Employers Guide to PRSI Contributions - SW3

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The nature of employment mainly determines the PRSI contribution class that applies to the employee.

PRSI Class A applies to the majority of employees in the private sector and to employees recruited in the public sector since 6 April 1995.


Since April 1991 the level of earnings, not the number of hours worked, determines insurability.

You can get full details of the main contribution classes and examples of both the employees covered by each class and the rate of contribution appropriate to each class from the SW 14 booklet.

Contribution Class A applies to people in industrial, commercial and service-type employment under a contract of service and civil and public servants recruited since 6 April 1995, whose combined reckonable earnings from all employments bring them into Class A.

The appropriate subclass within Class A is based on the earnings in each separate employment (see codes within PRSI classes in paragraph 27).

Contribution Class J applies to the following groups of people:

  • employees in industrial, commercial and service-type employment under a contract of service, whose combined weekly reckonable earnings from all employments are below the threshold for Class A (less than €38 per week in the 2005 tax year. Please check SW 14 for the current amount),
  • employees over 66 years of age,
  • employees who are also full-time civil and public sector employees and paying PRSI Class B, C, D or H in their full-time job.

Contribution Classes B, C and D apply to pensionable employees in the civil and public service, including civil servants, teachers, gardaí, the army and local authority employees who were recruited before 6 April 1995.

Contribution Class H applies to NCOs and enlisted personnel of the defence forces.

Contribution Class K applies to people under 70 years of age who are not insurably employed under the Social Welfare Acts. The following are examples:

  • people getting a pension from a former occupation,
  • people normally paying Class S who have reached 66 years of age,
  • people receiving income from positions of certain office holders, e.g. Judiciary, State Solicitors,
  • prescribed relatives.

However, if the weekly income is below the threshold for Class K (€400 in 2005 tax year) contribution Class M applies. Please see SW 14 booklet for current thresholds.

You should also use contribution Class M for people who:

  • are under 16 years of age;
  • are normally insurable at Class K who:
    - hold a medical card or
    - get a Social Welfare Widow's/Widower's Pension
    - get a One-Parent Family Payment
    - get Deserted Wife's Benefit/Allowance
    - are aged 70 years or over
    - get a widow's or widower's pension under the social security legislation of another country covered by E.C. Regulations.

Contribution Class S applies to self-employed contributors who pay tax and PRSI under the self-assessment system (Schedule D). For enquiries contact the Self-Employment Section (see address in paragraph 70).

Directors whose income is assessable under Schedule E tax may also be liable to pay Class S.


Depending on the circumstances, Directors can either be employees paying PRSI at Class A insurance or self-employed under a contract for services and therefore paying PRSI at Class S. The Department's website has a comprehensive checklist to determine Employment or Self-employment status of individuals. The links to these booklets are

Hard copies of these booklets are also available from Scope Section. If you are still unsure and require clarification on the Class of PRSI for specific directors you should contact Scope Section (address in paragraph 70).

If you are a company director and you are correctly paying Class S PRSI you should contact Directors Unit, Waterford for queries regarding your PRSI rates and entitlements. See paragraph 70 for contact address and phone numbers.

Agency Workers

Persons employed by Employment Agencies under a contract of service are insurable at PRSI Class A. The person or company who is liable to pay the wages or salary of the individual concerned in respect of work or service is deemed to be the individual's employer.

If a person, recruited by an Employment Agency and acting as a sole-trader, performs any work or service for a third party then that person is insured at PRSI Class S provided the annual income exceeds €3,174 for year 2005 (see SW 14 for current rate).

Excepted Employments

There are employments that are specifically excluded from cover under Social Welfare regulations. These employments are listed in Part II of the first Schedule of the Social Welfare Acts. A common excepted employment would be that of a spouse working for a sole-trading spouse, no PRSI is payable and Class M should be returned where the income is less than the Health Levy threshold and Class K when the Health Levy is payable.

For full information on insurability matters please consult our link on the social welfare website under

If you are not sure what contribution class should apply to any particular employee, consult Information Services (see address in paragraph 70).

(a) If you discover you have overpaid PRSI within the same tax year as you made it, you should refund to your employee the amount you over-deducted from their earnings. In turn, you should recover this amount by reducing the PRSI contribution you owe for the next month in the same tax year.

If this reduction isn't enough to recover the overpayment, at the end of the year apply for a refund, stating the exact amount involved, to

PRSI Refunds    
Gandon House, Amiens Street, Dublin 1

Telephone: (01) 673 2586


The employer must not seek to recover the amount of an overpayment from PRSI contributions due in the next income tax year. Also, any PRSI refund which the employer is required to make should not, under any circumstances, be deducted from income tax.

(b) If you discover the error at the end of the income tax year in which the overpayment occurred, or later, you may claim for a refund from PRSI Refunds. The following cases are examples of when a PRSI refund may be due:

  • You can claim a refund if the error has resulted from a mistake in calculating the percentage of earnings or from applying an incorrect percentage rate to a particular class.
  • If you deducted PRSI contributions at a contribution class rate higher than appropriate to an employment (for example Class A instead of Class J for an employee over age 66).

In such cases you should apply for a refund of contributions paid in error at the end of the contribution year in which you paid them.

Apply to PRSI Refunds Section at the address in paragraph 70.


    The office of the Revenue Commissioners is dealing with PRSI refunds in respect of pension contributions. Refunds are due where pension contributions (e.g. PRSA, RAC and AVC) are made other than through a scheme provided by an employer. Prior to making a claim for a pension PRSI refund, an application for a refund of tax on the pension contribution must be made to the applicant's tax district at the end of the tax year. Claims for refunds of PRSI in respect of pension contributions should be made in writing and a copy of the P60 for the tax year to which the claim relates should be sent to:
    Customer Service Section
    Office of the Collector-General
    Sarsfield House, Limerick
    An employee who makes a maintenance payment to a separated or divorced spouse under a legally enforceable agreement may claim a refund of PRSI in respect of that payment. Applications for refunds should be made to:
    PRSI Refunds Section
    Gandon House, Amiens Street, Dublin 1
    Phone No. (01) 673 2586
    Fax: (01) 673 2460
Last modified:06/10/2008

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