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Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP)

22 July, 2019

SARP is a relief from income tax aimed at employees who move to Ireland with their employer (or an associated company).

The relief operates by allowing a 30% deduction from any employment

income in excess of €75,000. For employers who operate tax equalised models, SARP reduces the cost of moving executives to Ireland.  The relief applies to those arriving to work in Ireland up to the end of 2020. It can then be claimed for five consecutive years.

How does SARP operate?

The relief operates by allowing a 30% deduction from any employment income in excess of €75,000. For 2019, the relief was subject to an income cap of €1,000,000 for new claimants. Existing claimants were not subject to the income cap in 2019, but instead the cap applies from 2020.  

The relief covers both core and non core remuneration, e.g. base salary and allowances, bonuses, benefits in kind and share based remuneration. It is available to individuals on local Irish employment contracts or individuals remaining on overseas contracts.

Relief may be claimed either up front via payroll deductions (if the company wishes to facilitate this) or after the end of the year via a tax return.  Irish domiciled individuals may qualify for the relief provided the conditions are fulfilled.

What are the key qualifying conditions for SARP?

The individual must:

  • have a base salary of at least €75,000;
  • be a full-time employee of a company tax resident in a country with which Ireland has a Double Taxation Agreement (or Information Exchange Agreement) for 6 months immediately prior to arrival;
  • become tax resident in Ireland and arrive in Ireland to perform duties for their employer or an associated company of their employer (relief does not apply to organisational “new hires”);
  • not have been tax resident in Ireland for the five years immediately preceding the year of arrival; and
  • have made an application to Revenue within 90 days of arrival.  This is a critical step.

Example

A qualifying individual earns €250,000 base salary and has other employment earnings (e.g. bonus, shares) that are taxable in Ireland of €400,000.

The relief operates as follows:

(€650,000 - €75,000) * 30% = €172,500

Total employment earnings:

 

 €650,000

Less relief:

 

-€172,500

Taxable income under SARP:

 

 €477,500

The overall value of the relief is the amount of the relief calculated at the assignee’s marginal income tax rate:
€172,500 * 40% = €69,000

Note:  the relief is only from income tax. PRSI and USC charges will not be relieved under SARP.

What other benefits are available?

Where SARP is claimed, the individual can also receive the following benefits from his/her employer free of income tax, USC and PRSI:

  1. One “home leave” trip per year for the individual and his/her family.
  2. School fees in Ireland of up to €5,000 per child, per annum.

What are the reporting requirements?

Employee: 

  • Form 11 self-assessment tax return (by 31 October post year end)

Employer: 

  • SARP1a application form (within 90 days of the employee’s arrival to Ireland)
  • SARP employer return (due by 23 February post year end)

If you have any further queries about how your organisation can benefit from SARP, get in contact with one of our experts below and we will be happy to assist you.

Contact us

Pat Mahon

Partner, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

Tel: +353 86 172 6745

Doone O'Doherty

Partner, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

Tel: +353 87 276 8112

Mary O'Hara

Partner, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

Tel: +353 1 792 6215

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