How to claim your tax back; Tax credits you didn't know about
3 November 2023
Paul Merriman advises on how you can put some money back in your pocket with annual tax returns.
Hundreds of thousands of Irish people are due tax refunds
Many people are not aware of tax credits that they are entitled to and therefore are missing out on claiming tax refunds that can put money back in their pockets.
Have you ever submitted an annual tax return to Revenue and felt like you've missed something? Perhaps you've forgotten about certain expenses or tax credits that you're entitled to claim back? It's a common problem, but one that's easily fixed. Or maybe you have never completed a tax return, not knowing it was even an option for you. If you have undertaken a fee-paying college course or paid medical expenses, you may be entitled to a refund.
In this blog, we're going to explore seven options there are when it comes to tax returns and some of the "forgotten returns" that you might be able to claim back when submitting your tax return.
1. Medical Expenses Tax Credit
Did you know that you can claim tax relief on medical expenses? This includes expenses like doctor's fees, prescription medicines, and certain medical appliances. You can claim back 20% of the cost of these expenses, so it's definitely worth keeping track of them throughout the year. If you're paying for medical expenses for a dependent, you may be able to claim relief on their behalf as well.
In order to claim a medical expense, you need to retain all relevant receipts to prove you paid for the expense in the event of an audit. One handy tip is to set yourself up with a separate email address that you can easily send all relevant receipts to so they are in one place when it comes to filing returns.
2. Rent Tax Credit
If you're renting a property in Ireland, you may be entitled to claim back some of the tax you've paid on your rent. This is called Rent Tax Credit. The amount of Rent Tax Credit you can claim will be calculated for you when you submit your claim. This amount will depend on the amount of rent you pay and the income tax you pay.
The maximum value of the tax credit is €500 per individual person. However, there are some restrictions on who can claim this relief, so make sure to check if you qualify. For example, the Rent Tax Credit will not be available for digs type arrangements if you are related to your landlord or, if you are paying rent on behalf of your child.
3. Flat-rate expense allowance
Flat-rate expenses are a form of tax allowance that can be claimed by workers from certain industries that help towards the costs associated with their job. These costs include anything from tools to uniforms and even stationery.
There is a set amount allocated to each occupation and everyone can claim the same amount, regardless of how much they earn - hence the name 'flat rate'. This option covers everyone from driving instructors and veterinary nurses to carpenters and airline cabin crews are eligible for the allowance.
Here's the full list of occupations eligible for flat rate expence allowance
4. College Tuition Fees Tax Relief
If you or your child are attending college, you may be able to claim tax relief on tuition fees. This relief applies to tuition fees paid for approved undergraduate and postgraduate courses at approved colleges. You can claim back up to 20% of the cost of these fees. The first €3,000 is disregarded for a full-time student or €1,500 for a part-time student. If you have paid fees for more than one student, this disregard amount will only be deducted from your claim once.
5. Working from home tax relief
With working from home and hybrid working options more commonplace these days, there has been exponential growth in interest in the tax relief available to those working away from the office.
If you work from home, it's possible to claim tax relief on certain expenses such as your electricity, heating, and even your broadband. Since 2022, you can claim tax relief on up to 30% of your heating and electricity costs and up to 30% on your broadband costs (for previous years you can only claim up to 10% of your heating and electricity, while broadband remains at 30%). However, 30% is the absolute maximum you can apply for and would only be possible if you spent 365 days working from home.
6. Home Carers Tax Credit
If you're caring for a dependent at home, you may be entitled to claim the Home Carers Tax Credit. This credit is worth €1,700 per year and can be claimed by a person who is caring for a dependent at home for at least 35 hours per week.
If you earn less than €7,200, then you can claim the full tax credit available. If you earn more than €7,200, you will receive a reduced tax credit, and the total tax credits available will be reduced by one-half of the difference between your income and €7,200. If your income is €10,600 or more during the year then you cannot claim the tax credit.
7. Tax credits for coeliac and diabetic specialised food
If you're a coeliac or a diabetic and have to follow a specialised diet, then chances are you know how expensive food items can be. As a result, you can claim tax relief on the cost of food that's specifically tailored for these types of diets. To qualify for this relief, you will need:
- To be diagnosed by your doctor as a diabetic or coeliac,
- A letter from your doctor stating that they have advised you to maintain a diabetic or coeliac diet
- It's important to note that while claiming these credits and reliefs can result in a tax refund, it's not always the case. In some situations, you may have to make a repayment to Revenue. For example, if you've claimed relief on medical expenses but later receive a refund from your health insurance, you may need to pay back some of the relief you received.