Health Expenses Relief

Posted on 26 June 2013 by Accountant

You can get a tax back on paid health or medical expenses for last 4 years. For example, you must submit your claim before the end of the year 2013 for medical expenses paid in 2009.

You may claim tax relief for any qualifying health expenses which you paid for any person, not just relatives. Medical expenses cannot be claimed if you have been refunded from a health insurance company.

Tax relief is available up to 41% tax rate for expenses paid in 2009; if you only paid tax at 20% tax rate, you get 20% relief, but if you paid tax at 41%, you get 41% relief.


John paid €1,000 for qualifying health expenses in 2009. Part of his salary was taxed at 41%, that’s why he will get tax back as follows: €1,000 x 0.41 (41%) = €410. Revenue will refund him €410 for 2009 regarding his Health expenses claim.

If John would pay tax only at 20%, he would get tax back as follows: €1,000 x 0.20 (20%) = €200. Revenue would refund him €200 for 2009 regarding his Health expenses claim.

From the tax year 2010, tax relief for all medical expenses is allowed at the standard rate of tax (20%), but relief for nursing home expenses is allowable at the higher rate of tax (41%).

Qualifying Health Expenses


Prescribed Drugs and medicine

– maximum payments of €132/month (€1,584/year) for 2012 under the Drug Payment Scheme.

Diagnostic procedures

Orthoptic or similar treatment

Treatment in hospital or nursing home

Only for the year 2009 the hospital/nursing home must be on the Revenue list of approved hospitals and nursing homes. This requirement does not apply from 2010.

For claims from the year 2010 and following years, the nursing home must provide qualified nursing care on-site on a 24-hour per day basis.

Physiotherapy or similar treatment

Allowable treatments include treatment by a chiropractor, osteopath and bonesetter. Acupuncture treatment is not allowable unless carried out by a person who is a qualified practitioner.

Medical appliances

Cost of supply, maintenance or repair of any medical, surgical, dental or nursing appliance.

Examples of appliances:

  • Glucometer machine for a diabetic,
  • Hearing aid,
  • Orthopaedic bed or chair if patient is suffering from a specific illness or disability,
  • Wheelchair or Wheelchair Lift for a disabled person, but not for alteration to the building to facilitate a lift,
  • Exercise bicycle, where medical evidence indicates that this is necessary for health care,
  • Computer, where medical evidence is produced that a computer is necessary to alleviate communication problems of a severely handicapped person,
  • False eye,
  • Wig, where medical evidence indicates that it is necessary for health care.


GP, doctor and consultant visits

Cost of speech and language therapy (approved therapist) for a child

Cost of educational psychological assessments (approved psychologist) for a child

‘In vitro’ fertilization

Routine maternity care

Engaging a qualified nurse in the case of serious illness

Laser vision correction surgery provided by a qualifying practitioner

Special diet for Coeliac/ Diabetic

Coeliac/ Diabetic who follow a special diet, can claim cost of gluten-free/diabetic foods.
Ask your doctor for a letter that confirms that you are coeliac/diabetic. Keep receipts for drugs/medicines and  receipts from shops, supermarkets, etc., regarding your gluten-free/diabetic food products.

Cost of a trained guide dog supplied by the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind

You will need to submit a letter from Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind confirming that you are a registered guide dog owner. Relief is allowed as an annual sum of €825.

Travel Expenses

Tax relief may be claimed for transport by ambulance. Where regular continuing treatment or consultation is required and the patient has to travel long distances, tax relief may be claimed for the cost of travelling other than by ambulance.

If you use a private car, you need to specify the number of trips and number of kilometres (or mileage).
The cost of travel is €0.27 per mile (€0.17 per km) for years from 2009 to 2012.

No relief is available for the car parking fees. No relief is available for minor local travelling expenses or occasional travelling (e.g. to undergo an operation, unless by ambulance).

If the qualifying health care is only available outside Ireland

You can claim the cost of reasonable traveling and accommodation expenses. If the condition of the patient requires accompanying person, expenses of traveling of that person are allowed as well. Where the patient is a child, the expenses of one parent is generally allowed and, exceptionally, of both parents where it is clear that both have to be in attendance.

Children with life threatening illnesses

This category includes child oncology patients and children with permanent disabilities who require constant or regular hospital care.

Apart from normal health expenses and travel expenses mentioned earlier you can claim:

A: Telephone

Where the child is treated at home, a flat rate to include telephone rental and calls may be claimed. The rates are as follows:

2009 2010 2011 2012
€301 €300 €310 €305
B: Cost for Overnight Accommodation

Overnight accommodation in or near the hospital for parent or guardian, if the child is being treated overnight.

C: Hygiene products and special clothing

Relief is allowed to a maximum of €500 per year.

Note: Cost of minding brothers or sisters of the patient while the parents attend the hospital are not allowable.

Kidney patients

Apart from normal health expenses, you can claim following expenses depending on whether the patient uses hospital dialysis, home dialysis or chronic ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD).

  1. Hospital dialysis patients
    You can claim the cost of travelling to and from hospital. If you use a private car, you need to specify the number of trips and number of kilometres (or mileage).
    The cost of travel is €0.36 per mile (€0.23 per km) for the year 2009 and €0.27 per mile (€0.17 per km) for years from 2010 to 2012.
  2. Home dialysis patients
    The patient uses a dialysis machine at home.
    You can claim following expenses:







    €1,665 €1,665 €1,910 €1,935

    Laundry and protective clothing

    €1,940 €1,925 €1,985 €1,960


    €301 €300 €310 €305
    Travel cost

    The cost of travelling to and from hospital. If you use a private car, you need to specify the number of trips and number of kilometres (or mileage).
    The cost of travel is €0.27 per mile (€0.17 per km) for years from 2009 to 2012.

