Just a quarter of those who it is thought are entitled to the new rent tax credit have so far claimed it.

Data release by Revenue today shows 120,000 renters have sought the credit, despite the Government estimating that around 400,000 people should be able to.

The credit was announced in the budget and offers €500 per year for individual taxpayers and up to €1,000 per year for jointly assessed married persons or civil partners.

Despite the small uptake, the numbers claiming it have increased in recent days and Revenue has defended the progress.

"This number is second only to medical expenses in terms of volume of claims," said Aisling Ní Mhaoileoin, Revenue's National PAYE Manager.

"This is particularly significant given that this is a new tax credit announced as part of Budget 2023," she said.

The rent credit is retrospective for 2022, making it unusual among other new tax credits.

"This means that those who met the eligibility criteria for the credit during last year can claim it now on their Income Tax return for 2022 and receive any refund due promptly," said Ms Ní Mhaoileoin.

"For 2023, we expect that from mid-February, customers will be able to claim the credit in real-time through the 'Manage Your Tax' option in myAccount," she added.

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Of those that have already claimed, 90% are in a tenancy registered with the Residential Tenancy Board.

The balance are in a "rent a room" or "digs" situation.

"88% of those claiming are doing so in respect of their own private residence as opposed to just 12% who are claiming for tenancies that are required for work reasons or for attending an approved course," Ms Ní Mhaoileoin said.

"Almost all claims to date relate to a PAYE taxpayers own rent payments, as opposed to claims on behalf of dependants," she added.

Overall, Revenue says more than 485,000 tax returns have been processed for PAYE taxpayers who have already filed their return for 2022, up 32% on the same period last year.

"Submitting a return allows a taxpayer to claim any tax credits to which they are entitled and receive any refunds they may be due as a result," said Ms Ní Mhaoileoin.

"Of the returns already filed in January, approximately 360,000 resulted in an overpayment of tax and, as a result, €274m has already been refunded to individuals' bank accounts," she added.