Families missing out on hundreds of euro in health and tuition tax breaks
Published 22/03/2014 | 02:30
FAMILIES are missing out on up to €900 in tax breaks that can be claimed for tuition fees.
And many are also throwing away vital medical receipts that could be used to claim money back from the taxman, a commercial service which submits tax applications for consumers has said.
Unreimbursed medical expenses is the most popular tax relief to be claimed, with many people unaware of how many items can be claimed on, said Christine Keily, senior tax consultant with Taxback.com.
Although it did not have figures for the number of taxpayers failing to claim tax relief due, many of its clients were unaware of the full scope of what they could claim for.
For example, coeliacs or diabetics might be entitled to claim tax back for the cost of special foods, she said.
Physiotherapy fees where you have a letter from a doctor saying this treatment is necessary are also allowed.
While receipts did not have to be submitted with an application it was essential to keep them for six years as the Revenue can decide to check them.
Families should put all their doctors' bills, pharmacy receipts etc into a shoe box to make it easier to claim the tax back at the end of each year, she advised.
Tax relief on medical expe-nses is 20pc, meaning you'll get back €20 for every €100 spent.
Many parents were also not aware they could claim tax back on third-level fees for their children.
Taxpayers can claim 20pc tax relief on college fees of up to €7,000 per full-time student, excluding the first €2,500, meaning that up to €900 could be saved. However, the disregarded €2,500 applies to the total claim by a household rather than each student, so where there's two or more children all of the fees of the second or subsequent children would be eligible for tax relief at 20pc.
The amount that's disregarded – ie not eligible for relief – is rising to €2,750 in 2014/15 and €3,000 next year.
Ms Keily said that the Local Property Tax (LPT) might encourage more people to claim tax reliefs as it would bring tax to the forefront of their minds.
However it could also make it easier for the Revenue to look at people's tax affairs and probe more closely particularly if it found they were underpaying on the LPT.
Claiming tax back is simple and free by registering your PPS number on PAYE Anytime on revenue.ie, who will then send you a PIN to use online. Postal applications can be made on forms available from Revenue tax offices or revenue.ie.