Tax Relief Available for Coeliac Disease Sufferers in Ireland
A recent survey conducted by Taxback has revealed that many people in Ireland are unaware of the tax relief available for those with coeliac disease or other dietary requirements due to medical conditions. The survey found that six in 10 people are unaware that they can claim 20% tax relief on certain food products purchased as a result of dietary requirements linked to a medical condition. The Coeliac Society of Ireland estimates that there are 76,500 people suffering from coeliac disease in Ireland, with an additional 400,000 people being gluten intolerant. However, the survey found that only 38% of adults are aware of the tax relief, leaving the majority unaware of this benefit.
The cost of certain food products for those with coeliac disease can be significantly higher than non-gluten-free alternatives, with some gluten-free foods costing up to 75% more. This makes the tax relief on these products incredibly valuable. Marian Ryan of Taxback highlights the financial stress that families on low incomes and those facing the cost-of-living crisis experience when treating coeliac disease through a strict gluten-free diet. The tax relief can make a significant difference in alleviating this financial burden. Ryan also expresses concern over the poor awareness of this relief, stating that many eligible individuals are missing out on claiming what they are due.
Coeliac disease is estimated to affect up to 76,500 individuals in Ireland, with only 17% of them being diagnosed. This leaves approximately 62,250 people living with undiagnosed coeliac disease. To claim the tax relief, individuals must provide Revenue with a letter from their doctor stating their medical condition and specific dietary requirements. They must also keep receipts for gluten-free food purchases, which can be obtained from supermarkets, health stores, and other shops. Supermarket loyalty schemes can provide a listing of all gluten-free foods purchased throughout the year if the products were scanned using the loyalty card. However, it is important to note that the purchase of gluten-free products as a lifestyle choice or for non-medical reasons does not qualify for tax relief.
Marian Ryan emphasizes the challenges faced by individuals living with medical conditions, allergies, or food intolerances and the additional expenses they incur. She calls for more efforts to raise awareness about the availability of tax relief for special dietary foods. This relief is just one of many that often go unclaimed. Individuals can also claim back 20% of doctor bills and a range of other medical expenses, such as consultant fees, maternity care, IVF, and speech and language therapy for children. Receipts are not always necessary, as doctors and pharmacies may have records of GP visits and prescriptions.
While routine dental treatments are not eligible for tax relief, less common procedures such as crowns, tip replacements, and orthodontic treatment can be claimed. Nursing home costs, which can be very expensive, are also eligible for tax relief. The Fair Deal scheme, operated by the HSE, provides financial support for long-term nursing home care. Contributions made by family members towards nursing home costs can be claimed for tax relief, with significant refunds available. Third-level tuition fees are another area where individuals are missing out on substantial refunds. Tax relief is granted at the standard rate of 20%, with a limit of €7,000 per course.
It is crucial for individuals to be aware of the various tax reliefs available to them. Claiming these reliefs can provide much-needed financial support and alleviate the burden of medical expenses. The Revenue website provides a comprehensive list of eligible expenses and further information on how to claim tax relief.