Smart Consumer: Want to make some extra cash? Get in touch with the taxman!
'It's like getting a pay rise, but without any cost to your employer," says Anne Reilly, founder and Managing Director of Paycheck Plus.
How do you do that? Simply by making sure you are claiming all the tax relief you are entitled to as an employee.
"Maybe there is an innate fear of approaching Revenue," suggests Anne, but she points out that "claiming tax relief is easier than ever. You can do a lot online and even register and submit claims by text."
Andrea McDonnell, tax adviser with taxback.com, agrees that many people mistakenly think that the process of claiming tax relief is arduous or time-consuming.
"Thousands of households each year let tax reliefs go unclaimed," she says, "but for saving money, claiming tax back is definitely one of the easiest and most cost effective."
Reilly points out that, as there will be no tax credit changes in 2012, employees may not be issued a tax cert automatically as in previous years. So you should request one so that you can read on the back what credits you are currently receiving.
Then find out about available credits and start claiming.
According to McDonnell, "The most popular tax savings for people usually come from tax relief on medical expenses, rent and tuition fees," but there are a lot of other areas in which tax savings can be made.
Here are just some that could add extra euro to your bank balance.
Are you an electrician, waiter or shop assistant? If so, do you know that you're entitled to tax relief on job-related expenses?
This is the flat rate expense allowance (Schedule E expenses).
For electricians that's €153; shop assistants €121; waiters €97; plumbers €177; bricklayers €175; mechanics €42; hotel managers €191.
If your expenses amount to more than that, then claim for more. And don't forget to claim for the last four full tax years.
Year of Marriage
If you've recently wed inform your local tax office to have your earnings reassessed and if you paid too much you'll be refunded the difference backdated to the date of your marriage.
Reilly also points out that tax allowances can be transferred between spouses, so it makes sense to transfer these to the higher earning spouse to get more benefit from the credit.
Age Tax Credit
Even if you turned 65 on December 31, you can claim the age tax credit for the whole of 2011, which amounts to €245. Plus if you're married and one of you turned 65 at any time during 2011, you can claim a double tax credit of €490 for the whole year.
Medical and dental expenses
Complete the Med 1 form to get tax relief at 20% on medical expenses. You don't have to submit receipts, but Reilly advises that it's good practice to keep them for five years.
For non-routine dental treatment fill out the Med 2 form for your 20% relief and this also applies to work carried out in Belfast or Budapest. And don't forget the 41% tax relief on nursing home fees.
If you care for an incapacitated child who lives with you, you can claim €3,300, €70 can be claimed if you care for a dependent relative at your expense, that is unless the dependent's income exceeds €13,387. If you're married and stay at home to look after a dependent (that could be a child), get the home carer tax credit which will be worth €810 to you.
Yes, tax relief on bin charges was abolished from 2011, but McDonnell reminds us that we can still claim the relief for prior years (back to 2008) if you haven't claimed already.
McDonnell says that many of these reliefs and more remain untouched. Reilly adds that PAYE, PRSI and the USC account for more money to Revenue than VAT and corporation tax combined, so she feels it's high time to put the spotlight back on payroll tax.
You're entitled to it, so go and get it. And Happy New Year.