Exemptions and Reliefs from the charge to Stamp Duty

  1. Introduction
  2. If the instrument is exempt do I need to file a return?
  3. Can I claim the exemption or relief at a later date?
  4. Can the relief be clawed back?
  5. Must I keep records?
  6. Exemptions and Reliefs contained in Part 7 of the SDCA
  7. Consanguinity relief
  8. Spouses/Civil Partners/Cohabitants FAQs

1. Introduction

Stamp duty is a duty charged on certain written documents (known as "instruments"). Not every instrument is liable to stamp duty. To be liable an instrument must be listed under one of the Headings in Schedule 1 to the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999 (SDCA). It must also be executed in Ireland or, if executed outside Ireland, it must relate to property situated within Ireland or something done or to be done in Ireland.

Though chargeable to stamp duty, certain instruments are exempted or relieved from the charge or bear a reduced amount of duty.

Exemptions and reliefs from stamp duty may be either general or specific. If the exemption or relief is general then the instrument is not liable to duty under any Heading in Schedule 1. A specific exemption or relief, on the other hand, relates only to a particular Heading in Schedule 1. This means that if the instrument is liable under another Heading it will be chargeable under that other Heading.

In addition to the various exemptions and reliefs from stamp duty contained in Part 7 of the SDCA – see section 6 - exemptions and reliefs are also to be found -

  • under the following Headings in Schedule 1 of the SDCA (these are specific exemptions):
    • "Bill of Exchange"
    • "Conveyance or Transfer on sale of any stocks or marketable securities";
    • "Lease" (paragraph (1)); and
    • "Conveyance or Transfer on sale of any property other than stocks or marketable securities or a policy of insurance or a policy of life insurance" (paragraph (5)). This relief, which is referred to as "consanguinity relief", applies to certain transfers of property between related persons – see Section 7.
  • in sections 31(3), 31B(5), 36, 39(2), 42(3), 43, 52(1), 73, 75, 75A and 146(3) of the SDCA; and
  • in miscellaneous Acts.

Whether contained in the SDCA as enacted on 15/12/1999 or provided for by other enactments, many of the exemptions and reliefs have been amended since first enactment. It is necessary to have regard to the particular wording of the exemption or relief that applies/applied at the time the instrument is being/was executed. For more information see Legislation.

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2. If the instrument is exempt do I need to file a return?

For instruments executed on or after 7 July 2012, Regulation 4 and Schedule 1 of the Stamp Duty (e-Stamping of Instruments and Self-Assessment) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 234 of 2012) provide that a stamp duty return must be filed under the e-stamping system-

  1. in the case of an instrument chargeable to stamp duty under the SDCA but which qualifies for an exemption or relief under Chapter 1 (i.e. sections 79 to 83C) of Part 7 of the SDCA;
  2. in the case of an instrument chargeable to stamp duty under the SDCA or any other enactment but which qualifies from an exemption or exclusion only if the instrument is one of those listed at i. to iv. and is not an instrument to which 3 applies:
  3. a stamp duty return should not be filed in the case of any of the following instruments:

For instruments executed before 7 July 2012, Regulation 5 and Schedule 1 of the Stamp Duty (e-Stamping of Instruments) Regulations 2009 (S.I. No. 476 of 2009) provide that a stamp duty return must be filed under the e-stamping system-

  1. in the case of an instrument chargeable to stamp duty under the SDCA or any other enactment but which qualifies from an exemption or exclusion and which-
    1. is an instrument which is required to be adjudicated (see Chapter 1 (i.e. sections 79 to 83C) of Part 7 of the SDCA), or
    2. not being an instrument which is required to be adjudicated or an instrument to which 2. applies, is an instrument listed at i. to iv.:
  2. a stamp duty return should not be filed in the case of any of the following instruments:

In addition, in accordance with S.I. No. 476 of 2009, a return must be filed for an instrument executed before 30 December 2009 which was chargeable to stamp duty under the SDCA, under any enactment in force before the enactment of the SDCA or under any other enactment but which qualified for an exemption or exclusion and was required to be adjudicated, or where adjudication did not apply, was required to be stamped with a particulars delivered stamp and that requirement had not been complied with before 30 December 2009.

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3. Can I claim the exemption or relief at a later date?

Section 81AA (Transfers to Young Trained Farmers) contains a number of provisions which, in effect, enable the relief from stamp duty to be claimed after the instrument has been executed. For more information see pdfLeaflet SD2B (PDF, 169KB).

4. Can the relief be clawed back?

Some exemptions and reliefs, i.e. those indicated with an * in Section 6 and consanguinity relief, are subject to clawback. For more information see: Clawbacks.

