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Share trading tax guide in Ireland

Find out about capital gains tax on shares and what to do at tax time if you're an investor.

Profits aren’t taxable until you actually come to sell your shares. So, if you make a profit after selling some shares, you might be subject to capital gains tax.

Our guide explains how capital gains tax on shares in Ireland is calculated, the deadlines for paying and if you can reduce the tax you owe.

What is capital gains tax?

If you sell any of your shares for more than what you originally paid for them, then you’ve essentially made a profit, or a capital gain.

From this capital gain, there may be fees or other costs that you paid in order to sell your shares. After deducting these fees, you’ll be left with your overall chargeable gains.

From this chargeable gain, you might need to pay tax, which is called capital gains tax (CGT).

The current rate of CGT from Revenue, Ireland’s tax and customs office, is 33%. The first €1,270 of the capital gain you make in a tax year is exempt from this 33% CGT.

Do I need to pay capital gains tax?

That depends on how much profit, minus any fees, you make.

  • You will need to pay CGT if your chargeable gain is more than the €1,270 annual personal exemption.
  • You will not need to pay CGT if your chargeable gain is €1,270 of less, the annual personal exemption.

How do I calculate how much capital gains tax I should pay?

In order to calculate how much CGT you owe Revenue, you’ll need to note down:

  • The price you paid for a share
  • The price you sold a share for
  • Your chargeable gain, which is the difference between the price you bought at and the price you sold at as well as any fees associated with selling a share

Once you have determined your chargeable gain, you can calculate how much CGT to pay by deducting:

  • Your personal exemption of €1,270 as an individual
  • If applicable, any other exemptions
  • Any losses from other shares sold

Here’s a useful example to help with your own calculations:

James bought shares in November 2010 and paid €10,000, including the trading fees. He sold the shares in March 2021 for €22,075. €75 from his profit went on fees, leaving €22,000. Having bought the shares for €10,000 and sold them for €22,075, he made a capital gain of €10,000 (minus the €75 trading fees). James deducted his personal exemption of €1,270 from €10,000, which left him with a chargeable gain of €8,730. He was then able to calculate that the CGT he owed (33% of €8,730) was €2,880.90. After paying his CGT, James was left with a profit of €5,849.10

Breakdown of James’s CGT calculations
The price James paid for the shares in 2010€10,000
The price James sold his shares for in 2021€22,075
Trading fees€75
James’s overall profit or gain€10,000
Chargeable gain after deducting personal exemption of €1,270€8,730
CGT owed (33% chargeable gain)€2,880.90
Profit after paying CGT€5,849.10

When should I pay capital gains tax?

The deadline for you to pay CGT will depend on when you sold or disposed of your shares. Since 2009, the tax year has been broken up into two separate periods, each with its own deadline for paying CGT:

PeriodDurationDeadline for GCT payment
Initial periodRuns from 1 January until 30 November15 December during the same tax year
Late periodRuns from 1 December until 31 December31 January the next tax year

We’ve put together an example:

If you sell your shares at some point between 1 January and 30 November 2021, then you will need to pay CGT to Revenue by 15 December 2021.

If you sell your shares at some point during December 2021, then you will need to pay CGT to Revenue by 31 January 2022.

How do I pay capital gains tax?

You will first need to be registered with Revenue for CGT. Once registered, you can use the Revenue Online Service or myAccount if you are PAYE, to make a CGT payment. Visit the Revenue website for more information.

Can I reduce the capital gains tax on the sale of shares in Ireland?

You may be able to avoid or reduce the CGT you pay but this will depend on your own circumstances. Here are a couple of options:

  • “Bed & Breakfasting”. Each year, you could sell just enough shares to leave you with a profit or gain of just €1,270, which is the annual exemption amount for individuals. If you wanted to acquire those same shares again, you could do so after a minimum of 30 days. This is known as “bed & breakfasting”.
  • Offset losses in value. You could sell shares that have actually made a loss in order to offset the loss with the gain from the sale of other shares that have increased in value. You can re-buy the share after a minimum of four weeks.

Shares can go up as well as down in a short period of time so you’ll need to weigh up the benefit of selling shares in order to reduce your CGT versus buying the same shares back at a potentially higher cost.

You’ll also need to carefully consider all the fees and any stamp duty (1% for Irish shares) associated with buying and selling shares.

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