Understanding PRSI Contributions for People Who are Self Employed

Self-employed individuals aged between 16 years & 66 with earnings of €5,000 or more per annum must pay Class S PRSI. This applies if you:

  1. are self-employed i.e. in business on your own account, for example a farmer, artist, professional person (doctors, dentists, solicitors etc.) or if you are in a partnership,
  2. have income from investments, rents or maintenance payments,
  3. are a working director who own or control 50% or more of the shares in a company in which you work. The classification of working directors who own less than 50% of the shareholding of the company is determined on a case by case basis.


The following people do not pay PRSI at Class S:

  • ‘prescribed relatives’ (husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, brother or sister) who help a self-employed person with their business but who are not partners in the business. If you employ a relative you must contact the Scope Section, for a decision on the relative’s social insurance class,
  • People whose total income from self-employment (earned & unearned) and employment is below €5,000 a year,
  • People classified by Revenue as non-residents who hold solely unearned income,
  • People insured as employees whose only other income is unearned such as dividend payments or rent. They are liable to PRSI at Class K on this income,
  • People in receipt of a pension arising from a previous employment of theirs or their spouse, or civil partner who are under pensionable age and whose only other income is unearned,
  • Public servants paying PSRI at Class B, C or who are also self-employed. From January 2013 these contributors who have self-employed income from a trade or profession are liable at Class K on this income.
  • Certain public office holders in respect of their income from public office.


There are 3 sub-classes within class S:

  • Class S0: earnings of up to €500 per week are liable to PRSI at 4%
  • Class S1: earnings in excess of €500 per week are liable to PRSI at 4%
  • Class S2 (medical card holders, widows & widowers, lone parents): earnings in excess of €500 per week are liable to PRSI at 4%.



PRSI Class S provides cover for:

  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension,
  • Guardian’s Payment (Contributory),
  • State Pension (Contributory),
  • Maternity & Paternity Benefit,
  • Adoptive Benefit,
  • Treatment Benefit (Dental, Optical & Aural) with effect from 27 March 2017.

If you stop being self-employed or your annual income falls below the €5,000 limit, and you are under pensionable age, you may apply to become a voluntary contributor, in order to maintain the continuity of your PRSI record for pension purposes.

Please contact our Taxation Services department if you have any queries on the above.

WRITTEN BY: Cronin & Co

WRITTEN BY: Cronin & Co