On Tuesday 14 February, the Irish government announced the closure of the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP). IIP applications via approved projects may be granted a grace period of three months to submit the finalised application. Any interest in IIP is the last chance and would have to apply on an urgent and immediate basis or the programme will no longer be available. Contact us now.

Ireland’s Eclectic Sporting Scene

Ireland’s neighbours might be best known for football and cricket – sports that dominate in Britain, but Ireland is home to a wide range of outdoor activities that aren’t commonly seen in the rest of the world. While Ireland’s prowess in rugby is renowned, lesser-known sports, such as Gaelic football, hurling and camogie make the country’s sporting scene stand out.

Ireland’s largest sporting organisation is the Gaelic Athletic Association, which promotes Gaelic games that include most of the nation’s distinctive sports, including Gaelic football, hurling, handball, rounders and camogie. As of 2018, GAA was Ireland’s most popular sport, followed by soccer, then rugby, with athletics, tennis, golf and swimming coming in joint fourth place.

We’ve rounded up some of Ireland’s most popular sports below, to reveal a little more about these intriguing games and what spectators can expect if they see the sport in action.

Gaelic Football

Gaelic football appears to have first been played in Ireland in 1802. With origins in the traditional football that was played across Europe, the distinctive Gaelic version was codified by the GAA in 1887, and while also based on the ancient Irish game of caid, it has similarities to rugby.

Gaelic football is played between two teams of 15 on a rectangular grass pitch – not so different to rugby in both respects. However, the Gaelic football pitch is slightly larger and the ball in play is round like a football, instead of oval as in rugby. This ball may be kicked or ‘hand passed’, which means that it is struck with a closed fist using the knuckle and thumb. Tackling is limited relative to rugby, though shoulder to shoulder contact is permitted, as is slapping the ball out of an opponent’s hand. The aim is to get the ball over or into the goal, which consists of two posts with a crossbar (narrower and lower than in rugby), but also with a net, effectively combining rugby posts with a football net. A ‘point’ is scored by kicking the ball or fisting – when a closed hand strikes the ball – it over the crossbar. Below the crossbar a ‘goal’ is scored, which is worth three points, but a ‘goal’ only counts if the ball is kicked into the net.

An amateur sport, Gaelic football is mainly domestic with no national Gaelic football teams, so it’s rare that you’ll be able to watch a game outside of Ireland.


Played by men, hurling is a team sport that has some elements in common with Gaelic football, including the field and the goals, though its roots lie in shinty, a game predominantly played in Scotland. There are also similarities to both hockey and lacrosse, particularly given that hurling is a stick and ball game. It is, however, played using a ‘hurley’ (a stick made of ash) and a ‘sliotar’, a small ball that is slightly bigger than a tennis ball and is comprised of a cork core encased in leather, similar in appearance to a baseball. For the teams to score, this ball is hit over the crossbar for one point or into the net (past a goalkeeper) for three points.

In terms of rules, the ball can be caught in the hand and carried, though not for more than four steps, and it can be struck in the air, or hit on the ground using the hurley. It can also be kicked or slapped with an open hand. To carry the ball further than four steps, the ball must be bounced or balanced on the end of the hurley and may only be handled twice while in the possession of one player. Helmets and faceguards are compulsory for all players, particularly given that hurling is considered one of the fastest field sports in the world.

Greatly loved, hurley plays a big role in popular culture, often featuring in film, music, and literature. It has also been listed by UNESCO as an element of Intangible Cultural Heritage. While it is played by the Irish diaspora around the world, spectators will most likely catch a game in Ireland – and should look forward to the experience. Financial Times journalist Simon Kuper wrote after watching the 2020 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final that hurling is “the best sport ever and if the Irish had colonised the world, nobody would ever have heard of football.”



Similar to hurling and with the game of shinty also at its roots, camogie is essentially hurling by adapted to suit women. It is less physical than its counterpart for men with a slightly smaller ball and shorter games – 60-minutes instead of hurling’s 70-minute games. Yet just as fast and exciting as hurling, camogie is a similarly popular spectator sport that is much loved both within Ireland and by Irish communities overseas. It has also been listed as an element of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.



