Colette Sexton, news correspondent at The Sunday Business Post, on how to beat the tax man.
Summer is a wonderful time of year but holidays, weddings and post-work beer garden drinks cause a serious dent in your pocket. Wouldn’t it be great to get an extra bit of cash to spend on some fun activities in the sun? The good news is that you might actually be owed money by revenue. Yes, the taxman that deducts a chunk of your pay packet every month might have to cough up funds to you for a change if you are due an income tax refund, and it is more common than you think.
One of the most overlooked tax reliefs is for medical expenses where relief can be claimed at the standard rate of 20 per cent, according to Maeve Corr, a Chartered Tax Advisor and Head of Private Client Services at Crowe Horwath.
“What can surprise many taxpayers is that medical expenses are more broadly defined that some may think,” Maeve said. While routine visits to the GP and prescription medicines are tax deductible, so are other medical expenses like dentist fees, IVF, prescribed cosmetic surgery, physiotherapy and maternity related expenses.
There are certain restrictions on this so check it out before you embark on expensive treatment to make sure that it qualifies. For those who may not have made a claim before, the good news is that it is possible to claim back up to four years’ expenses and a claim can be made not just for a taxpayer but for any of their dependents (cha-ching!).
Another tax relief comes in the form of flat-rate expenses.
“Taxpayers working in certain roles are entitled to what the Revenue Commissioners refer to as, “Flat-rate allowances”, whereby an additional tax credit is provided to compensate for a requirement of a specific job,” Maeve said. This includes things such as having to launder uniforms or providing tools for working at your own expense. For example, teachers can claim up to €608 per annum through their tax credit, while nurses can claim up to €733 per annum. The Revenue Commissioners has a detailed list of flat-rate expenses on its website so check it out.
Also watch out for tax credits your dependents might qualify for.
“Women are often the main caregiver, be it for an elderly relative or an incapacitated child. You may be entitled to claim for this tax credit, provided you meet the criteria,” Maeve said.
For example, if you provide care for a child with certain learning difficulties, you may claim up to €3,300 per annum.
If you think you are owed money, then it is quite easy to register on revenue.ie. Once you log your claims, Revenue tend to refund you within a number of weeks and it is goes directly into your bank account. Summer holidays, here you come!