MEDICAL BILLS RELIEF
One tax break which people often forget to claim, or fail to claim in full, is the tax relief on medical expenses, according to Norah Collender, tax technical manager at Chartered Accountants Ireland. Under that tax break, you can claim back a fifth of the cost of certain medical bills in tax relief.
Many of us already know that you can get tax relief on the cost of a visit to a doctor or consultant — as well as for any drugs or medication which they supply or prescribe. The range of health expenses which you can claim tax relief on however is quite broad — so you may have paid out for an expense which you don’t expect to be eligible for the relief, but which actually is. For example, you can get tax relief on the cost of exercise bikes, wheelchairs and wheelchair lifts, and wigs — as long as these items are medically necessary and used on the advice of a practitioner. You can get tax relief on IVF, acupuncture or treatment from a psychologist or psychotherapist — as long as certain conditions are met.
“One expense which people might forget to claim tax relief on is the cost of special dietary food,” said Collender. “If you have a medical condition which requires you to be on a special diet, such as if you are coeliac, you can claim tax relief on that. Also, a lot of children are experiencing learning difficulties. The cost of a child’s educational psychologist or speech and language therapist qualifies for tax relief — as long as the practitioner is registered.”
Should you be a kidney patient or have a child who requires ongoing medical attention, check that you are getting all the tax relief that you entitled to. Parents for example may be entitled to tax relief on the cost of their own overnight accommodation — if that overnight stay was necessary for their child’s hospital treatment. Parents may also be entitled to tax relief for the cost of transporting their child to and from hospital, and for their own transport costs when visiting their child.
Even if your private health insurer covers a certain amount of your medical bills, you may still be entitled to claim tax relief on expenses which you haven’t been reimbursed for.
“Private health insurance often doesn’t cover the cost of prescriptions,” said Collender. “There’s also typically a lot of caps on the expenses which a medical insurer will cover. So remember to keep a record of any medical expenses which your medical insurer doesn’t reimburse you for — and to make a claim for those un-reimbursed expenses.”
As well as claiming tax relief on medical expenses incurred in 2014 by the end of this year, you can also claim relief for 2015, 2016 and 2017. However, you must wait until 2018 has ended before you claim tax relief on medical expenses incurred in 2018.