Do foreign gifts aggregate?

16 July 2021


It’s summer and some of you are thinking of holidays. As a qualified professional you carefully curate your presents for staff in the office when coming back from holidays and would never think of grabbing in the duty free a box of inedible toffee and a lighter that plays the Macarena.

But thinking of foreign gifts got me reflecting on the issue of prior gifts and how they interact with non-resident beneficiaries.

As you know, you should obtain details of a beneficiary’s prior gifts to see whether or not they received any gifts or inheritances over €3000 from any person from the 5th of December 1991. Gifts or inheritances prior to that date do not aggregate. While this is clear for Irish beneficiaries, what is the position for foreign beneficiaries? Do they also need to disclose prior gifts? Well yes and no. The rule is, it is that only taxable benefits aggregate. Whether a benefit is taxable depends on two dates. Those prior to 1 December 1999 and those after 1 December 1999.

In relation to gifts/inheritances taken under a disposition prior to 1 December 1999 it is a taxable benefit if:-

  1. The disponer was domiciled in Ireland at the time of the gift/inheritance
  2. The property was Irish

In relation to gifts/inheritances after 1 December 1999, a benefit is taxable if:-

  1. The Disponer is resident/ordinarily resident in Ireland at the date of the gift/inheritance
  2. The done/successor is resident or ordinarily resident at the date of the benefit
  3. It is Irish property

So, if you are acting for Charles, the beneficiary of an Irish estate who has resided in England all his life and prior to coming to you he has received a house in Devon from his uncle in France, then, it does not aggregate with any Irish gifts. But if the Uncle was living in Ireland when he gifted the house to Charles, then it would aggregate. So an important issue to watch out for in prior gifts.