Falling sick is a taxing enough experience without allowing it to cost you too much money as well. Many people do not realise that most medical expenses qualify for tax relief and that each year they can reclaim some of the money they pay the doctor, hospital, dentist or pharmacist from the Revenue Commissioners.

You can claim tax relief on medical expenses incurred by yourself, your spouse, dependent children or dependent relatives, as long as you have not already been reimbursed, or are entitled to be reimbursed, for the costs by a health board or a medical insurer, such as the VHI or BUPA Ireland.

The forms you need are Med 1 and Med 2, which are available from your local Revenue Commissioners office, or can be easily downloaded from their website

When making your claim for tax relief on medical and dental expenses, you must retain receipts, so it is worthwhile to get into the habit of asking for receipts every time you or your family attend the doctor or purchase medicines.

You do not need to include these receipts with your tax claim, but you might be asked to produce them if the Revenue Commissioners choose your claim for detailed examination. It is possible to choose whether to claim the relief in the year that medical expenses were incurred or in the year in which they were paid, if they happen to be different.

You also have the option of choosing whether to make your claim on the basis of the tax year or calendar year, though these will soon become one and the same. Equally, you may opt to obtain relief on a VHI year basis. The choice is yours, so long as the same chosen period is used consistently, year after year.

You can claim tax relief for a range of medical and dental expenses including:

  • The cost of visits to doctors or consultants
  • Hospital treatment
  • Orthoptic treatment
  • Maintenance in an approved nursing home
  • Transport by ambulance
  • Kidney patient treatment, such as hospital dialysis, home dialysis or CAPD
  • The cost of prescribed drugs and medicines
  • The cost of diagnostic procedures
  • Hearing aids
  • Orthopaedic beds and chairs
  • Wheelchairs and wheelchair lifts (though no relief is available for adapting a home or premises to accommodate a lift)
  • Glucometer machines (for diabetics)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Dental crowns, veneers, gold posts, gold inlays, root canal treatment, periodontal treatment, orthodontic treatment, wisdom tooth extraction and bridgework
  • Severely handicapped people who require a computer to communicate can claim back the cost of the computer

Coeliacs who require gluten-free food can claim back the expense of that food. As you normally purchase food in a supermarket, the Revenue Commissioners require you to keep your shopping receipts and provide a letter from your GP confirming that you are a coeliac sufferer.

You cannot claim for routine dental or maternity treatment, nor for routine ophthalmic expenses. Teeth extraction, fillings and denture repair are not covered by the Med 2 form, nor are sight tests, spectacles or contact lenses covered by the Med 1 form.

You can get some of the costs of a sight test and glasses back if you pay PRSI and your optician will give you the relevant form for this.

The Med 1 and Med 2 forms are available from the Revenue website. If you would like help in claiming medical expenses you can contact us at [email protected]