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Claiming tax relief for Medical Expenses: Myth Buster

Written by Administrator on February 5, 2015

Claiming Tax Relief for Medical Expenses in IrelandWe all have medical expenses of some nature – maybe the odd trip to the doctor or a prescription to treat a niggling flu – but I’m amazed by the amount of people who don’t bother to check if they can claim tax relief on them. I don’t know about you, but if there’s any possibility of claiming some of my taxes back, I’m up for it!

In short, you may claim tax relief of 20% on the cost of certain medical expenses paid by you. Now, what this entails varies, but I’ve noticed there appears to be all sorts of myths and rumours around about what can and can’t be claimed for medical expenses. So, I thought it was time that these myths were busted and the truth told, so I’ve selected the comments I’ve heard most frequently from my clients.

Expenses must relate only to myself.

You are allowed to claim for any qualifying medical expense, so long as you have paid for the expenses – it doesn’t matter who the treatment relates to. This is a common misconception, particularly for parents claiming their children’s health expenses or even unmarried couples.

I can only claim for expenses incurred in Ireland

This is a real biggie! You are entitled to claim for medical expenses incurred overseas, so long as they are listed as a Qualifying Health Expense and your treatment is provided by a registered practitioner in the country the treatment was received.

This is a handy one for families on holidays and perhaps one of the kids gets sick or injured – as well as those people who head abroad for things like major dental or even IVF treatment. These types of expenses can add up to any tax relief you can get back is definitely worth the effort.

I can’t claim for the specialist foods for my medical condition.

This is a slightly tricky one – in some cases, yes you can claim, but in others you can’t. Basically, if you are a diagnosed coeliac or diabetic, the cost of gluten free foods or “diabetic” products required as part of your diet, are an eligible health expense. In order to claim these expenses, you will need a letter from your doctor confirming the diagnosis and that the products that are purchased is on their advice.

However, people with food intolerances such as dairy, wheat and gluten are not eligible to apply for tax relief for specialty products.

So long as you have a receipt, you can claim.

There’s not an open rule that if it’s medical-related and you have a receipt, then you can claim! There is a whole list of ‘Qualifying Health Expenses’ that are eligible such as doctors’ and consultants’ fees, diagnostic procedures, prescription medicines, hospital treatment, specialised dental treatment, prescribed physiotherapy and many more.

Despite there being a long list of inclusions, there are notable absences such as routine dental and cosmetic procedures.

Furthermore, in some cases, even expenses listed as qualifying are required to have been prescribed by your doctor. This affects treatments such as physiotherapy and orthoptics.

I can’t claim for specialist medical equipment.

Incorrect! There is a provision to claim tax relief on the supply, maintenance or repair of any medical, surgical, dental or nursing appliance used on the advice of a practitioner. This means expenses relating to things like wheelchairs, hearing aids, orthopaedic beds or chairs and glucometer machines are all eligible. Furthermore, where medical evidence indicates a necessity, items like exercise bikes, wigs and even a computer can be claimed.

Likewise, there are plenty of examples where relief is not allowable – where you might think it should be. These include specially adapted cars for disabled people and construction work to alter the private residence of an incapacitated person.

In these instances, it’s always best to get expert advice before claiming, as it can be a minefield for what is considered an allowable expense – so you don’t want to end up claiming something that isn’t allowed.

You can claim as far back as you like.

You can actually claim back for the last 4 years – as with normal PAYE tax refunds. So in 2015, you can claim expenses from 2011-2014.

You have to claim in the year the expense was incurred.

If you paid for medical expenses in the following year, you can choose which year to claim the tax relief in. This is particularly beneficial if you paid more tax in one year, so you can really maximise the tax relief received.

My IVF is an elective treatment, so I can’t claim tax relief.

Absolutely incorrect! Where the treatment is carried out by a qualifying practitioner, you can claim tax relief on your IVF treatment expenses. Now in these instances, a qualifying practitioner refers to a practitioner registered in Ireland.

What often confuses people with claiming IVF expenses is when this treatment is carried out overseas. This is a common enough practice for IVF patients and these expenses are still eligible, so long as the practitioner is entitled under the laws of the country in which the care is provided, to practice medicine there. Put simply, so long as your doctor is a registered practitioner in the country you are treated, then your IVF treatment is eligible for tax relief in Ireland.

Speak to an expert

Like with most things tax related, its always good to get it looked at by the professionals. Here at Red Oak, we’ll take care of your medical expenses claim and do a full four year review of your taxes in the process. Apply here to speak to one of our Tax Agents.

Adrian - Zwrot Podatku IrlandiaWritten by Adrian Pinczura

Having moved to Ireland from Poland as a 16 year old, I’m as much an Irishman as I am Polish! As a Tax Agent, I like to fix the tax problems of my clients. Dealing with Revenue can be such a hassle for people, but it’s what I’m trained to do so I can maximise the refunds for my clients!