Despite the popularity of Gaelic sports in Ireland, the nation is probably most proud of its rugby team, which competes successfully on the world stage. In 2019, Ireland ranked number 1 in the Men’s World Rugby Rankings and currently sits in sixth place as of February 2021, behind South Africa, New Zealand, England, France and Australia.

Rugby is a sport that is only gaining in popularity globally, particularly in Asia following the hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan last year, where Ireland reached the quarter-finals. A number of international rugby tournaments take place, including the popular World Rugby Sevens Series, a variant of the game where teams of seven play seven minute halves, instead of the usual 15 playing 40 minute halves. The Hong Kong Sevens, which was founded in 1976, is the premier event of this competition.

Barta has an exclusive partnership with Connacht Rugby, one of four professional provincial rugby teams in Ireland. Bartra supports the funding of the redevelopment of a new stadium and indoor training centre at Connacht’s existing home, The Sportsground in Galway. Investors willing to make an IIP application via the Endowment route can choose to fund Connacht Rugby.

Investors interested in the IIP often choose the Enterprise route, where through Bartra investors can enjoy 100% capital return and, when investing in nursing home projects, also reap a 20% return over a five-year investment period. However, investing in Connacht Rugby through the Endowment route is an alternative, where a minimum of €400,000 is invested benevolently in an appropriate public project that benefits arts, sports, health, culture or education in Ireland. Connacht Rugby is one such project – and it’s an Endowment option particularly suited to rugby or sports fanatics.

Tax 101 – a simple tax guide for immigrants to Ireland

Ireland is an attractive destination for immigration. As an English-speaking EU member state with a world-class education system, transparent and fair State structures, plenty of foreign investment, Ireland is seeing a rise in the number of high-net-worth foreigners seeking Irish residency.

Whether you are planning to move to Ireland permanently or you plan to obtain residency without moving thanks to the flexibility of the IIP, it is important to know what specific tax obligations come with your situation, and if there are actions you may need to take to get your tax affairs in order.

Planning your finances before you become liable for Irish taxes and understanding global income tax can save you a significant amount of money. Taxes can be expensive and burdensome, but there are ways to minimize your tax liability in a legal way.

Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax and other taxes

An individual can only be regarded as an Irish tax resident for a given tax year if he or she spends 183 days or more in Ireland during the tax year, or 280 days or more in Ireland in the current tax year and the previous tax year combined. In other words, given the flexibility of IIP, which requires a minimum stay of just one day in a year, investors spending less than 183 days a year who are domiciled outside of Ireland would not be liable to Irish tax. It is worth noting that investors who stay in Ireland for more than 183 days in a tax year, as long as their earnings are not remitted into Ireland, they may not fall within the Irish income tax net. 

There are a variety of different taxes that individuals interested in Irish residency should be aware of. In our video series Immigration Insights with Bartra Wealth Advisors, Jay Cheung, Bartra’s Marketing Director spoke to Kenneth Yeung, a senior accountant and tax advisor from China Consulting Consortium about matters around income tax, capital gain tax, property tax and inheritance tax. Kenneth is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and has been providing accounting and tax services to Chinese residents in the UK and Ireland for the past 30 years. To understand more about Irish tax, watch the episode now.

Income Tax

Personal tax varies and can be complicated. The reference guide below provides basic Irish tax information. Investors should always obtain independent tax advice. Worth noting is that in Ireland there are a large number of exemptions available depending on your type of income and whether the recipient of the income is resident in a country with which Ireland has a double tax treaty.

Income tax rates and rate bands

Irish Tax Eng

All individuals whose gross income exceeds the minimum threshold of €13,000 per annum are liable to pay the Universal Social Charge (USC). And most employers and employees (over 16 and under 66 years of age) pay social insurance (PRSI) contributions into the national Social Insurance Fund.