5. Must I keep records?

Every accountable person is required to retain, or cause to be retained on his or her behalf, records that would enable a claim to a relief or an exemption under any provision of the SDCA to be substantiated. Such records must be retained for a period of 6 years commencing on the later of –

  • the date the return was delivered to Revenue, or
  • the date that the duty was paid to Revenue.

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6. Exemptions and Reliefs contained in Part 7 of the SDCA

Guide to interpretation of the table:

  • No date is included in Column "Applicable only to instruments executed on or after" for exemptions and reliefs which are still in effect and which were contained in the SDCA as enacted on 15/12/1999.
  • A date is included in Column "Applicable only to instruments executed on or after" for exemptions and reliefs which are still in effect and which were inserted into the SDCA as enacted on 15/12/1999 by subsequent Finance Acts.

Exemptions and Reliefs contained in Part 7 of the SDCA
Part 7 of SDCA Exemption or Relief
(All past and current exemptions and reliefs are listed. Exemptions and reliefs still in effect are in bold type. All reliefs subject to clawback are marked with an *.)
In effect Applicable only to instruments executed on or after Applicable only to instruments executed before
A Chapter 1
Section 79* Conveyances and transfers of property between certain bodies corporate Yes
Section 80* Certain company reconstructions and amalgamations Yes
Section 80A* Demutualisations of assurance companies Yes 31/3/2006
Section 81* Young trained farmers No 25/3/2004
Section 81A* Young trained farmers No 25/3/2004 2/4/2007
Section 81AA * Young trained farmers - see pdfLeaflet SD2B (PDF, 169KB) for more information Yes 2/4/2007 31/12/2018
Section 81B* Farm consolidation relief No 1/7/2005 30/6/2007
Section 81C* Further farm consolidation relief No 1/7/2007 30/6/2011
Section 81D Relief for certain leases of farmland.  This commencement order to be made by the Minister for Finance has not yet been made. Not yet
Section 82 Charities - conveyance/transfer/lease of land Yes
Section 82A Donations to approved bodies Yes 31/3/2006
Section 82B* Approved Sports Bodies – conveyance/transfer/lease of land by an approved sports body Yes 7/12/2006
Section 82C Pension schemes and charities Yes 8/2/2012
Section 83 Instruments given by means of security to company by subsidiary No 7/12/2006
Section 83A Transfers of site to child No 6/12/2000 8/12/2010
Section 83B Certain family farm transfers Yes 2/4/2007
Section 83C* Exchange of houses 7/5/2009 31/12/2010
B Chapter 2
Section 84 See Refunds
Section 85 Certain loan capital and securities Yes
Section 85A Certain investment certificates Yes 3/4/2010
Section 86 Certain loan stock Yes
Section 86A Enterprise Securities Market.  This commencement order to be made by the Minister for Finance has not yet been made. Not yet
Section 87* Stock borrowing Yes
Section 87A* Stock repo Yes
Section 87B Merger of companies Yes 31/3/2012
Section 88 Certain stocks and marketable securities Yes
Section 88A Reorganisation of undertakings for collective investment Yes 23/3/2000
Section 88B Funds: reorganisation Yes 31/3/2006
Section 88C Reconstructions or amalgamations of certain common contractual funds Yes 31/3/2006
Section 88D Reconstructions or amalgamations of certain investment undertakings Yes 13/3/2008
Section 88E Transfer of assets within unit trusts Yes 3/4/2010
Section 88F Reconstruction or amalgamation of offshore funds Yes 31/3/2012 
Section 88G Amalgamation of unit trusts Yes 31/3/2012
Section 89 Foreign Government securities Yes
Section 90 Certain financial services instruments Yes
Section 90A Greenhouse gas emissions allowance Yes 5/12/2007
Section 91* New dwelling houses and apartments with floor area certificate No 1/4/2004
Section 91A* New dwelling houses and apartments with floor area compliance certificate No 1/4/2004 8/12/2010
Section 92* New dwelling houses and apartments with no floor area compliance certificate No 8/12/2010
Section 92A* Residential property owner occupier relief No 15/6/2000 6/12/2001
Section 92B* Residential property first time purchaser relief No 15/6/2000 8/12/2010
Section 92C Residential property investor relief No 27/2/2001 6/12/2001
Section 93 Houses acquired from industrial and provident societies Yes
Section 93A Approved voluntary body Yes 15/2/2001
Section 94 Purchase of land from Land Commission Yes
Section 95 Commercial woodlands - duty not chargeable on the value of the trees growing on the land Yes
Section 96 Transfers between spouses/civil partners Yes
Section 97 Certain transfers following the dissolution of a Marriage/Civil Partnership Yes
Section 97A Transfer of property between co-habitants Yes 1/1/2011
Section 98 Foreign immovable property Yes
Section 99 Dublin Docklands Development Authority Yes
Section 99A Courts Service Yes 31/3/2006
Section 99B Sport Ireland.  This exemption was provided for in the Sport Ireland Act 2015.   Yes 1/10/2015
Section 100 Temple Bar Properties Limited Yes
Section 101 Intellectual property Yes 1/4/2004
Section 101A Single Farm Payment entitlement Yes 1/1/2005
Section 102 The Alfred Beit Foundation Yes
Section 103 Shared ownership leases Yes
Section 104 Licences and leases granted under Petroleum and Other Mineral Development Act, 1960, etc Yes
Section 105 Securitisation agreements Yes
Section 106 Housing Finance Agency Yes
Section 106A Housing Finance Agency Limited Yes 26/1/2001
Section 106B Housing Authorities and Affordable Homes Partnership Yes 13/3/2008/
1/4/2011
Section 106C Grangegorman Development Agency Yes 31/3/2012
Section 107 Certain mortgages of stock No 7/12/2006
Section 108 National Treasury Management Agency No 23/12/2014
Section 108A* National Development Finance Agency, etc Yes 1/1/2003 27/1/2015
Section 108AA Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland Yes 28/7/14
Section 108B National Asset Management Agency Yes 21/12/2009
Section 108C Ireland Strategic Investment Fund Yes 22/12/14
Section 109 Certain instruments made in anticipation of a formal insurance policy Yes
Section 110 Certain Health Insurance Contracts Yes
Section 110A Certain policies of insurance Yes 1/1/2001
Section 111 Oireachtas Funds Yes
Section 112 Certificates of indebtedness, etc Yes
Section 113 Miscellaneous instruments Yes

