Make room to improve

Posted on: 5th October, 2015

Category: Home & Garden

Contributor: West Cork People

Savings of up to €4,050 on home improvements would be a nice sweetener to your Christmas stocking this year says Ciara Moore. With the festive season just around the corner, make some room to improve by organising any last minute repairs and avail of the Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) Scheme before it comes to an end on December 31, 2015.

Launched by the Government in 2014 to boost the flagging construction sector, homeowners can claim back VAT paid to contractors for works that qualify under the scheme. This includes projects such as extensions, kitchen fittings, insulation and decorating – but it must be carried out by professionals registered under the incentive.

Not to worry if your head is brimming with questions on whether you tick all the relevant boxes in order to make significant savings. Here’s the low-down of the main points you need to know so you can benefit from the scheme before the all-important cut-off deadline looms.

How much can you save?

Homeowners can recoup up to €4,050 in income tax credits on works ranging from almost €5,000 to €30,000(before VAT). This is subject to the 13.5 pc VAT rate and credit is redistributed over a two-year period following the year in which the renovations are completed. All details on works, payments and claims must be entered through Revenue’s HRI online.

Who qualifies?

You are eligible for the scheme if you are the owner of a main home or have purchased a property, which you will live in after the work is finished. You must pay income tax under PAYE and your property tax obligations must also be up to date in order to qualify. New builds, holiday homes and refurbishments of uninhabitable homes are not covered under the terms.

Be HRI savvy

As with any big project, it’s wise to shop around when planning your home renovation. Just because a builder is tax-compliant does not mean they are reliable and efficient. In this case, opting for cheaper materials and contractors will not yield the long-term results you are hoping for. While splashing the cash on the higher end of the scale doesn’t necessarily mean better quality workmanship or more durable products. Source a number of estimates before choosing the most reasonable quote and always seek recommendations or work references. And be sure to keep every receipt throughout the project process as proof of every cent spent.

In order to get your tax rebate, the buck stops with your builder when it comes to submitting data to the Revenue Commissioners. Bear in mind the relevant dates and agree with your builder beforehand that you will withhold partial payment of the job until all your relevant paperwork is filed on time. Work must be registered before it begins and each payment made must be logged in to the system by your contractor. All you need to provide is your Property ID number.

And if you have had any previous jobs completed since the beginning of this year, don’t forget to check if your contractor was qualified under the HRI Scheme and fill out the appropriate forms to add these to any work you plan to submit before the expiry date. After all, these will add up and could just take you over the minimum spend allowing you to make money on your repairs.

Make use of every square foot

Whether you live in a small space with limited storage or are running a busy family home to a tight schedule, the HRI Scheme is the perfect kick-start to de-clutter and organise your home. Utilise your space by creating smarter solutions to make it look and feel bigger. Storage solutions need not be sterile and there are fabulous options, which your carpenter can talk you through. Hidden roller drawers built-in underneath staircases are great options for storing toys and shoes. Totally genius!

Turn up the heat

Before the crisp weather and dark winter evening’s draw closer, it’s time to seriously consider insulation options for your home. If you have been putting these projects on the long-finger, it’s time to avail of the incentive’s savings before those budget busting heating bills come through the door.

Over 35 per cent of heating is lost through poor wall insulation. Cavity wall insulation is a great option for retaining heat and eliminating condensation on wall space, while attic insulation will remove the risk of heat escaping through the roof of your home. This is a more inexpensive and efficient option but it is worth noting that you will not be eligible for the HRI if you have already received a grant for the work carried out.

Central heating upgrades and the supply and fitting of solar panels are also worthy contenders listed under the HRI list of qualified works. Your home will be extra warm and cosy in the depths of winter this year.

Décor trends to watch

If your home is in need of a much sought after facelift, investing in autumn/winter’s top décor trends is a must. And if you are seeking a makeover, this season’s hottest colour palettes are most definitely not for those seeking a more demure style.

Glamorous luxe is the call of the day here with dark tones and rich paint schemes set to backdrop against opulent designs to give an air of grandeur. Think sumptuous berry shades, deep greens and purples. Moody black added in small doses will add a dramatic twist to this contemporary palette. Or if this is too risky, opt for a charcoal grey in its place for a more graphic feel. Autumn/winter 2015 is all about breaking traditional home designs and making a bold statement. Pair with daring patterns to add warmth to your home will exude high-fashion and edge. The unique character is sure to be a starting point of conversation with every guest who steps through the door.

For more information on tax reliefs and to see the full list of jobs, which can be claimed for under the HRI Scheme, visit


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