Personal income tax rates in Ireland are in line with other developed countries. For example, looking to Europe (the top rates), the income tax rate in Germany is 42%; the UK is 45%; France is 45%; Portugal is 48%; and the Netherlands is the world’s highest at 52%. Outside Europe and considering popular immigration countries, the rate in the US is 37%; 33% in Canada; 45% in Australia. China’s tax rate is 45%.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

The CGT rate in Ireland is 33% for most gains. However, there are other rates for specific types of gains:

  • 40% for gains from foreign life policies and foreign investment products
  • 15% for gains from venture capital funds for individuals and partnerships
  • 12.5% for gains from venture capital funds for companies

Again, for investors who spend less than 183 days a year in Ireland, they may not be taxable for either income or capital gains from other countries. 

Inheritance Tax

The thorn in the side of many an inheritance is the tax and in Ireland inheritance tax, or Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT), is a hefty 33%. A child is entitled to inherit a certain amount (up to €310,000) tax-free, after which 33% is charged.

Other taxes

For those looking to run a business in Ireland, Corporate Income Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) are the most important to know. In Ireland, corporate tax is 12.5%, one of the lowest in Europe and the normal VAT rate is 23%.

Tax Couple

Case study I: In what circumstances would I obtain Irish residency from the IIP and, although not domiciled in Ireland, still be liable to Irish income tax?

There are two types of income: employment income and investment income.

Employment income – you will be liable to Irish income tax on Irish employment income in full and non-Irish employment income to the extent that either your duties relate to Irish workdays or you remit your income relating to non-Irish workdays to Ireland.

Investment income – you are liable to Irish income tax on investment income from Irish sources. Investment income from other countries will not be taxable as long as the income is not remitted into the State. The remittance basis for a non-Irish domiciled individual continues regardless of residence/ ordinary residence status.

Case study II: When investing in nursing home projects, there is a 20% return from the 1million investment (4% per annum) upon maturity of the 5-year investment horizon. Is this 20% taxable to Ireland?

If you reside outside of Ireland and are not spending more than 183 days in Ireland, the 20% investment return from nursing home IIP projects is non-taxable to the State.


Bartra’s Northwood Nursing Home, completed and opened in Spring 2020, is home to 118 single occupancy private ensuite rooms.

Case study III: How would setting up a trust or having Life Insurance help with tax planning?

Some clients are keen to establish an “immigration trust”. The trust may hold cash deposits, shares in private and public companies, bonds, real estate and other types of investments, and provides an opportunity for immigrants to earn foreign investment income on a tax-free basis in the trust for a long period of time.

Clients may wish to consider using a trust for inheritance tax planning. As stated above, children are entitled to inherit up to €310,000 tax-free, after which 33% tax is charged. The assets in a trust are held in the name of a trustee but go directly to the beneficiary, who has a right to both the assets and income of the trust. Transfers into a bare trust may be exempt from inheritance tax.

Immigrants may also benefit from having a life insurance policy or a life insurance trust as the death benefit is typically tax-free. Beneficiaries generally don’t have to report the payout as income, making it a tax-free lump sum that they can employ freely, and potentially use to pay any required inheritance tax in order to receive the assets.


In conclusion, as is evident from the above, immigrants to Ireland can be subject to different tax treatments depending on how their wealth is structured. Great tax benefits can be achieved provided tax planning is in place. However, tax laws may change over time, so it is advisable to revisit your tax plan to avoid being unintentionally caught by any new tax laws and regulations.


Disclaimer: Information correct as of 19 February 2021. Bartra Wealth Advisors and its affiliates provide individualised services in relation to immigration. All information provided to investors and clients is with such purpose in mind. Should investors have any enquiries about any specific legal, tax or financial planning matter relating to their personal circumstances, Bartra Wealth Advisors recommends that investors seek independent professional advice. Although every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information and contents of the materials, which are obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Bartra Wealth Advisors does not represent, warrant or guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, reliability or suitability of the information or contents for any particular purpose.