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7. Consanguinity relief

(a) Non-residential property

Consanguinity relief no longer applies to conveyances or transfers, whether on sale or by gift, of non-residential property other than land, between related persons where the instrument is executed on or after 1/1/2015.

In the case of land, consanguinity relief continues to apply to instruments executed -

  • on or after 1/1/2015 and before 1/1/2016 in respect of transfers or conveyances of land by a person of any age, and
  • on or after 1/1/2016 and before 1/1/2018 in relation to transfers or conveyances of land but only where the individual transferring/conveying the land has not reached the age of 67 at the date of conveyance/transfer. Where a single instrument is used to convey or transfer land by co-owners, all the co-owners must be under 67. However, it may be open for co-owners to transfer their respective shares separately to the transferee. In these circumstances, the instrument transferring the share of the co-owner who is under 67 would qualify for relief, subject to all the other conditions set out below being met.

The individual to whom the land is conveyed or transferred must, from the date of execution of the conveyance or transfer –

  • farm the land for a period of not less than 6 years, or
  • lease it for a period of not less than 6 years to an individual who will farm the land.

Revenue accepts that the relief is available where the land is leased to a partnership or to a company (whose main shareholder and working director farms the land on behalf of the company). Where land is leased to a company that is owned equally by an individual and that individual's spouse or civil partner, and at least one of them satisfies the working director and the farming requirements, the relief will apply.

The person who farms the land (including the partners or working director in the case of a company) must -

  1. be the holder of (or, within a period of 4 years from the date of the conveyance or transfer, become the holder of) a qualification set out in Schedule 2, 2A or 2B to the SCDA, or
  2. spend not less than 50% of the individual's normal working time farming land (including the land conveyed or transferred).

Where the land is leased, the person to whom the land is leased must -

  1. be the holder of (or, within a period of 4 years from the date of the conveyance or transfer, become the holder of) a qualification set out in Schedule 2, 2A or 2B to the SCDA, or
  2. spend not less than 50% of the individual's normal working time farming land (including the land conveyed or transferred).

The land must be farmed on a commercial basis and with a view to the realisation of profits from that land.

Revenue accepts for the purpose of the relief that "normal working time" including on-farm and off-farm working time approximates to 40 hours per week. This will enable farmers with off-farm employment to qualify for the relief provided they spend a minimum average of 20 hours per week working on the farm. Where the individual can show that their “normal working time” is somewhat less than 40 hours a week, then the 50% requirement will be applied to the actual hours worked – subject to the overriding requirement that the land is farmed on a commercial basis and with a view to the realisation of profits.

(b) Residential property

Consanguinity relief no longer applies to conveyances or transfers, whether on sale or by gift, of residential property to related persons executed on or after 8/12/2010.

