Tax back available on your emollients, creams and other health items. 

Ensuring treatments are prescribed and keeping your receipts can help cut your annual healthcare costs  

Most people are aware you can claim tax back on prescribed medications and doctor’s visits, but did you know you can claim tax back on items that you can buy without a prescription (i.e. over-the-counter products) like creams, medications or other aids and appliances in certain circumstances?

Revenue allows for tax back on health expenses incurred in the provision of “health care”. “Health care” simply means the prevention, diagnosis, alleviation or treatment of an ailment, infirmity, defect or disability.

In addition, “health care” also covers cosmetic surgery only as a result of a physical deformity arising from, or directly related to, a congenital abnormity, personal injury or disfiguring disease.

The key things to bear in mind are that drugs and medicines which qualify for tax back must be:

(a) Supplied by a pharmacist and

(b) Be written the medical practitioner’s medical / prescription pad.

So how can this help you? Any over-the-counter items “prescribed” by a medical “practitioner”, can be claimed back under the tax system, at 20% of the cost of the item (assuming you actually pay tax) once the item or aid or appliance “alleviates” or “treats” you condition.

The first step is to talk to your GP, doctor or “medical practitioner”, then explain that you would like them to list the over-the-counter items you need to your prescription to allow you to claim tax back at the end of the year, and lastly save your pharmacy receipts.

Once the end of year comes, you can then make a claim to get at least some of your money back on the cost of your items.

Don’t forget – always keep your receipts in case of Revenue audit of your medical expenses. You can claim relief on health expenses after the year has ended and you should wait for your P60 statement to arrive before claiming. More information here.

More information on Community Medical Schemes.