Are You Missing Out On Tax Back On Your Health Expenses?

You can claim tax relief on the cost of health expenses. These can be your own health expenses, those of a family member or any individual’s, as long as you paid for them.

You generally receive tax relief for health expenses at the standard rate of tax (20%). Nursing home expenses are given at the highest rate of tax (up to 40%).

So, what are qualifying health expenses?

Qualifying health expenses are for health care you have paid for that has been prescribed, referred or advised, by a registered practitioner such as a doctor or a dentist.

These include:

  • doctor’s and consultant’s services
  • diagnostic procedures recommended by a practitioner
  • services in hospitals or treatment facilities where the services are either:
    • provided by a practitioner OR
    • diagnostic procedures recommended by a practitioner
  • Drugs and medicines

Learn more about qualifying expenses.

Claiming tax back on drugs and medicines

Drugs and medicines which qualify for tax back must be:

  1. Supplied by a pharmacist AND
  2. Written the medical practitioner’s medical / prescription pad.

So, how can this help you? Any over-the-counter items prescribed by a registered 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 your condition.

Read about prescription charges for medical card holders.

The first step is to talk to your prescribing doctor and explain that you would like them to list the over-the-counter items (such as emollients or creams) to your prescription to allow you to claim tax back at the end of the year. You will need to save your pharmacy receipts for the year.

Tax back on hair restoration and hair replacement

Hair transplant treatment for androgenetic alopecia, (known as female and male pattern baldness), is considered cosmetic in nature, and is not regarded as the provision of “health care” Accordingly, tax relief is not due in respect of expenditure incurred for hair transplant treatment in such cases.

However, other forms of alopecia, such as scarring alopecia, are different from androgenetic alopecia and must be considered separately. Scarring alopecia, for example, arises because of inflammation or infection of the hair follicles, which results in hair loss. Where ailments such as scarring alopecia are treated with medications to heal the scarring, tax relief can be allowed for the expenses incurred for the medications and the services of a medical practitioner.

Hair transplant treatment for scarring alopecia, may also qualify as the provision of health care if it can be shown that the transplant treatment was not cosmetic and was undertaken for the treatment of a congenital abnormality, a personal injury or a disfiguring disease.

You can also avail of tax back at the standard rate on the costs on wigs, where necessary due to illness, such as for alopecia. So, for every €100 you spend on your hair replacement system, wig or hairpiece, you get €20 back.

How do you claim health expenses?

You can claim relief on health expenses after the year has ended.

You can only claim for expenses that you have receipts for, so it is important to keep your receipts throughout the year. You can claim relief on the last four year’s health expenses.

If you have private health insurance you can claim tax relief on the portion of those expenses not covered by your insurer.

Learn more about how to claim health expenses.

More information on Community Medical Schemes. If you need guidance or support about managing a skin disorder, contact the ISF Ask-a- Nurse Helpline for free assistance and information.