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SARP - Special Assignment Relief Programme

Posted on: Thursday, March 20, 2014

If you're studying for the P.6 paper, CPA Advanced Tax exam or FAE Tax Elective then you really need to look at SARP in the overall context of Inbound Assignees.


This is how you might structure your solution:

Special Assignee Relief Programme

The Special Assignee Relief Programme or S.A.R.P. applies to secondments in Ireland in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and lasts for five calendar years for each employee.

How does an employee qualify for this relief?

To qualify, the employee:
• Must work full time with the seconding employer (i.e. the U.S. employer) before the secondment for at least twelve months prior to moving to Ireland.
• Must not be Irish resident in the five years prior to the secondment.
• Must be resident in Ireland in the year of the claim.
• Must perform substantially all their duties of employment in Ireland.
• Must earn more than €75,000 per annum excluding benefits.

What Incentive is available?

The incentive available is a reduction of taxable income in Ireland by 30% of the “specified amount.”

The “specified amount” is calculated as an amount of 30% of the difference between €75,000 (being the lower limit) and the lower of either:

a) €500,000 (being the upper limit) or
b) All the income from the employment including Benefit-in-Kind, bonuses, share based remuneration, etc.

What are the actual savings to the U.S. Secondee?

• Typically there will be a saving at the top Irish tax rate of 41%
• This is usually operated through the payroll system in Ireland so that PAYE is not operated on the incentive amount.

Are there any other incentives?

Qualifying employees can also receive the following payments tax free:

a) The cost of one return trip home for the family per year and
b) Reimbursement of school fees up to €5,000 for each child attending an Irish school.

What about restrictions?

The S.A.R.P. Relief does not apply to:

a) New employees of the seconding employer
b) Income that remains liable for U.S. tax and where a foreign tax credit is available.


• This relief doesn’t just apply to U.S. employers, it applies to employers who have been resident in a country with which Ireland has a Double Taxation Agreement or an Agreement relating to the Exchange of Taxation Information.
• This relief will also apply to employees who are deemed to be Irish nationals.

Split Year Residence Relief

This relief applies to an individual who has not been Irish resident in the tax year prior to the date of arrival and who arrives in Ireland with the intention that he/she will be resident her in the following year.  In such circumstances the individual will be treated as Irish resident only from the date of arrival.

Why is this important?

This is important because it means the individual won’t be liable to Irish income tax in respect of any foreign income arising to him/her prior to the date of arrival.

Does it apply to all income?

No.  It only applies to employment income except for Directors’ salaries.

It does not affect any potential tax liability in respect of income from other sources.


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