 

Posted Under: Dental Expenses, Medical Expenses, Tax Refunds

25 replies to “Claiming tax relief for Medical Expenses: Myth Buster

    1. Post Author Administrator

      Hi John
      Thanks for your message. In order to claim dental expenses, you would need to get a MED2 form from your Dentist/Orthodontist.
      In terms of eligible expenses, it depends on the type of implant. But the crown you can definitely claim for. If you get a MED2 from your dentist, we can take a look at it for you.
      Of course, in order to claim tax relief, you need to have paid tax.
      Regards
      Nerilie

      Reply

  1. liz

    I work full time but because I am using my husband’s tax credits I do not pay tax because I do not pay it in wages does that mean I’m not entitled to claim anything back

    Reply

    1. Post Author Administrator

      Hi Liz
      Thanks for your comment. If you do not pay tax, then you cannot claim tax back.
      Regards
      Nerilie

      Reply

  2. amanda

    Hi there,
    My husband and I have had IVF treatment in the Czech republic but I only work PT so didnt pay any tax last year. Can my husband claim the IVF treatment cost as his Medical expense .

    Also I am currently on maternity leave so was wondering if i will have to start paying tax on this when i return to work as it is now taxable?

    We are currently assessed as single so would it be beneficial for my husband to take all my credits and be joint assessed?

    Lots of questions …sorry

    Reply

    1. Post Author Administrator

      Hi Amanda
      Thanks for your message.
      Ideally, you and your husband should be set up as jointly assessed. You will never be worse off in this situation and depending on your income level, you could share some of your tax credits in order to reduce the amount of tax your husband needs to pay. With regards to the maternity benefit, this depends on how much you earn as to whether you’ll have to pay extra tax. If you set up as jointly assessed, you would be able to claim your IVF treatment against your combined tax bill.
      I have emailed you with further details.
      Regards
      Nerilie

      Reply

  3. Lisa

    Hi, I am a widow and working 20 a week, I don’t pay tax as I’m not earning enough, my children will need orthodontic work next year which I must pay for myself, My question is can I claim some of this expense back with the med2 form. tks

    Reply

      1. Lisa

        Thanks Nerilie for your reply, One last question. Can I ask a family member like my brother who is paying tax to claim on my behalf. regards Lisa

        Reply

  4. Sean

    Hi there i returned to irl after working abroad for 3 years. I started working in irl again in Apr 15 and put in a med1 claim recently. Im being asked what I was doing from jan 15-Apr 15. If I was not paying tax in irl during that time(as I was working abroad) how does that impact the claim for Apr-Dec15? I returned home as my wife wanted to have our child at home. We incurred quite a few med expenses hence the med1 claim. Appreciate the help. Many Thanks

    Reply

    1. Post Author Administrator

      Hi Sean,
      If you are intending on staying in Ireland for a number of years, then you should be able to have yourself taxed in 2015 in ireland on just your Irish income. Give myself or Sarah a call if you are interested in using our services for this.
      John

      Reply

  5. Pa doyle

    I’m due surgery tomorow. My sister is paying the surgery bill and I am paying her back over 12 months. She is paying out of her savings as she does not work.
    Will she still be able to claim back or will I be the one who should be claiming the 20% as receipts will be in my name?

    Reply

    1. Post Author Administrator

      Hi Pa, You are paying it over time – and presumably the receipt will be in your name – So you can claim.
      You will only get a refund back if you have tax paid in the year. As your sister is not working, she wouldn’t be able to get a refund on this anyway. Make sense? Give us a call if you are unsure.

      John

      Reply

    1. Post Author Administrator

      Hi Derek, Certainly you can. It would be included as part of your tax return as a self employed person, so would reduce your tax bill, rather than give you money back. Your accountant will be able to tell you more.

      Regards,
      John

      Reply

  6. Inga

    Hi , I will do my teeth implant abroad . Can I can claim tax back ? What I need for that.
    As well can I can claim some travel expenses ?

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Inga,

      Thanks for getting in touch. If the implants are for periodontal treatment then if you ask the dentist to complete the Med2 form you can submit it to Revenue then. You can only claim travel expenses if the treatment is only available outside of Ireland.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

  7. Mike

    My child has autism and is non verbal, he can use a computer amongst other aids to communicate. Is this something which could be claimed for? If so, is it just 20% or the full value paid?

    Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Any allowable medical expenses incurred can be claimed back at the standard rate of tax of 20%. So for example, for a receipt of €50 you can claim back €10 against PAYE tax paid.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

    1. Ray Byrne

      Hi Claire,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Yes they should be allowed under health expenses similar to IVF.

      All the best,
      Ray

      Reply

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