Huge numbers failing to claim 'easy' tax refunds
Published 22/07/2016 | 02:30
Huge numbers of taxpayers are failing to claim tax refunds for the cost of going to a doctor and other medical treatments.
Just one in five taxpayers is claiming the tax refunds they are entitled to get.
A survey by Taxback.com shows that 60pc of people are failing to get what is owed to them from the tax authorities.
Tax experts said it "beggars belief" that so few people are claiming the relief.
For medical expenses, relief at 20pc is still available and can be claimed on most un-reimbursed expenses incurred, and on qualifying non-routine dental expenses.
An un-reimbursed expense is one not paid by a health insurer.
Visits to a GP vary from €30 to €70 across the state.
A family that spends €1,000 a year on doctor visits and prescriptions, and other medical expenses, could claim back €200 by filling out form Med 1.
Taxback.com estimates that the average refund for those who did claim in 2014 was €345.
However, just 422,000 out of almost two million taxpayers made a claim for medical expenses in 2014, Taxback.com said, quoting Revenue Commissioners figures.
Some €146m was reclaimed.
Around a third of those who have never claimed a refund for medical expenses said they feared the process would be too complicated and time-consuming.
Head of direct taxes at Taxback.com Christine Keily said: "I can understand why people might think this - anything to do with tax and form-filling tends to make people's eyes glaze over. But in reality this is one of the most straightforward things you'll ever do in terms of personal administration. It is easier than shopping online, I would say."
Some of those who have failed to make a claim cited losing receipts as the reason.
Ms Keily said these people could get past receipts from their GP and their pharmacy, and make a claim.
Claims can be backdated four years.
She suggested people keep receipts in a shoebox in future.
"Last year, refunds on medical expenses cost the Revenue €145.9m, but we would guess that if everyone claimed their entitlements this figure could be doubled."
She said it "beggars belief" that more people still don't claim.
Taxpayers can claim back every single expense from doctor visits, medicines, equipment, special dietary foods and procedures.
There is no excess but taxpayers must first deduct any payments received from another source, for example, from a health insurance policy.
Once any funds received from an insurer are deducted, tax relief is on the balance at 20pc.
You must retain receipts for up to six years but do not need to send them in to make a claim.