Households losing out by not claiming tax relief

Households are losing out on hundreds of euro every year by failing to claim back lesser-known tax reliefs.

Experts at Taxback.com pointed out that the most popular tax relief to be claimed is for unreimbursed medical expenses, but that many families continue to throw away receipts which will preclude them from making a claim.

The group said another big tax faux pas committed by people is simply not claiming refunds for some lesser-known reliefs.

Senior tax consultant at Taxback.com, Christine Keily, said these errors and omissions could be costing households up to hundreds of euros every year.

“While relief for unreimbursed medical expenses is easily the most popular relief to be claimed, there are items within this category that people are largely not aware of. For example, if you are a coeliac or a diabetic you may be entitled to claim tax relief in respect of the costs you incur through purchasing special foods.

“Also, if you attended a physiotherapist and have a letter from your doctor saying that the treatment was necessary, you may be able to claim tax relief in respect of the fees charged.”

Ms Keily said it was surprising many parents fail to claim tax relief for third- level fees, when families could save up to €900 a year if they review their entitlement to tax relief.

“For example, in 2013 college fees, excluding registration charges, of up to €7,000 can be claimed per individual per course. With relief given at the standard rate of 20% and the first €2,500 disregarded for full- time courses, up to €900 can be saved,” she said.

Taxback.com also warned families to be aware of the value of their medical receipts, stating that they remain the most common documents to be thrown out, as they are not required to submit with a claim.

“While you are not required to submit receipts with a claim, expenses should not be claimed unless receipts have been retained and are available for inspection.

“Medical receipts are the most common documents to be binned.

“People find it cumbersome retaining these pieces of paper but I would advise people that if you could just keep a shoe box into which you throw doctors’ bills, pharmacy receipts etc. Receipts should be retained for six years,” she said.

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