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Life

23rd Feb 2014

What You Need To Know About…Claiming Tax Back

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Juggling work, home and a little bit of relaxation doesn’t leave much time to take care of the boring day-to-day details so we’ve decided to give you a helping hand each week by providing the essential information on topics that you need to know.

An extra few euro in the pocket never goes astray so we’ve decided to start this series with a simple guide to claiming your tax back. This is a relatively straightforward process but thousands of people fail to claim substantial amounts of refundable tax each year as they either don’t realise they are entitled to it or don’t know how to go about it.

The first step is figuring out whether you are entitled to a tax refund and there are a number of ways that you could be eligible for an unexpected windfall.

Unemployment – If you have been paying tax and become unemployed, you may be eligible to get some of that money back. The amount depends on the length of time you have been unemployed, the amount of tax you have paid and the amount of tax credits utilised by you but claims will only apply to payments over the last four years. If you have been paying emergency tax, you can immediately apply for a refund but otherwise, you should wait four weeks before filling out a Form P50 and send it to your local Revenue office with a P45 from your employer.

Overpayment – It is advisable to examine your tax payments each year to make sure that you have not underpaid or overpaid, as discrepancies can arise if your tax credits were calculated incorrectly or your employer made a mistake in deducting your payments.

You can carry out an end of year review by filling out a Form P50 and sending your P60 and any additional documentation (see below) to your local Revenue office. Alternatively, you can request a P21 Balancing Statement online at www.revenue.ie. Don’t worry if you haven’t done it until now as claims can be backdated for a period of four years and it is definitely worth your while if you are planning to emigrate as you may get a refund of unused tax credits.

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Medical Expenses – This is one of the most common methods of claiming tax rent/relief and may be relevant if you have incurred any of the covered expenses (find the list here). However, it does not include any payments that have been, or will be, reimbursed by another body such as a health insurer, the subject of a compensation payment or related to routine dental and ophthalmic care.

The scheme also allows for treatments carried out outside the State, subject to conditions. To claim on medical expenses, you will need to submit a Form Med 1 to your local Revenue office and make sure to check for less obvious expenses such a coeliac-friendly foods and hospital/nursing home care, which also qualify.

Dental Expenses – Tax relief is available in respect of non-routine dental procedures, such as root canal work, surgical extraction of wisdom teeth, orthodontics and crowns. A full list of qualifying treatment is available here and you can apply for a refund by getting your dentist to fill in a Form Med 2 .

Rent Relief – If you are renting accommodation privately (whether in Ireland or outside the State) and pay income tax, you may be eligible for tax relief on part of your rent. However, changes to this scheme in recent years have made the process a little more confusing.

Citizens Information has stated that you can only claim this relief if you were already renting at 7 December 2010. If you were not renting on that date and you subsequently entered into a rental agreement, you will not be able to claim tax relief on your rent. However, if you were renting at 7 December 2010 you will continue to qualify for this relief even if you enter a different rental agreement after that date. The relief is being phased out and 2017 will be its last year. Only the rent for private rented accommodation that you use as your sole or main residence will qualify for tax relief and this includes bedsits, flats, apartments and houses.

To claim tax relief, you will need to fill out a  Form Rent 1 (pdf) with the landlord’s name, PPS number and address, amount of rent that you have paid and period of time covered by the receipt.

Miscellaneous – There are a host of other ways to claim tax back including trade union subscriptions and third level fees, with everything you need to know available here.