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Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP)

The Special Assignee Relief Programme, or SARP, provides Income Tax relief to specific people who have been assigned from somewhere overseas to work in Ireland, find out about it in our detailed explanation

Written on 7 July 2022

The Special Assignee Relief Programme, or SARP, provides Income Tax relief to specific people who have been assigned from somewhere overseas to work in Ireland.

This relief can apply to all projects during any of the tax years between 2012 and 2022.

To receive this type of tax relief, you must have either been assigned to work in Ireland by a ‘relevant employer’ or by an associated company of a ‘relevant employer’.

It can also apply to returning workers who have been outside of Ireland for at least a total of five years and can in some cases provide continuous relief for five consecutive tax years.

What is the meaning of a ‘relevant employer/employee’?

The definition of a relevant employer is that it is both incorporated and tax resident within a country with which Ireland holds a double taxation agreement, or a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA).

In hand, a relevant employee must have been a full-time worker of the company for a minimum of 6 months, that will arrive in Ireland to perform their designated work duties for an associated company of the relevant employer.

Conditions for the Special Assignee Relief Programme to apply

Other criteria must be met in order for the SARP programme to apply, of which includes:

  • The employment carried out in Ireland by the relevant employee must be held for a consecutive period of 12 months
  • The relevant employee must not have been resident in Ireland for the previous 5 tax years before their arrival in Ireland
  • The relevant employee must be a tax resident in Ireland in the year that the SARP claim is made (and all further years that the relief is claimed)
  • The relevant employee’s basic salary must exceed €75,000 (excluding any type of bonus payments, company cars, preferential loans, benefits-in-kind, share based payments etc)

How does SARP work?

Broken down, this type of relief allows for a relevant amount of compensation to be excluded from tax (otherwise liable to tax within Ireland).

The relief is then obtained through the PAYE system, meaning that its effects can offer immediate relief, as opposed to waiting to claim at the end of the tax year.

The relevant amount is valued at 30% with a lower threshold of €75,000.

This relief is for Income tax only and will not apply to Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) or the Universal Social Charge.

Are there risks with claiming under the SARP?

It is worth understanding that it is very important that the claim you want to make under SARP would be the best possible outcome and tax relief as possible for you.

If a claim is made under the Special Assignee Relief Programme without necessity, you risk negating other possible claims that could effectively reduce other tax that you may pay. (These can include things such as Trans-border Relief, Research and Development incentive, Foreign Earnings Deduction, and Remittance Basis Taxation).

How do you apply for SARP relief?

Your relevant employer will be required to complete the required form SARP 1A and then submit it to the Revenue Commissioners within 90 days of the employee's arrival.

Request a free introduction with an Irish Tax expert

If you need assistance with SARP, or any other Irish tax matters, we can help you with a free introduction to an Irish tax specialist who will be able to provide formal tailored advice from the first consultation booked and help you understand your Irish tax requirements.

Our Irish partners provide a full range of Irish tax services and incorporate extensive international experience to help expats resolve their tax queries. An initial, formal consultation typically costs in the region of €50 and will last up to 15 minutes.

This will enable you to have your situation analysed and get answers to your Irish tax questions beyond what would be feasible during any free service you may find elsewhere.

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