  3. Chronic ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) patients
    The patient has treatment at home without the use of a dialysis machine.You can claim following expenses:

    Expenses 2009 2010 2011 2012
    Electricity €1,315 €1,315 €1,508 €1,530
    Telephone €301 €300 €310 €305
    Travel cost

    The cost of travelling to and from hospital. If you use a private car, you need to specify the number of trips and number of kilometres (or mileage).
    The cost of travel is €0.27 per mile (€0.17 per km) for years from 2009 to 2012.

Medical treatment outside Ireland

You may claim tax relief for expenses paid abroad. The following expenses qualify for tax relief:

  • the cost of qualifying treatment carried out by a practitioner (GP, consultant or dentist) if such practitioner practice medicine or dentistry under the laws of the country,
  • the cost of maintenance or treatment in a hospital, nursing home or clinic, if it is on the advice of a practitioner.


Examples of Appliances for which relief is not allowable

  • Car (for disabled person): The cost of the provision of a specially adapted car for a disabled person would not qualify as an appliance,
  • Construction Work: The cost of structural alterations or improvements to a private residence to facilitate an incapacitated person,
  • Telephone: The installation of a telephone, the rental of same or the cost of calls.
    Exceptions are some kidney patients, child oncology patients, children with life threatening illnesses and children with permanent disabilities, who can claim telephone expenses.

Cosmetic Surgery

Relief is not allowable for cosmetic surgery. However, if you had the operation to correct a breathing difficulty, relief may be allowable if the main reason for the surgery was “health care”.

Assistance dogs for autistic children do not qualify for the relief

Routine Ophthalmic Care

Tax relief is not available for the cost of sight testing or the provision and maintenance of spectacles and contact lenses.

Dental Expenses

Relief is available for non-routine dental treatment as follows:


These are restorations fabricated outside the mouth and are permanently cemented to existing tooth tissue.

Veneers/Rembrandt Type Etched Fillings

These are a form of crown.

Tip Replacing

This is regarded as a crown where a large part of the tooth needs to be replaced and the replacement is made outside the mouth.

Gold Posts/Fibreglass posts

These are inserts in the nerve canal of a tooth, to hold a crown.

Gold Inlays

These are a smaller version of a gold crown. Only allowable if fabricated outside of the mouth.

Endodontics – Root Canal Treatment

This involves the filling of the nerve canal and not the filling of teeth.

Periodontal Treatment

Root Planing is a treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. Currettage and Debridement is part of root planing. Gum Flaps is a gum treatment. Chrome Cobalt Splint if used in connection with periodontal treatment (if it contains teeth, relief is not allowable). Implants following treatments of periodontal (gum) disease, which included bone grafting and bone augmentation.

Orthodontic Treatment

This involves the provision of braces and similar treatments.

Surgical Extraction of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

The surgical removal of impacted teeth carried out either in a hospital or in a dental surgery is not regarded as ‘routine dental treatment’ and relief is allowed.


Dental treatment consisting of an enamel-retained bridge or a tooth-supported bridge is allowable.

Tax relief is not available for the cost of scaling, extraction and filling of teeth or the provision of artificial teeth or dentures.

If, however, the treatment is, for example, of an orthodontic nature, involving the extraction of a tooth as part of that treatment, relief would be allowed for the cost of the orthodontic treatment excluding the cost of the extraction.

Claims for non-routine dental treatment

An individual claiming relief on Form Med 1 for non-routine dental treatment must hold a Form Med 2 which is signed and certified by the dental practitioner.

Non-routine dental treatment obtained outside Ireland may be allowed if the dentist is a qualified practitioner under the laws of his/her country. The dentist needs to complete a Form Med 2 – Dental Expenses – Certificate by Dental Practitioner.

How to claim tax relief for qualifying Health Expenses

You may claim:

It is important to fill in a MED1 form including all expenses within the relevant tax year.

Claims for tax relief for health expenses should be made after the end of the tax year in which the expenses were incurred.

If you incur Health Expenses in one tax year but pay for it in a later tax year you have two options how to claim. You may claim the relief in the year in which you incur the expenditure or you may claim the relief in the year in which you pay for the expenditure.

In certain circumstances relief may be granted during the year. For example, a PAYE worker paying monthly nursing home fees for his/her mother can get the tax relief due on these fees through the PAYE system during the tax year instead of waiting until the end of the tax year. In such case you should contact your local tax office with details of your claim.

Keeping receipts

You don’t need to send any receipts for health expenses with your claim. Claims for health expenses are processed according to the information shown on the claim form.

If Revenue require clarification of your claim, they will contact you and ask you to submit receipts.

You should keep all receipts and forms Med 2 for a period of six years, because your claim may be selected for detailed Revenue examination in the future.


Don’t forget to ask your GP for a receipt of payment.

If possible always purchase your prescriptions from the same pharmacist. Because you can ask your pharmacy for printout of all prescriptions expenses at the end of the tax year.

You can get a refund of payment from the HSE (Health Service Executive), if items are purchased from a chemist not registered to your Drugs Payment Scheme Card.