If you worked in any of these countries, you could be due a Tax Refund

Medical MythBusters! We cut through 10 of the most common Irish medical expense myths

Been to the doctor recently? Or have you needed medicine to treat a cough or cold?

Most people accumulate some medical expenses over the course of a year. And yet, only four in 10 Irish people claim the tax refund on these costs that they are perfectly entitled to.

Irish people visit their GP three times per year on average, spending €171 each time in the process. One-in-five will spend more than €250 visiting their doctor. That is according to a survey from VideoDoc.

In Ireland, every taxpayer can claim a refund of 20% on certain medical expenses (that are not covered by either the State or health insurance). For example, this amounts to a refund €10 for every €50 GP visit. And, as you can go back four years in your refund application, it's easy to see how the figures can really add up.

So why are so few people claiming?


With this in mind, we're here to breakdown some of the most common myths that surround medical expenses


Claim 1 - I can only claim relief on expenses that relate to myself

Verdict – Myth!

When you are claiming for a medical expense refund, the key thing to keep in mind is who paid for the expense, not who the treatment relates to.

In other words, you can claim for a medical expense for another individual as long as you paid the bill. For example, parents are entitled to claim for expenses that relate to their kids.


Claim 2 – Medical expenses paid for abroad are not eligible

Verdict – Myth!

As long as the cost is for an eligible medical expense and the treatment is provided by a registered practitioner, it doesn't matter if the expense happens outside of Ireland.


Claim 3 – Every dental procedure is eligible for tax relief

Verdict - Myth!

Only specialised dental treatment is eligible for relief.

Procedures like the extraction*, scaling and filling of teeth and the provision and repairing of artificial teeth or dentures are excluded from relief.

*Note: if the treatment was, for example, of an orthodontic nature, involving the extraction of a tooth as part of that treatment, relief would be allowed for the cost of the orthodontic treatment excluding the cost of the extraction.

Examples of specialised dental treatments include:

  • Crowns
  • Veneers/ Etched Fillings
  • Tip Replacing
  • Post and Core Build-ups
  • Inlays
  • Endodontics - Root Canal Treatment
  • Periodontal Treatment
  • Orthodontic Treatment
  • Surgical Extraction of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
  • Bridgework


Claim 4 – I've got private health insurance so I can't claim medical expenses

Verdict - Myth!

You're still entitled to claim for relief on medical costs that are not covered by your insurance.

For example, John is in hospital to undergo a medical procedure. The cost of this procedure is €1,000. John has private medical insurance. As part of his insurance he must pay the first €150 in excess. John is entitled to claim tax relief at 20% of €150 (€30).


Claim 5 – I have a wheat and gluten food intolerance and I can claim relief for expenses relating to this

Verdict – Myth!


Not all food related medical expenses qualify for tax relief and costs relating to food intolerances such as dairy, wheat and gluten are not eligible.

However, if you have been diagnosed as a coeliac or diabetic, the cost of gluten free foods or 'diabetic' products required as part of your diet, are allowable. But in order to claim these expenses, you will need a letter from your doctor confirming the diagnosis and that the products are purchased on their advice.

The average Irish tax refund is €1,880


Claim 6 – I'll never 'see' any tax benefit from getting laser eye surgery!

Verdict - Myth!

Laser eye surgery is considered to be a general medical expense and is therefore usually allowable for tax relief. However, you must ensure that a qualified practitioner carries out the procedure.


Claim 7 – I'm choosing to get IVF treatment so therefore I can't claim it as a medical expense

Verdict - Myth!

As long as the IVF treatment is carried out by a qualifying practitioner, you will be entitled to tax relief. And, if the treatment involves you staying overnight in a hospital, you may also be entitled to relief on the associated costs.


Claim 8 – There's no need to keep your receipts as they are not required when you claim

Verdict – Myth!

Yes, it's true that you won't need to send in your receipts when you are claiming your refund.

But it's important to keep your medical expense receipts for at least 6 years. This is because Revenue may request to see them at a later date.


Claim 9 - It will not be worth my while claiming back medical expenses

Verdict - Myth!

It's definitely worth claiming tax back on medical expenses! For example, if you've been to the doctor 5 times in the last four years and the cost of each trip is €50, you'll be entitled to a refund of €50. Not bad! And, as it's your money anyway, you may as well claim it!


Claim 10 – Applying for medical expenses is really difficult and takes a long time

Verdict - Myth!

Nothing could be further from the truth! You could apply for your refund directly yourself. Or you could let the Taxback.com tax team take care of all the boring paperwork for you. Then, before you know it, your refund will land straight into your bank account. Simple!

We can file your tax return, ensure that you're availing of every relief you're entitled to and retrieve your maximum legal refund for you. Our average refund is €1,880.

Get your refund today!

The average Irish tax refund is €1,880


About The Author

Mark Corcoran - Digital Content Executive @ Taxback.com

Mark is the Digital Content Executive at Taxback.com. Since graduating from Griffith College Dublin with a degree in Journalism and Visual Media, his work has been published both in print and online.

Live Chat Help
Mark Corcoran - Digital Content Executive @ Taxback.com in