(c) Related persons

For the purposes of consanguinity relief related persons are:

  • lineal descendant (child, grandchild, etc)
  • parent
  • grandparent
  • step-parent
  • husband or wife (see section 96 of the SDCA)
  • uncle
  • aunt
  • brother
  • sister
  • lineal descendent of a parent (step-brother or step- sister)
  • lineal descendent of a husband (step-child)
  • lineal descendent of a wife (step-child)
  • lineal descendent of a brother (nephew or niece)
  • lineal descendent of a sister (nephew or niece)
  • in the case of instruments executed on or after 7/12/2011 as respect the person or each of the persons listed above:
    • his or her civil partner (see section 96 of the SDCA)
    • the civil partner of either his or her parents
    • a lineal descendent of his or her civil partner
  • in the case of conveyances or transfers of land, an adopted child (see section 27 of the Adoption Act, 1952 and section 45 of the Finance Act, 1972 (as amended by section 214 of the Finance Act, 1992))
  • in the case of conveyances or transfers executed on or after 31/3/2006, a lineal descendant includes a child, being a transferee, who, prior to the date of execution of the instrument in respect of which relief from duty is claimed, has resided with, was under the care of, and was maintained at the expense of the transferor throughout a period of 5 years or periods which together comprised at least 5 years prior to that person reaching 18 years of age but only if the claim for relief is not based on the uncorroborated testimony of one witness
  • in the case of conveyances or transfers of land, a person who was 21 years of age or more on 1/1/1953 and who meets the criteria set out in section 39 of the Finance Act, 1960 e.g. a person who from the age of 7 was cared for and maintained by a married couple other than his or her parents at their own expense.

With effect for all instruments executed on or after 14/1/1988, section 74 of the Finance Act, 1988 (now section 8 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997) provides that any relationship between persons is to be construed in accordance with section 3 of the Status of Children Act, 1987. Section 3 provides that the relationship between every person and his father or mother (or either of them) will, unless the contrary intention appears, be determined irrespective of whether his father or mother are or have been married to each other, and all other relationships will be determined accordingly. Section 3 also protects the position of an adopted person by deeming him or her to be, from the date of the adoption, the child of the adopter or adopters and not the child of any other person or persons.

The person becoming entitled to the entire beneficial interest (or each such person if there is more than one) of the property being conveyed or transferred must be related to the person (or each of the persons if there is more than one) previously so entitled in one of the above ways (i.e. if there is more than one vendor/transferor and/or more than one purchaser/transferee then each vendor/transferor must be "related" to each purchaser/transferee).

(d) Quantum of the relief

The relief applies a rate of stamp duty which is half the rate of ad valorem stamp duty which would otherwise apply to the conveyance or transfer.

(e) Certificates and Adjudication

The conditions that the instrument had to contain the relevant certificate and be adjudicated were abolished for instruments executed on or after 7/7/2012.

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8. Spouses/civil partners/cohabitants - FAQs

Transfers between spouses/civil partners (Section 96 SDCA)

I want to transfer the family home into my spouse’s/civil partner’s name. What’s the position regarding stamp duty?

Transfers of property between spouses and civil partners are exempt from stamp duty.

Example

John and Mary married in 2015.  The family home is in Mary’s name.

They decide to transfer the family home (worth €300,000) into both their names.

The Deed transferring the family home is exempt from stamp duty.

Because the Deed creates a joint tenancy between spouses, a stamp duty return should not be filed.

I want to transfer property other than the family home into my spouse’s/civil partner’s name. What’s the position regarding stamp duty?

Transfers of property between spouses and civil partners are exempt from stamp duty.

Example

John and Mary married in 2015.  The premises in which they conduct their business is in John’s name.

They decide to transfer the business premises into both their names.

The Deed transferring the business premises is exempt from stamp duty.

A stamp duty return should be filed and the exemption may be claimed on the return.

My husband and I have separated. We have agreed to transfer the family home into my sole name. Am I liable to stamp duty?

No. The exemption applies to spouses who have separated in the same way as it applies to spouses who live together.

Does the exemption apply to all transfers?

No.

The exemption does not apply where a third person is involved.

Example 1

John and Mary married in 2015.  John owned an investment property (worth €300,000) and he decided to transfer ownership to Mary and Mary’s sister, Breda

The Deed transferring the investment property to Mary and Breda is not exempt because Breda is a party to the Deed.

A stamp duty return should be filed.

Stamp duty is chargeable on the value of the property, i.e. €300,000.

Example 2

John and Mary married in 2015.  The premises in which they conduct their business is in John’s name.

They decide to transfer the business premises (worth €350,000) to Mary to hold it in trust for (i.e. to hold it for the benefit of) Mary’s brother, Michael.

