Wednesday 16 January 2019

Almost two million workers missing out on €500 of tax refunds

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Anne-Marie Walsh

Up to 1.8 million workers are missing out on tax refunds worth almost €500 by failing to claim relief on their medical expenses.

New figures reveal that most workers are not bothering to apply for benefits that could slash their tax bill.

Although the number of those claiming tax back has climbed by almost 70,000 in the last five years, almost two million people - including the self-employed - are failing to claim relief on medical and dental work.

They could be eligible for an average refund of €494 covering four years for medical expenses alone. Workers are entitled to basic dental checks on their PRSI. But tax relief can be claimed on non-routine expenses, as well as GP fees, medicine, physiotherapy, hospital, and surgical fees.

The average refund for medical expenses over four years totals €494, according to Taxback.com.

Commercial Director Eileen Devereux said most people have to make at least one trip to the doctor over the year.

“But even if they manage to avoid it this year – surely, they have had to go at some stage in the previous four years? she said.

“But Revenue figures show, in no uncertain terms, that the medical expense relief, which arguably has the most application to households throughout the country, is probably the most underutilised tax relief available.”

Other tax entitlements that can be claimed include flat-rate work-related expenses, which range from €21 for a kitchen porter to €2,476 for a member of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

Tax relief on rent, single parent tax credits and mortgage interest relief are among the other reliefs that can be applied for.

Some 2.2 million people are classified as taxpayers and are eligible to claim tax back on a variety of expenses.

But Revenue data shows that last year just 454,700 of these claimed medical expenses - or 20pc of the total number who may be eligible.

Revenue also revealed that 536,000 PAYE workers received tax relief under the flat-rate expenses regime this year, which suggests many thousands more are not applying for them.

It has written to more than 125,000 taxpayers reminding them to claim their expenses before a deadline at the end of this month.

From January 1, workers will no longer be able to claim tax back for 2014 as there is a four-year limit on refunds.

Irish Independent

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