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Our expert's tips on how to make tax relief claims

There were several questions on tax relief arising from the column two weeks ago, so we asked personal tax expert and Managing Director of PayCheck Plus, Anne Reilly, to answer a couple.

Q Hugh is wondering if he can apply for tax back on rent for student accommodation.

Anne's reply: "Rent relief is available to those individuals paying for private rented accommodation used as a sole or main residence. If students were working and paying for the accommodation, they could claim the rent relief against their income.

"The credits for the year 2011 onwards applied to individuals who were renting a property on December 7, 2010, and are being withdrawn on a phased basis over the following seven years. No credit is due to individuals who began renting after that date."

Q Shaun works as a shop assistant in Co Kildare and says he has never claimed tax back. He adds that he has a partner and two-year-old daughter and drives three hours to work and back each day, which is "costing a fortune". He wants to know how to go about claiming any tax back.

Anne's reply: "Expenses incurred travelling to and from work are not allowable for tax relief. However, as a shop assistant you may claim 'Schedule E' expenses of €121 per year. You can make this claim for the past four years if you have been working in the sector for that time and have not claimed previously."

Given Shaun has a young daughter, Anne also suggests completing the Med 1 form for any medical expenses incurred. Anne says: "You can claim a tax credit of 20pc of expenses, going back four years. Retain all your receipts as Revenue may request to see them at any stage."

To make a claim Shaun can contact his local Revenue office or register for PAYE Anytime on www.revenue.ie to submit claims online.

Irish Independent