Universal Social Charge & PRSI

Universal Social Charge explained

The Universal Social Charge (USC), which came into effect on 01 January 2011, is a tax payable on gross income, including notional pay, after any relief for certain capital allowances, but before pension contributions.

All individuals who earn in excess of €13,000 per annum are liable to this charge.

From 01 January 2012 the USC will be applied on a cumulative basis rather that the Week 1 / Month 1 basis applied in 2011.


The following is exempt from the USC;

• Where an individual’s total income for a year does not exceed €13,000 .

• All Dept. of Social Protection payments.

• Income already subject to DIRT.

• Certain other income sources

Rates & thresholds

Income (€)Rate
 2024 (€)2023 (€)
Persons aged 70 and over with a medical card and income is €60,000 or less will pay a maximum of 3.5% USCUp to 12,012 @ 0.5
12,013 – 25,760 @2%
25,761 – 70,044 @ 4%
Balance @ 8%
Up to 12,012 @ 0.5%
12,013 – 22,920 @ 2%
22,921 – 70,044 @ 4.5%
Balance @ 8%
Non PAYE income above 100,00011%11%

Medical card

Medical card holders and individuals aged 70 years and over whose aggregate income does not exceed €60,000 will now pay a maximum USC rate of 3%.

Self employed

Capital allowances

Capital allowances claimed as normal trading expenses in respect of items of plant & machinery and certain buildings are allowed as a deduction before the USC is calculated. There is no deduction allowed for capital allowances claimed by passive investors or lessor.

Tax exempt income sources

An individual whose income consists of exempt source income from occupation of certain woodlands, profits from stallion fees, stud greyhound services fees and farmland leasing, along with the artists exemption, will be subject to the USC subject to the relevant thresholds.

Preliminary tax for 2011

An individual can calculate their preliminary tax for 2011 on the basis of 90% of the current year liability, and incorporate the USC using the rates of 2%, 4% and 7%.

However where the individual wishes to pay preliminary tax on the basis of the 100% of the previous year liability then their payment should be on the basis of the final liability for the year 2010 as if USC at the appropriate rates had been paid for that year.

Please note that the deadline for paying the preliminary tax for 2011 will be 31 October 2011. The preliminary tax deadline just passed was for 2010.


The PRSI net has been broadened and from 2012 will be charged on rental, investment and other income.

  • The employee PRSI ceiling of €75,036 is abolished
  • Class S PRSI is increased from 3% to 4%
  • The modified PRSI rate for civil servants increases to 4% on incomes in excess of €75,036