1. Department of Environment – Housing – Thatching Grant
House must be 10 years old or more and someone must be living in it permanently, not necessarily the owner.
Grant offered is up to two thirds of the cost, up to a maximum grant of €3,810; with a medical card the grant offered is up to 80% of approved costs, up to a maximum grant of €6,350. Cost of works must be greater than €952. Takes 4-6 weeks for inspector to visit; if urgent write a note saying so with application form. May apply again after 7 years.
No closing date: ongoing
Contact: Dept of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Government Buildings, Ballina, Co Mayo, 096 24310, Noelle Cawley.
2. Wexford County Council - Cemeteries Grant
Small sums of money, maximum €500 offered for works to graveyards. Graveyards must be vested in the local authority and there is a list of these. Works may be undertaken by local community group etc. Local area engineer may be involved if more substantial works are involved. Permission is often required from the National Monuments Service.
No closing date: ongoing
Contact: Lorraine Byrne, Community Development, Wexford County Council, Carricklawn, Wexford, 053 9196520, email@example.com
3. Heritage Council’s Traditional Farm Buildings Grant
Heritage Council in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine offer grants for farm buildings, not farm houses, being maintained in use for farm purposes, not being converted. The grant is available for the conservation of the exterior appearance of traditional farm outbuildings, including roof, walls, windows and doors, and associated structures including historic yard surfaces, gate pillars and gates. Owner must be in REPS 4. Grants between €4,000 and €20,000 offered, up to 75% of cost of approved works. Emphasis on repair and conservation, not enhancement.
4. Section 482 Tax Relief
Although not a grant, the governmental Section 482 is another mechanism which can facilitate owners of period properties with conservation works to their homes. Under Section 482 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, owners and/or occupiers of approved buildings (and gardens) can apply for tax relief in respect of expenditure incurred on repair, maintenance or restoration, on the condition that they open their building to the public.
Commendably Section 482 not only allows owners of period properties to offset their tax against expenditure incurred in the repair, maintenance and restoration of their property, but also expenses incurred in the installation, maintenance or replacement of a security alarm system and in the provision of public liability insurance. Needless to say tax relief is not available in respect of expenditure recoverable through grants.
In order to avail of Section 482 your period property does not need to be listed on the Record of Protected Structures, however it does need to become what the government terms an 'approved building'. An approved building is one in respect of which determinations have been made by the Minister of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government that it is a building which is intrinsically of significant, historical, architectural or aesthetic interest, and by the Revenue Commissioners that reasonable access to the building is afforded to the public.
So how does an owner of a period property go about obtaining these 'determinations'? The first step is to contact the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DEHLG). They will provide you with an application form.
Your application form will then be referred to the Principle Architect of the Office of Public Works (OPW). An OPW architect will then conduct a site visit to your period property to ensure that indeed it is intrinsically of significant, historical, architectural or aesthetic interest and that all works proposed do not diminish this special interest. If the OPW inspector is satisfied with the above you will be issued with a DEHLG determination.
Your next step is to obtain a Revenue Commission determination. This will be issued once the Revenue Commission is satisfied that reasonable access is afforded to the public to your period property. You will need to fill out an S.B.1. Form and return it to the Revenue Commission with supporting evidence that the minimum public access and advertising requirements are met. The public access requirements are that access must be for a minimum of 60 days per calendar year, including 40 days between 1 May - 30 September (of which 10 days must be Saturdays or Sundays); daily viewing times must be at least 4 hours and that admission price, if any, must be reasonable. There are various other requirements as well concerning advertising and display of information. For instance owners must agree to be included in the Failte Ireland's annual booklet of Section 482 properties.
The Section 482 is a valuable scheme, however intended participants should be mindful that there is provision in the legislation for the Revenue Commission to revoke a determination made where applicants default on any of the conditions, for example, that the property does not remain open to the public for a period of five years after claiming tax relief. This means that any tax relief granted to a claimant in the previous five year may be clawed back by the Revenue Commission.
To obtain the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government form contact Paul McNally (4117148), Marian Ryan (4117146) and Mark Kehoe (4117164) at the DEHLG, Dun Scène, Harcourt Lane, Dublin2, web www.environ.ie. To obtain the Revenue Commission Form S.B.1. contact Ann Doneghan (6475000) or Eileen Duffy (7024101) at Office of the Revenue Commissioner, Direct Taxes Interpretation and Internal Division, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2, email firstname.lastname@example.org, web www.revenue.ie. The Revenue Commission Form S.B.1 is available on line, as is the Section 482 explanatory leaflet 'IT30' and the list of properties availing of Section 482. This list is also published in hard copy and is available from Failte Ireland free of charge.