Friday 20 April 2018

How to work at home - and earn up to €15k extra tax free

You don't have to step outside the front door to earn money, says Sinead Ryan - there are ways to make your house work for you

Ed Smith in his apartment in Donnybrook which he rents out on AirbnB. Picture credit: Damien Eagers
Ed Smith in his apartment in Donnybrook which he rents out on AirbnB. Picture credit: Damien Eagers

Your home is your castle, they say, and it can seem just as expensive as one to run! But here are some ways to make your house pay you.


Launched in 2008 as a sofa-surfing hook-up for back packers, AirBnB has become a serious rival to the hotel business. The model is simple. You rent out your spare room (or entire house) to tourists on a nightly rate with or without breakfast.

More than 419,000 guests have used AirBnB in Ireland to date and with 11,100 current listings (4,700 in Dublin) it has grown exponentially. The average host is 44 years old, 14pc are retired and average earnings are around €2,600pa. The median listing price per night is €84. How to: Register with Describe your room/house with plenty of detail and upload real photos. Mention if the room is en-suite or a shared bathroom, if food is provided and location. Be honest - you might be rated on how truthful you are. Liaise with guests, find out what time they arrive, ensure they have directions and information on buses/trains. Earn: Average €84 per night, taxable as earned income.

Rent a room

The Rent a Room scheme was introduced to alleviate the crisis in the rented sector. While that has only gotten worse, the renewal of RAR in the last Budget has underlined its importance, with Minister Michael Noonan increasing the earnings allowable under the scheme to €12,000pa, tax free.

It is primarily aimed at the student market so academic-year lettings are popular. While you need to declare the income, you do not need to register with the Private Residential Tenancies Board, provide a rent book or become a 'landlord' in the traditional sense. However, ground rules are advisable, especially regarding visitors, noise and use of common areas, such as the kitchen. How to: Put up a notice in local colleges or on Student Union websites. Outline the room you have available, with photos. Decide on ground rules for your tenant. Register with Revenue for the relief. Earn: Up to €12,000pa including bed, board, laundry.

Summer Student

Over 100,000 students come from all over Europe (and beyond) to learn English during the summer. Staying with families earns the host €125-150 a week per student. The average stay is three weeks, and you'll be expected to provide full board, a clean room (only two students allowed per room in twin beds, and of different nationalities), and washing facilities. The whole point is to immerse them in family life, so they should be included on outings, etc. Many families find two or more students financially viable if they have the space. Income is taxable by Revenue. How to: Contact your local school or language schools in your area to register. Earn: Up to €150 per week, per student.

Mind a child

Using your home for child-minding is a popular way to earn extra cash - plus Revenue allows you to earn €15,000pa tax free for doing so. The measure was brought in to get childcare workers out of the black market. Registering for the relief means grannies, friends and neighbours can earn without worrying about tax.

However, you cannot mind more than three children and it must be in your own home. You must inform your local authority Childcare Committee of your service and register as self-employed with Revenue, even though you will have no tax liability. A registered childminder under the scheme may make Class S PRSI contributions (€500pa minimum) which entitles them to benefits including the State pension, maternity benefit and other grants, depending on contributions.

How to: Register with the local authority and tax office. Make a return by October 31 annually.

Earn: Up to €15,000pa, tax free.

Irish Independent

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