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Know Your Rights November

Know Your Rights: Tax relief on tuition fees

5thNovember, 2020

My brother and I have started in third-level college this year. Can my parents claim any tax relief on our fees?

The cost of supporting children through third level education places a significant financial strain on many Irish families. However, your parents may be able to claim tax relief on your tuition fees, including the Student Contribution (sometimes called the registration fee), provided you are enrolled in an approved course in an approved institution.

All courses provided by publicly funded universities, colleges and institutes of higher education (PDF) in Ireland are approved for the purposes of tax relief. With respect to private institutions, the Revenue Commissioners publish a list of approved colleges and courses ahead of the commencement of each academic year. Currently, you can claim tax relief on tuition fees for:

  • Full-time and part-time undergraduate courses in both private and publicly funded third-level colleges in approved colleges in Ireland or in any EU member state. The course must be for at least two years’ duration.
  • Postgraduate courses in private and publicly funded colleges in Ireland as well as universities and publicly funded colleges in other countries (EU and non-EU). Postgraduate courses must be between one and four years in duration and students must already have a primary degree or equivalent qualification.
  • Foreign language and IT courses that are less than two years’ duration and which result in the award of a certificate of competence. The course fees paid must not be less than €315 and not more than €1,270.

Tax relief is provided at the standard rate of 20%. Before you can claim relief, you must have paid the fees, either on your own behalf or on behalf of another person. There is no limit on the number of people you can claim for. The maximum amount of fees, including the Student Contribution that can qualify for tax relief is €7,000 per person per course.

For a full-time student for the academic year commencing 1 August 2020, there is no tax relief on the first €3,000 spent on tuition fees, including the Student Contribution. Similarly, there is no tax relief on the first €1,500 spent on tuition fees for part-time students. If you are claiming for more than one student, you will get full tax relief on tuition fees for the second or subsequent students.

You can claim tax relief on tuition fees using Revenue’s myAccount service. Alternatively you can download an application form from revenue.ie and return the completed form to your Revenue office.

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Know your rights: Using a registered estate agent

I am looking for an estate agent to help me sell my house. How do I check if an estate agent is legitimate?

The Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) is responsible for licensing and regulating estate agents and other property services providers, such as auctioneers, letting agents and management agents.

The PSRA maintains and publishes a register of all licensed property services providers. The register lists the name, number, licence type and location of each property services provider.

Your estate agent must have a PSRA licence to operate legally. You can check to see if your estate agent is licensed by the PSRA by:

  • Checking the Register of Licensed Property Service Providers
  • Asking to see the property services provider’s PSRA licence card
  • Looking for the PSRA business licence, which must be on display in the estate agent’s office or at an auction

Your estate agent’s licence is valid for 1 year, and must be renewed annually. Due to COVID-19, licences due to expire between 7 May 2020 and 31 August 2020 have been extended by 4 months.

Your estate agent must give you (the owner selling the property) a Property Services Agreement (PSA) or Letter of Engagement (LOE). This is a legal requirement. The PSA or LOE is an agreed contract between the PSP and their client. The document should clearly outline what property services are being provided and all costs involved. A PSA agreement or LOE letter is a legal and binding contract between you and the estate agent.

You can make a complaint against your estate agent about improper conduct that happened when they were providing a property service. You can find more about how to complain on the PRSA website.

The PRSA administers a compensation fund. This fund provides compensation to clients of licensed PSPs, who have sustained losses due to the dishonesty of a licensed PSP. To make a claim for compensation, your estate agent must have had a valid licence when they were working for you. For more details on the process of making a claim, read the PSRA’s guide to making a claim.

You can get more information about the PSRA on citizensinformation.ie

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During the COVID-19 pandemic you can contact your local Citizens Information Centre:

•             Bray CIC on 0761 07 6780 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

•             Email Bray CIC at bray@citinfo.ie – anytime

From July, a limited number of appointments are being made in Bray Citizens Information Centre.

You can  find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday,
    9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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