Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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