The Deed transferring the business premises to Mary is not exempt from stamp duty because the transfer is for Michael’s benefit.

A stamp duty return should be filed.

Stamp duty is chargeable on the value of the property, i.e. €350,000.

The exemption also does not apply where there is a subsale.

Example

Peter and John are civil partners.  John owns an apartment.  John agrees to sell his apartment to Tom.   No Deed is drawn up to transfer the apartment to Tom.  Tom agrees to sell on the property to Peter.  A Deed is drawn up to transfer the property from John, the original seller, direct to Peter, the sub-purchaser.

The Deed transferring the apartment to Peter is not exempt from stamp duty because of the sub-sale by Tom to Peter.

A stamp duty return should be filed.

I qualified for Young Trained Farmer relief. Will I lose the relief if I transfer the land into the joint names of myself and my spouse/civil partner?

If the land is transferred into the joint ownership of spouses or civil partners, the Young Trained Farmer relief is not lost.

More information on the relief is available in pdfLeaflet SD2B. (PDF, 169KB)

Transfers between former spouses (Section 97 SDCA)

My wife and I have divorced. Is there a liability to stamp duty if I transfer the family home to her?

If the property is transferred on foot of -

  • a relief order within the meaning of section 23 of the Family Law Act, 1995, or
  • an order under Part III of the Family Law (Divorce) Act, 1996, or
  • a foreign court order or similar, made on or after 10 February 2000, under or in consequence of the dissolution of a marriage where the dissolution is entitled to be recognised as valid in Ireland,

the document transferring the property will be exempt from stamp duty.

If the property is not transferred on foot of one of the orders listed above, stamp duty is chargeable on the document transferring the property.

A stamp duty return should be filed. Where it applies, the exemption may be claimed on the return.

Does the exemption apply to all transfers?

No.

The exemption does not apply if a third person is involved.

Example

John and Mary divorced in 2016.  After the divorce John decided to transfer ownership of the house (worth €500,000) that he and Mary had lived in during their marriage to Mary and Mary’s sister, Breda.  A Deed was drawn up transferring the house to Mary and Breda.

The exemption does not apply because Breda is a party to the Deed transferring the property.

A stamp duty return should be filed.

Stamp duty is chargeable on the value of the property, i.e. €500,000.

Transfers between former civil partners (Section 97 SDCA)

Our civil partnership has ended. Is there a liability to stamp duty if I transfer the family home to my former partner?

Where a civil partnership has been dissolved or annulled, the transfer of property on foot of -

  • an order under Part 12 of the Civil Partnership and certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, or
  • a foreign court order or similar, made on or after 10 February 2000, under or in consequence of the dissolution of a civil partnership where the dissolution is entitled to be recognised as valid in Ireland,

the document transferring the property is exempt from stamp duty.

If the property is not transferred on foot of one of the orders listed above, stamp duty is chargeable on the document transferring the property.

A stamp duty return should be filed. Where it applies, the exemption may be claimed on the return.

Does the exemption apply to all transfers?

No.

The exemption does not apply if a third person is involved.

Example

John and James dissolved their civil partnership in 2016.  After the dissolution John decided to transfer ownership of the house that he and James had lived in during their partnership to James and James’s sister, Breda.  A Deed was drawn up transferring the house to James and Breda.

The exemption does not apply because Breda is a party to the deed of transfer.

A stamp duty return should be filed.

Transfers between cohabitants (Section 97A SDCA)

I want to transfer the family farm into the names of myself and my cohabitant. Am I liable to stamp duty?

If the property is transferred on foot of an order under section 174 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights of Cohabitants Act 2010, the document transferring the property is exempt from stamp duty.

If the property is not transferred on foot of such an order, stamp duty is chargeable on the document transferring the property.

A stamp duty return should be filed. Where it applies, the exemption may be claimed on the return.

Are all transfers exempt?

The exemption does not apply if a third person is involved.

Example

Peter and Joan are co-habitants.  Peter owned an investment property (worth €150,000) and he decided to transfer ownership to Joan and Joan’s sister, Mary.  A deed of transfer was drawn up reciting Joan and Mary as the transferees.

The exemption is not applicable because Mary is a party to the deed of transfer.

A stamp duty return should be filed.

Stamp duty is chargeable on the value of the property, i.e. €150,000.


This document is intended for guidance only. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the content, it does not purport to be a legal interpretation of the relevant provisions and has no binding in law. Responsibility cannot be accepted for any liability incurred or loss suffered as a consequence of relying on any matter published herein.

Issued by the National Stamp Duty Office - November 2016


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