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

The complete guide to claiming tax relief on medical expenses in Ireland

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Did you know that the average Irish family spends €2,600 on medical and dental expenses each year?

It's true!

And yet only 4 in 10 Irish people claim tax relief on the cost of their medical expenses.

The result?

A LOT of money in unclaimed tax refunds is left on the table every year.



So why is this happening?

Well for one thing, many people find tax to be confusing. They don't understand their tax entitlements or what they can and can't claim. So in the end they don't claim anything. And they potentially miss out on a substantial tax refund (the average PAYE tax refund is €1,880).

With this in mind, we've put together this handy guide to claiming tax relief on medical expenses in Ireland.

In this blog we'll outline how you can claim your medical expense tax relief and also flag some medical costs that do not qualify for relief a little later.

But first, let's start with the many medical expenses that are eligible for tax relief.

What kind of medical expenses are eligible for tax relief?

Firstly, for a medical expense to be eligible for relief it must be carried out by a registered practitioner (such as a doctor).

In truth, the full list of eligible medical expenses is pretty extensive. And if you have paid for eligible health expenses you will be entitled to claim relief at your standard rate of tax - 20% (nursing home expenses can be claimed at your highest rate of tax - 40%. More on this later).

Here's some examples of medical expenses that qualify for relief:

1. Doctor and Consultants Fees

The first one is arguably the most well-known type of medical expense.

In short, every time you visit the doctor you're entitled to claim tax relief at 20%.

This translates to a refund of €12 for every €60 you pay in GP fees. So if you visit the doctor three or four times in a year, it's easy to see how your tax refund can really start to build up.

The average Irish tax refund is €1,880


2. Prescriptions

If your doctor prescribes you with medication, you're entitled to claim for relief on the costs that you incur. And, if you're a Coelaic or Diabetic, and your doctor advises you to follow a suitable diet, you may also be entitled to claim for these costs on your tax return.

3. Ambulance

Should the worst happen and you need to travel to hospital in an ambulance you can claim for tax relief at 20% on the cost.

Paid medical bills?

Claim your tax back!

4. Physiotherapy

Getting physio sessions can be pretty pricey! And these costs can really add up if you need more than one session. Fortunately, you can claim tax back if you find you need to visit a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath (provided you are referred by a doctor).

Acupuncture treatment can also be eligible as long as you visit a qualified practitioner.



5. Diagnostic procedures

Break a bone recently? The costs associated with X-Rays, MRIs, CAT scans and other diagnostic procedures are all eligible for tax relief.

6. Maternity care

New mums can claim back tax relief on the cost of all GP and hospital visits, provided they have not been reimbursed or covered by medical insurance or medical cards.

What's more if you have undergone IVF– the cost of which can range anywhere from €5,000 - €40,000 – you're entitled to claim tax relief on the treatment fees at the standard rate of 20%.

Paid medical bills?

Claim your tax back!

7. Eye care

There is a long list of optical treatments which qualify for tax relief.

For example, if you've had laser eye surgery to improve your eyesight, you can claim this as an expense on your tax return.

However, it's important to note that you can't claim for tax back for routine eye sight testing or the provision and maintenance of glasses (or contact lenses).

The average Irish tax refund is €1,880


8. Kidney Patients

Kidney patients are entitled to claim tax relief on a wide range of expenses. For example CAPD patients can claim on the cost of electricity, telephone, laundry and medical appliances relating to their illness.

Plus if you have to travel to your kidney appointment by car, you can get tax relief at a rate of €0.18 per KM.

9. Child oncology

If you have a child who is receiving treatment for cancer or who has a permanent disability, you can claim tax relief on the following expenses:


If your child is being treated at home, you're entitled to a flat rate payment to cover telephone rental and calls. This is provided the expenses are directly related to the treatment of the child.

Overnight accommodation

If your child needs to stay overnight in hospital as part of their treatment and a parent or guardian is required to stay nearby, you can claim relief on the cost of staying in the hospital or accommodation (hotel or bed-and-breakfast etc.) nearby.

10. Non-routine dental expenses

It should be noted that you can't claim tax relief on every type of dental expense. But you can claim for non-routine dental expenses. Examples include:

  • Crowns
  • Veneers / etched fillings
  • Tip replacing
  • Posts
  • Inlays
  • Root canal treatments
  • Periodontal treatment
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Surgical extraction of impacted wisdom teeth (if undertaken in a hospital)
  • Bridgework


However you can't claim for tax relief on the following types of dental expenses.

