Homes missing out on €880 tax refunds

Hard-pressed households are missing out on an average of €880 every year by failing to claim tax back.

According to www.Taxback.com, the average PAYE refund claim is €880, with the tax specialist saying that the effort required by the customer to get this is “minimal”.

The head of direct taxes with Taxback.com, Christine Keily, said all that is required from the individual is their PPS number, a few receipts, a signed application form or two, and the patience to wait just two to six weeks for their refund.

“Every year we have the same simple message — ‘get what’s owed to you in tax refunds’. And while tax efficiency has become more commonplace among the Irish public, there are still thousands of people who will leave hundreds of euro with the taxman this year. Don’t be one of them,” she said.

Ms Keily pointed out as an example that any taxpayer who has paid medical expenses over the last four years may be entitled to a refund.

“By way of advice I would begin with telling people to be sure to keep doctors receipts, tuition receipts, and any correspondence from Revenue. All of these will make the tax reclaim process so much easier. Also, there is no need to delay. You can retrospectively look at your entitlements from 2011 to 2014,” she said.

Taxback.com outlines the three main reliefs that have been changed in the last few years but can still be claimed.

Although the rate at which tax relief can be claimed on medical expenses has been cut from 41% back in 2008 to 20%, the relief is still available and can be claimed on most unreimbursed medical expenses.

Tax credit for tuition fees is still available. A change was introduced in 2011 where the relief does not apply to the first €2,000 of qualifying fees or, if less, the full amount. For part-time courses, the first €1,000 is disregarded in respect of each claim. In 2014, the amounts were €2,750 and €1,375, respectively. The maximum limit on qualifying fees is capped at €7,000.

The rent credit has been reduced to €160 for a single person in the year (€320 for married persons) and the tax credit is set to be phased out by the end of 2017. However, taxpayers still have an opportunity to claim the rent credit back to 2011.

For 2011 and subsequent years, the relief will only apply if you were in rented accommodation on December 7, 2010.

Other tax reliefs and incentives which are available include: n Rent-a-room relief;  Flat-rate expenses for certain employees; Exemption on income earned from caring for children in your own home;  The employment and investment incentive scheme; n and film relief and capital losses.

Ms Keily said people need to become more “tax efficient” and understand that you can still reclaim tax as far back as 2011.

“Austerity budgets may be over but there’s no doubt that the last few years have seen people pay more in taxes, stealth or otherwise, than ever before,” she said.

“This should really bring it home to people that they absolutely should claim back their entitlements from these years.

“Although there have been a variety of cuts to tax relief in recent years, many people are unaware of the fact that you can still reclaim tax as far back as 2011,” she added.

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