Tax residency exemption for some non-domiciled clients

16 April 2021


With the pandemic clients may end up living here where they didn’t’ expect it. This does cause a difficulty from a inheritance tax perspective. That is because one of the trigger points for CAT is ordinary residence. You are ordinary resident in Ireland if you live here for 183 days in a tax year or 280 days in aggregate in that tax year and the preceding tax year. So if you have, for example English clients and they are spending extended periods here, it could well be the case that they could come ordinary resident in Ireland for CAT. This means that their worldwide assets would be subject to Irish CAT. Might be the unintended consequence of the pandemic for some of your clients.

A couple of points:

  1. Irish situs assets (eg real property, Irish bank accounts) will always be subject to Irish CAT in any event.
  2. There is an exemption for non-Irish property in respect of foreign domiciled individuals. This is under s. 6(4) and 11(4) of CATCA 2003. This provision provides that non-domiciled persons even if they are ordinary resident in Ireland, will only be treated as ordinarily resident unless they have been resident in the State for five consecutive years of assessment preceding the year of assessment in which that date falls.

So the beneficiaries of your English client’s estate (outside of Ireland) will not be subject to Irish CAT just because your English client dies in Ireland while they were living here temporarily.

It should be noted that this only applies to non-domiciled clients. So, it becomes more complicated if we take a recent case of mine. I was dealing with a client, who was born in Ireland, moved over to the UK in his teens and lived there all his life. He comes back to the family home every so often and is now minded by his English daughter at home in Ireland, but intends to move to the UK once the restrictions are lifted and fully vaccinated. He may or may not have acquired English domicile or he may continue to have his domicile of origin (eg Ireland). If he is deemed to have retained his Irish domicile then his non Irish estate will be caught for CAT if he dies in Ireland.

Just something to watch out for as I know we all have foreign clients now living here.