CAT will become payable if the person giving the gift:

  • Gives up the right to take it back
  • Passes away and the gift becomes an inheritance.

You can find out more about powers of revocation on the Revenue.ie website.

What is the current gift and inheritance tax rate?

The current rate is set at 33%. You can check previous rates online at Revenue.ie.

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