I'm currently employed full-time in Ireland in the software industry.

I'm going travelling in South America in January and plan on doing some freelance work on the side. As tax in Ireland is taken from my pay before it reaches my bank account, I have no idea how or if I need to do any taxes.

Do I need to worry about paying Irish tax on this income? Because I am earning the money "abroad", do I still need to pay Irish taxes? Will this come back to haunt me in a few years?

Any advice is appreciated!

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    Be sure that you are not violating the terms of the visa(s) on which you are traveling when you perform work in a South American country for a company in that country. Usually, tourist visas do not allow for work to be performed. No visa required, you say? Well, many no-visa rules from non-Schengen countries do state that the traveler has agreed that the engaging in business for which pay is received is prohibited under the terms of the non-visa entry. Nov 23, 2016 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


Having freelanced myself in South America I could give you a sound advice BUT you would first need to answer some questions.

1) How long do you plan on being in South America? At the end of 2017 will you be back in Ireland or still being in South America? In other words was is your country of residence for tax purposes on Dec. 31 2017 ? That is the key element to consider. Link

2) In latin America you can freelance with a legal working permit BUT in all these countries more than 50% of the economy is under the table. In all these countries expatriate work under the table. The question you need to answer is then: Who will be your employer, a company or the owner of this company? Working undeclared in Latin America is very common, what are the risks? The legal risks depend on the country and their laws. In which country will you travel? How long will you stay there? You will have a tourist visa or a working visa?

3) An important detail, your health. Check how long you can be out of Ireland without loosing your social health benefits in Ireland? In my country, if I am abroad for more than 180 days, I loose my national health coverage. Evaluate the amount of days you will be out of Ireland and where you want to be on Dec. 31th. That could change a lot of things in your life.

  • 1
    Thanks for the information - so based on this information - if I'm out of the country for 182 days - I don't have to pay any tax in Ireland? I'm hoping to be travelling for a minimum of 6 months.. So I could freelance without a working permit but if I were to be caught, I could face sever penalties? To do it legally - I would need a working permit - then would I need to pay taxes in the relevant country in S.America?
    – TomSelleck
    Nov 30, 2016 at 11:58
  • Oh on closer inspection, the article says "or 280 days or more in that tax year plus the previous tax year taken together". So I would need to be out of Ireland for 335 days in 2017?
    – TomSelleck
    Nov 30, 2016 at 12:01

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