  • Routine check ups
  • Extractions
  • Scaling and filing of teeth
  • Provision and maintenance of dentures

Paid medical bills?

Claim your tax back!

Other eligible medical expenses

  • Hearing aids
  • Speech and language therapy for a dependent child
  • An orthopaedic bed or chair
  • The services of a qualified nurse in the case of a serious illness
  • A wheelchair or wheelchair lift (no relief is available for any building work required to install the lift)
  • A computer required to help a person with a severe disability to communicate
  • Glucometer machine for a diabetic
  • Wigs, where necessary due to illness
  • Treatment from a psychologist or psychotherapist
  • The cost incurred by travelling to and from a hospital for the patient and accompanying parents or guardians and where such trips are shown to be essential to the treatment of a child
  • And more

The average Irish tax refund is €1,880


You shouldn't claim for tax relief on...

  • Routine dental care
  • Routine ophthalmic (eye) care, such as eye tests.
  • Cosmetic surgery or procedures, such as rhinoplasty, breast augmentation or Botox treatment (relief may be available if the surgery is required to correct a health issue)
  • Guide and assistance dog costs (instead you should claim the Guide Dog Allowance or Assistance Dog Allowance)


Frequently Asked Questions

I got treated abroad. Can I still claim tax relief?

Yes provided the treatment was carried out by a medical practitioner and would be eligible if it occurred in Ireland.

You can also claim any costs you incur for travel and accommodation if you are receiving healthcare that is not available in Ireland.

I have private health insurance. Am I entitled to claim tax relief on my medical expenses?

Every private health insurance customer is entitled to tax relief at a rate of 20% on the cost of the premium.

However, if you pay the cost of the premium yourself, you will not need to claim the benefit. Instead the relief is automatically given as a discount on the cost of the policy. This is known as tax relief at source (TRS).

But if your employer pays the cost of your premium (either in full or part) you will still be entitled to TRS but you will have to claim it yourself.

In order to avail of this tax relief, you must file an annual tax return and include details of the gross premium paid on your behalf by your employer (on which you have been charged BIK).

You will be entitled to further tax relief if your health insurance doesn't cover all of your medical costs. For example, if you are required to pay the first €150 in excess for the cost of a medical procedure, you're entitled to claim tax relief (at 20%) on the excess that you pay. This will work out to a refund of €30.

Read more about health insurance and tax relief here.


I pay nursing home fees on behalf of my father. Can I claim tax relief?

If you pay for the cost of nursing home fees (for yourself or others) you may be eligible for relief at your highest rate of tax (up to 40%) as long as:

  • the nursing home provides 24 hour on-site nursing care
  • the maintenance or treatment expenses incurred are in association with the services of a registered practitioner
  • the expenses are for diagnostic procedures carried out on the advice of a registered practitioner


Read more about tax relief for nursing home residents here

I care for my elderly mum at home. Is there any tax relief that I can claim?

If you care for a dependent relative you may qualify for the Dependent Relative Tax Credit.

You can claim this credit if you pay for the cost of maintaining:

  • A relative who can't maintain themselves due to ill-health or old age
  • Widowed or surviving civil partner parent of yourself or your spouse or civil partner, irrespective of health
  • Your child or spouse's child who lives with you and on whom you depend as a result of old age or ill health

The value of the credit depends on:

  • The cost of maintaining your dependent relative - the tax credit is the cost of maintenance up to €70 in 2019
  • If the income of your dependent relative exceeds €15,060 in 2019, no tax credit is due.

You can also claim relief on the cost of employing a qualified nurse at home at the standard rate of 20%.


Is there anything else I need to know?

You can only claim relief on medical expenses that you can account for. In other words, you'll need to keep all relevant documentation (like receipts and invoices) relating to your medical expenses in a safe place.

The tax man can come calling anytime within a six year period to review your tax paperwork – so make sure your filing cabinet is in order.


How to claim your tax back

You can apply for your tax entitlements by filing a tax return.

But if you want to leave the boring tax paperwork to someone else you should contact Taxback.com.

Here's why:

  • Our team will ensure you avail of every expense and relief you're entitled to
  • We'll transfer your maximum legal Irish tax refund straight to your bank account
  • It's a convenient online service. We do the work. You get the cash!
  • Got tax questions? Our live chat team are on hand 24/7 to support you

And remember you can go back four years to claim what you're owed. The average amount a Taxback.com customer receives is €1,880 – so it's definitely worth finding out what you're due!

Claim tax back on your medical expenses here

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.

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