Thursday 19 July 2018

Ask and you shall receive

Every year millions of Euro in tax rebates goes unpaid by Revenue, but all you have to do is claim, says Sinead Ryan

Helping hand: The Home Carer tax credit was increased from €1,100 to €1,200 in the Budget
Helping hand: The Home Carer tax credit was increased from €1,100 to €1,200 in the Budget
Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

As you pore over the miserable fiver a week (or was it a tenner?) that Minister Donohoe bestowed on you in this month's Budget, don't fret.

October is also the time for taxpayers to claim back what they're entitled to and the list may be longer than you think. Each year, millions of Euro goes unpaid to thousands of people by Revenue because they simply don't ask for it. You need to claim by October 31 and here's how.

You don't need an expensive accountant - all the forms are available on Revenue's website (revenue.ie) or by asking Citizens Information. See the table for what to ask for and what you're entitled to. Some tax credits were even increased in the Budget and you're allowed back-claim for up to four years for many of them.

The processing time is a few weeks, and you'll have it back before Christmas, so you really have nothing to lose.

Barry Flanagan of Taxback.com says: "Given that it usually takes people under an hour of their time to cobble together the necessary receipts and fill out the relevant documentation, it's probably the easiest money you'll ever make!"

Home Carer Tax Credit

Commonly assumed to be available only to people minding an elderly relative or incapacitated child, it often goes unclaimed. In fact, any stay-at-home parent minding children can get it, as long as they don't earn more than €7,200pa. It's just gone up to €1,200 in the Budget, which, at 20pc relief, is worth €240.

Tuition Fees

Twenty per cent tax relief is allowed on college fees over €3,000 (the current Student Contribution) and up to €7,000pa.

However, what's not commonly realised is that the €3,000 exemption is a family limit, so if you have more than one child in college, you can claim the relief on anything above that. It's worth up to €1,400pa.

Elder Care

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, or receiving home care for which you are paying, there is full tax relief at the marginal rate (ie. 20pc or 40pc) for the bill payer. This is extremely generous, allowing relief on up to €75,000 spent pa.

Bear in mind however that the relief must be claimed in the year in which it is paid (ie. it can't be back-dated) and it's only available to taxpayers.

This is important as many pensioners don't pay tax, so it's a good idea to have an adult child on the top rate pay the bill and then claim the relief.

Medical Expenses

Over €150m is returned to taxpayers for medical expenses each year. You are entitled to claim 20pc back on all medical bills and some dental procedures. Medical includes GP fees, procedures, consultants, medicines (including the €144 pm spent under the Drugs Payment Scheme) and there is no excess.

Keep all your pharmacy and doctor receipts but there's no need to send them in.

If you have private health insurance which covers some of this, then you are allowed tax relief on anything not covered.

For dental benefits, it is limited to 'non routine' procedures, like expensive crowns, root canal work or braces.

Health Insurance

If your employer pays your health insurance, you are normally charged benefit-in-kind as a tax. But you're also allowed tax relief of up to €200 and it is not your payroll department's job to look for this, so ask Revenue yourself.

Pensions

There is no higher tax relief available than that pertaining to pension contributions. While your employer may deduct it at source, if you are making additional voluntary contributions (AVCs), you need to apply for relief directly. It is available at 20pc or 40pc depending on your tax status.

Irish Independent

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