What is RCT?

RCT is withholding tax applied to certain payments made by principal contractors to subcontractors in the construction, forestry and meat – processing industries.

Rates of tax range from 0%, 20% and 35% depending on the subcontractor’s tax status with Revenue. All RCT filing and payments are submitted and processed online using ROS (Revenue Online System)

Who is a principal contractor?

A principal contractor uses a subcontractor to carry out work on behalf of your business in construction, meat processing or forestry.

Revenue also provides the following list of other principal contractors, if they;

Subcontractor or Employee?

The principal contractor must decide which category a worker falls into. Penalties apply for incorrectly registering someone as a contractor instead of an employee.

Checklists are available on www.revenue.ie

The Process

All principal contractors must ensure they are registered to use ROS and subcontractors should also register to access details regarding their RCT.

The principal contractor must notify ROS of the following;

  • All relevant contracts
  • Payment details
  • Pay RCT deducted from payments made to subcontractors

Also, the principal contractor must advise the subcontractor of the tax that will be deducted.

Once the contract is set up, a Site Identifier Number (SIN) is issued for the site or project and will be stated on all relevant documentation. This SIN must be used for all contracts relating to it.

Deduction Summary

Revenue will issue a deduction summary (monthly or quarterly) based on the payment notifications and confirm the total RCT to be paid by 23rd of the following month.


If a principal contractor submits a payment that differs to RCT details, Revenue will treat this as an unreported payment which is liable for penalties.

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