You always hear about people getting tax refunds and yes, tax refund companies – like ourselves – always share stories of their top refunds with amounts like €10,000, €6,000 even €20,000 in some lucky instances. But the question remains, where do these refunds come from? And how do you know what kind of refund you could be due?
The short answer is, it’s hard to tell. There are so many factors that can impact on your tax bill, there’s no basic formula due to the fact that there could be errors in the way you were taxed in the first place. What we do know, however, is that people could be due tax refunds for a whole range of circumstances. So, we thought we’d put together a list of the 8 reasons you could be due a tax refund.
1. You were taxed incorrectly
This is where the largest refunds usually come from and can be due to a number of factors including payroll errors, incorrect tax credits being applied or even errors caused from trying to do your own taxes. If you don’t understand the ins and outs of how your tax is calculated, you can’t be expected to spot these errors. However, an experienced tax agent who asks all the right questions and does a full review of your taxes will spot these errors straight away and can claim back all the tax you’ve overpaid – which can come into the thousands when you look back over 4 years!
2. The type of job you have
This is one of the lesser known refunds, but there is provision to claim expenses for the type of job you are in. In fact, there are over 200 different types of jobs where extra refunds are including Nurses, Teachers, various trades, hospitality workers, retail workers and beauticians to name a few.
These refunds are called Flat Rate Expenses and work as a deduction against your tax bill ranging in value from €42 per year to €2,476 per year depending on your job, so the resulting refund will be either 20% or 41% of these amounts, depending on your annual income.
3. You are married
One major perk of being married is for tax purposes! Married couples can be jointly assessed and therefore can share their Personal Tax Credits with each other to help minimise their overall tax bill. The refund from this will vary, but it is particularly beneficial if there is one spouse on a higher income and one spouse on a lower income. In addition, if you are renting and meet the eligibility criteria for the Rent Tax Credit, the value of the Rent Tax Credit is doubled for married couples.
Another factor that comes into play for refunds for married couples is when you have kids and one spouse stays at home to care for them. This could make you eligible for the Home Carers Tax Credit, which is worth up to €810 per year – a handy little top-up for any couple with kids! It also allows the ‘home carer’ to earn a small income of up to €5,080 before it starts to affect the credit.
4. You’ve been on a few trips to the doctor
Claiming medical expenses would be one tax refund that most people are aware of. But so many people don’t bother! We all have our few receipts from GP visits and prescriptions that we could claim. But, did you know that you can claim Medical Expenses for ANY eligible expenses you’ve paid – whether it is for yourself or for someone else (so long as they don’t claim it also). So, this is a great one for people with kids!
You can also claim for medical expenses overseas! So, say for example, you had a trip to the doctor whilst on holiday to Marbella or you might have even ventured overseas specifically for medical treatment, such as IVF or major dental. Keep those receipts as you can claim back 20% of the expense with your tax return for that year!
5. You’re a single parent
This is a biggie and can be worth up to €1,650 per year. For 2011 – 2013, single parents who are not co-habiting with a partner and have their child stay with them for at least 1 night a year, were eligible for the One Parent Family Tax Credit. And, the great thing was, both mum and dad could apply for it if they met the eligibility criteria.
However, the rules have tightened up for 2014 onwards. Now named the Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit (SPCCC), only one parent can claim the tax credit and it automatically goes to whoever is in receipt of the Child Benefit payments (so long as they are not co-habiting with a partner). But, if that person is not benefiting from the tax credit (for example, if they are not working), they can transfer the SPCCC to the other parent – again, so long as they are not co-habiting and the child resides with them for at least 100 days in the year.
6. You’ve been renting
The Rent Tax Credit can be a handy little refund – however unfortunately it is being phased out. However, if you haven’t been claiming it at all, you can still claim back as far as 2011, where the tax credit was worth €320! There are some eligibility criteria that apply, namely that you were renting on 7th December 2010. So, if you have been renting continuously since then, you could be due a refund of up to €920.
7. You held a full medical card
There’s lots of benefits to holding a full Medical Card – free GP care, prescriptions and other health services – but there’s also the chance you could be due a tax refund. When it comes to Medical Cards, you are exempt from paying the top rate of the Universal Social Charge (USC) which is 7%.
In most cases, this should be sorted by your employer’s payroll department, but we are still seeing many cases slipping through the cracks and people being charged excess USC.
8. You had multiple jobs in the one year
Changing jobs within the year or having multiple jobs can make calculating your tax bill a little messy, and more often than not what you’ve paid at the end of the year will be wrong! Where you’ve had gaps in employment or changed jobs, you might have unused tax credits or even paid emergency tax, so it pays to have your taxes reviewed to see if there’s anything due back to you.
If any of these circumstances apply to you, you could be due a tax refund. Getting an independent review of your taxes means you won’t miss out on any refund you’re eligible for. We’ll claim it all.
To get your 4 year tax review, apply here.
I’m the Marketing Manager at Red Oak Tax Refunds and although I’m no tax expert, I LOVE getting money back from taxman. My job is to translate all the complicated and confusing ‘tax speak’ that is bandied about our office into something that is understandable for all us ‘average Joe soaps’.