Tax relief on medical expenses
You can claim income tax back on some types of healthcare expenses. Tax relief for most expenses is at the standard rate of tax. Relief on nursing home expenses is available at your highest rate of income tax.
You can claim tax relief on medical expenses you pay for yourself or for any other person.
You must claim tax relief within the 4 years following the year in which you paid for the healthcare.
Tax relief is also available for premiums paid for health insurance. This tax relief is included in the amount you pay, so you do not have to claim this relief.
What healthcare expenses can I claim tax back on?
You can claim tax relief on:
- Doctor and consultant fees
- Maintenance or treatment in a hospital, treatment facility (such as a clinic) or a nursing home
- Transport by ambulance
- Employing a qualified nurse at home
- Treatment from a psychologist or psychotherapist
- Kidney patients' expenses
- Specialised dental treatment
- Maternity care
- In-vitro fertilisation (IVF)
- Speech and language therapy for a child under 18 or in full-time education
- Educational psychological assessments for a child under 18 or in full-time education
Must be prescribed
The following healthcare qualifies for tax relief if prescribed by a doctor:
- Drugs and medicines
- Diagnostic procedures
- Physiotherapy or similar treatment
- Chiropody or podiatry (foot treatments)
- Orthoptic or similar treatment (for example, treatments for squints and eye movement disorders)
- Home nursing for a serious illness
These aids and devices qualify for tax relief if prescribed by a doctor:
- Hearing aid
- Orthopaedic bed or chair
- Wheelchair or wheelchair lift (no relief is due for alteration to the building to facilitate a lift)
- Glucometer machine for a diabetic
- A computer needed by someone with a severe disability to help them communicate
You can also claim for gluten-free food if you have coeliac disease or diabetic products if you have diabetes. Instead of a prescription, you can use a letter from a doctor stating that you have coeliac disease or diabetes. You can use receipts from supermarkets or chemists.
These lists do not include every expense that is eligible. Revenue adds to the list of treatments and appliances that you can get tax relief on from time to time. If you are undergoing a new procedure or availing of a new appliance, it is worth checking whether you can claim tax relief. For more information, see the Revenue website.
Expenses that are excluded
You cannot claim tax back for expenses refunded by:
- A public or local authority, for example, the HSE (Health Service Executive)
- An insurance policy
- Any other source, for example, compensation
If you have private health insurance, you can claim tax relief on the portion of those qualifying expenses not covered by your insurer.
You cannot claim relief for cosmetic surgery costs, unless you need the surgery as a result of a personal injury, disease or congenital abnormality.
Travelling abroad for treatment
You can claim tax relief on the cost of medical treatment you get outside Ireland. The healthcare provider must be entitled to practise in the country where the care is provided.
If the qualifying healthcare is only available outside Ireland, you can also claim for reasonable travel and accommodation expenses. If you need someone to go with you because of your medical condition, their expenses may be covered (for one accompanying person).
If your child needs to travel for treatment, the expenses of both parents may be allowed in special cases where it is necessary for you both to be with the child.
Dental and optical (eye) treatment
You cannot get tax relief for routine ophthalmic (eye) treatment – sight tests, glasses or contact lenses.
You can get tax relief for orthoptic or similar treatment prescribed by a doctor. This means the examination and treatment by exercise of squints and other eye disorders.
You cannot get tax relief for routine dental treatment:
- Scaling or cleaning
- Artificial teeth and dentures
You can get tax relief for the following dental treatments:
- Veneers or Rembrandt-type etched fillings
- Tip replacing
- Gold or fibreglass posts
- Endodontics (root canal treatment)
- Periodontal treatment for gum disease
- Orthodontic treatment (braces and related treatments)
- Surgical extraction of impacted wisdom teeth
Nursing home care
You can claim tax relief on expenses for a nursing home if it provides 24-hour on-site nursing care.
You can claim the tax relief for nursing home expenses that you pay for yourself or for someone else.
This relief applies at the highest rate of income tax you pay. If you pay the higher rate of tax, the higher rate of 40% applies to income that is above the standard rate cut-off point. The nursing home expenses you pay are deducted from your total income, reducing the amount of your income that is taxable at the higher rate. Revenue provides examples of tax relief on nursing home expenses.
If you avail of the Fair Deal Nursing Home Loan, you or your estate can claim tax relief when the loan is repaid. This is usually when you sell the asset that was used as security or after you die.
You can claim relief on the cost of employing a qualified nurse at home at the standard rate of 20%.
See the Revenue website for more information on employing a qualified nurse in the home.
Children with serious illness or permanent disability
You can claim tax relief on the following expenses if your child needs constant or regular hospital care and they have:
- An illness that is life threatening
- A permanent disability
Telephone: If your child is being treated at home, you can claim a flat rate relief to cover telephone rental and calls that are directly related to the treatment.
Overnight accommodation: If you are the parent or guardian and you have to stay near the hospital overnight for your child’s treatment, you can claim relief on the cost of the accommodation.
Travel: For trips essential to the treatment of your child, you can claim for travelling to and from hospital, for the costs of the child and the parents or guardians. There is a mileage allowance if you use a private car.
Hygiene products and special clothing: You can claim up to €500 for hygiene products and special clothing needed for your child’s treatment.
You do not need to claim the relief – it is given as a reduction in the amount of the insurance premium you pay. This is known as tax relief at source.
However, in some situations tax relief at source does not apply, for example, where an employer pays the medical insurance premiums on behalf of an employee. This is treated as a Benefit in Kind and tax is due on the total amount.
This means that the employee does not get the tax relief at source on the insurance premium. You can instead make a claim directly to Revenue.
The relief is given at the rate of 20% of the cost. This is up to a maximum of €1,000 per adult and €500 per child. A child is someone under 21 years of age that a child premium has been paid for.
Tax relief on medical and health expenses is given at the standard rate of 20%.
However, tax relief on nursing home expenses can be claimed at your highest rate of tax. This means that the portion of your income which is taxable at your highest rate of tax is reduced.
How to apply
You must claim tax relief within the 4 years that follow the year you paid for the healthcare.
If you received healthcare in one year but paid for it the following year, you can choose to claim the relief for either year.
If you are a PAYE (Pay As You Earn) taxpayer, you can claim tax relief online using myAccount.
If are a self-assessed taxpayer, use Revenue Online Service (ROS) and complete the health expenses section on your annual Income Tax Return (Form 11).
You can only claim for medical expenses if you have receipts to prove your claim. For dental expenses, your dentist should complete Form Med 2 (pdf) for you to use as a receipt.
Revenue's myAccount service includes a receipts tracker service which allows you to store your receipt details online. If you use this service, you can claim tax relief under the Real Time Credit service. This means that you can claim for health expenses and nursing home expenses when you pay them and get increased tax credits in your next payroll payment from your employer. You can make a Real Time Credit claim using myAccount.
If you don't use the receipt tracker, you must keep your medical receipts for 6 years because Revenue may ask to see them.
You can also claim medical expenses relief offline by completing a paper Form 12 (pdf) and returning it to your Revenue office. If you are not able to use Revenue’s online services you can use Form 12S (pdf) (a simplified version for routine tax returns). You can also request to have a Form 12 or Form 12S sent to you by calling Revenue on (01) 738 3675 or by emailing email@example.com.