boost your refund

How to boost your refund: a complete guide to medical expenses

We all incur medical costs of some nature and sometimes these costs can take a bite out of the family budget, especially if you encounter unforeseen emergencies that are not covered by your insurance. Luckily, the Revenue Commissioners allow relief, giving taxpayers the opportunity to reimburse some part of the expenses made.

Health care expenditure is quite wide-ranging but in order to take advantage of this relief, you need to know what counts as a qualifying health expense for tax refund purposes. Learn more about the many different medical and dental expenses and get a better understanding of your health entitlements:

Services of a doctor or dentist

These include visits to doctors, consultant fees, diagnostic procedures carried out on your doctor’s advice (such as X-rays, MRI scan, etc.). However, visits to alternative medical practitioners are excluded.

Maintenance or treatment in a hospital

If treatment is in association with the services of a practitioner, then you are entitled to claim 20% tax relief on the amount incurred. Relief also applies to approved nursing home fees and is granted as a total income deduction, i.e. at the higher rate of 40%.

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Prescribed drugs and medicines

You can claim up to €144 per calendar month on prescribed medication. If you have incurred expenditure in excess of €144 per month, the excess can be reclaimed directly from the Health Service Executive under the Drugs Payment Scheme.

Physiotherapy and podiatrists services 

Allowable costs that qualify for tax relief include treatments by a chiropractor, osteopath, bonesetter or an acupuncture if carried out by a qualified practitioner.

Services for children

Tax back can be claimed on fees relating to speech and language therapy services carried out by a qualified therapist, educational psychological assessments made by an expert in the education of students and certain other expenditure in respect of a child suffering from life threatening illness.

Transport by ambulance

Tax relief may also be available for the cost of travelling other than by ambulance. For example, if the patient has to travel long distances because of regular continuing consultation, then a private car can be used and expenses reimbursed (special rules apply in determining the cost of travel).

Kidney patients

Home dialysis patients can make a claim for the amount spent on electricity, telephone, travelling, laundry and protective clothing related to their illness.

Medical, surgical, dental or nursing appliance

Costs incurred on the supply, maintenance or repair of appliances can be claimed back. Examples include Glucometer machine, Hearing aid, Orthopaedic bed or chair, Wheelchair or Wheelchair Lift, Exercise bicycle, Computer, False Eye, Wig.

Relief in respect of the following treatments is also available as Revenue Tax Briefings have outlined that it is Revenue practice to allow them to qualify as “health expenses”:

  • In Vitro Fertilization treatment
  • Cost of specialist foods for coeliac disease or diabetics
  • Routine maternity care
  • Laser vision correction surgery

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Dental and Optical treatment

You can get tax relief only on non-routine dental treatments. These are as follow:

  • Crowns and Bridgework
  • Veneers/Rembrant type etched fillings
  • Tip replacing
  • Gold posts and gold inlays
  • Root canal treatment, Periodontal treatment and Orthodontic treatment
  • Surgical extraction of impacted wisdom teeth carried out in a hospital

Costs on routine dental treatment (extractions, scaling and filling of teeth and provision and repairing of artificial teeth and dentures) as well as costs on routine ophthalmic treatment (sight testing and the provision of spectacles or contact lenses) are not allowable and they do not qualify for the relief.

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Expenses outlined above should not have been covered by any public/local authority or by private health insurance. If any part of that amount has already been reimbursed you can only get a tax relief on the excess.

It is a common misconception that expenses must relate only to yourself or that they should have been incurred in Ireland. Both incorrect! You can claim a refund on behalf of any other person as long as you have paid for the medical expenses even if incurred abroad.

It is important to note that when making your claim for tax relief on any health expenses, you must retain receipts as Revenue Commissioners might request them at some stage. So, if you don’t want to leave money behind, it is worthwhile to get into the habit of keeping a good record of your receipts.

To find out how much you may be due back use Irish Taxes free tax refund calculator or contact us and we’ll help you claim back your maximum tax refund including all your medical expenses!