“Neither a borrower nor a lender be” Polonius once declared (Hamlet) and while that is all very well if you have money, many people do not. Inheriting money is now the fashionable way of obtaining easy money but only for the privileged few… John Lowe of MoneyDoctors.ie explains the ins and outs of this complex subject.

Gifts and inheritances can be received tax-free up to certain amounts. The tax-free amount, or threshold, varies depending on your relationship to the person giving the benefit.

There are three different categories or groups – Group A, Group B and Group C. Each has a threshold that applies to the total benefits you have received in that category since 5 December 1991. Over this threshold you pay Capital Acquisition Tax ( CAT ) at 33%.

Group A applies where the beneficiary, the person receiving the benefit, is a child of
the person giving it. This includes a stepchild or an adopted child.

It can also include a foster child if the foster child resided with and was under the care
of the disponer ( the giver ) and they provided the care, at their expense, for a period or periods totalling at least 5 years before the foster child reached the age of 18. This minimum
period does not apply in the case of an inheritance taken on the date of death of the
disponer. In this case the Group A threshold will apply provided that the foster child
had been placed in the care of the disponer prior to that date.

Group A also applies to parents who take an inheritance from their child but only
where the parent takes full and complete ownership of the inheritance. If a parent
receives an inheritance where he or she does not have full and complete ownership of
the benefit, or if a parent receives a gift, then Group B applies.

If a parent inherits from their child, and have full and complete ownership of the
inheritance it is exempt from tax if, in the previous five years, the child took an
inheritance or gift from either parent and it was not exempt from Capital Acquisitions
Tax (CAT). In this case, no tax needs to be paid even if the inheritance from the child is over the threshold.

Remember you are exempt from CAT tax on the inheritance of a dwelling house if you or as a dependent relative satisfy certain conditions…on or after 25th December 2016

  • The house was the only or main home of the person who died ( though this does not apply if you are a dependent relative )
  • You lived in the house as your only or main home for the 3 years immediately before the date of the inheritance.
  • You do not acquire an interest in any other house from the same disponer between the date of the inheritance and the valuation date.
  • The house continues to be your only or main home for 6 years after the date of the inheritance. This does not apply if you
    • Are aged 65 years or over at the date of the inheritance
    • Are required by reason of employment to live elsewhere


  • Are required to live elsewhere because of mental or physical infirmity, and this is certified by a doctor.


Group B applies where the beneficiary is the parent (see also Group A)

– grandparent
– grandchild or great-grandchild
– brother or sister
– or nephew or niece of the giver

If a grandchild is a minor (under 18 years of age) and takes a gift or inheritance from
his or her grandparent Group A may apply if the grandchild’s parent is deceased.

Group A may apply to a nephew or niece if he or she has worked in the business of
the person giving the benefit for the previous five years and meets the following

  • The nephew or niece must be a blood relation rather than a nephew-in-law or niece-in-law
  • The gift or inheritance consists of property used in connection with the
    business, including farming, or of shares in the company.
  • If the gift or inheritance consists of property then the nephew or niece must
    work more than 24 hours a week for the disponer ( the giver ) at a place where the business is carried on, or for the company if the gift or inheritance is shares. But if the
    business is carried on exclusively by the disponer, their spouse and the
    nephew or niece then the requirement is that the nephew or niece work more
    than 15 hours a week.
  • The relief does not apply if the benefit is taken under a discretionary trust.

Group C applies to any relationship not included in Group A or Group B.

If you receive a benefit from a relation of your deceased spouse, you can be assessed
with the same group as your spouse would be if they were receiving the benefit from
their relation. For example, if you receive a benefit from the father of your spouse, the
group threshold would be Group C. But if you receive a benefit from the father of
your spouse and your spouse is deceased, then the group threshold that applies to you
would be the same as for a child receiving a benefit from a parent, Group A.


CAT thresholds from 2009





















A 542,544 434,000 414,799 332,084 250,000 225,000 280,000 310,000 320,000 335,000
B 54,254 43,400 41,481 33,208 33,500 30,150 30,150 32,500 32,500 32,500
C 27,127 21,700 20,740 16,604 16,750 15,075 15,075 16,250 16,250 16,250


Anything received by way of inheritance over these thresholds is taxable at 33%.

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