Data Protection Commissioner
Data Protection Commissioner

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

11. Use of PPSN

11.1 In what circumstances can I seek a PPS number?

This is a matter for the Department of Social Protection in the first instance. It is an offence for any person or body to request or hold a record of a PPS number unless they are permitted by law (the Social Welfare Acts) to do so. It is the duty of all bodies to ensure that they are specified in law as being so entitled before they request or hold a record of any person's PPS number.

11.2 Can a financial institution ask for my PPSN when I am opening a new account?

From 1st January 2009, financial institutions are  required to seek the PPSN of all persons opening a new account in accordance with the Return of Payments Regulations (S.I. No 136 of 2008). 


The Revenue Commissioners, following consultation with this Office, developed guidance in this area which is available on its website. These guidelines state that 'while there is a requirement in Regulation 7 (4)(a) to seek the tax reference number (including PPSN)', this does not equate to an obligation on the part of your bank to collect this information.  Account opening can proceed if a person does not provide their PPSN.  In addition, Regulation 7 (8) sets out that the PPSN can only be sought by the financial institution for the purposes of making the return to Revenue and for no other purpose.

11.3  Can my Landlord request my PPSN?

Yes, there is a statutory basis for a landlord to seek the PPSN of their tenants under the  Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and section 11 of the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004. This information is required for registration with the Private Residential Tenancy Board (PRTB).  However, Landlords are authorised to use the PPSN of tenants for registration with  the PRTB only.  No other use should be made of the PPSN and it must be kept confidential.  Further information is available on  the PRTB website

11. 4  When applying for a new job, can a prospective employer seek the PPSN of candidates as part of the application process?

An employer should only seek your PPSN if you are successful at the recruitment process and are actually taking up employment with the organisation. An employer requires the PPSN of each employee for Revenue purposes. There is no basis for a prospective employer to capture a candidate's PPSN at the application stage.

11. 5  My PPSN is being sought in connection with a Non Principal Private Residence Property Tax return?

Local Authorities are specified bodies under Social Welfare legislation which permits them to request the PPSN in connection with their functions.  The sharing of these details with the Revenue Commissioners in relation to the NPPR is covered under Section 11(1)(b) of Local Government (Charges) Act 2009.   Because of this legal basis, the processing of the PPSN is permitted from a data protection perspective.