What relief is available for health (medical) expenses?
You may claim a deduction for health expenses defrayed (i.e., not recouped in any way) in the tax year.
Health expenses means expenditure on the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of illness, injury, infirmity or disability. It includes fees from:
(a) A qualified medical or dental practitioner. This includes the cost of engaging a qualified nurse in the case of serious illness. It does not include the cost of faith healers or homeopathic healers.
(b) Diagnostic treatment, i.e., fees of radiographers and analytical chemists.
(c) Treatment in a hospital. This includes a mental hospital, sanatorium, convalescent home, nursing home, maternity home, clinic and health centre. The approved hospitals list can be found on the Revenue website – www.revenue.ie. Many of these are in the UK.
If appropriate health care can only be obtained abroad, Revenue allow the cost. They also allow the reasonable travel costs to the hospital for the patient, and in certain cases, the expenses of one person accompanying the patient. If the patient is a child, the expenses of one parent are allowed, and in certain exceptional cases, the expenses of both parents are allowed.
(d) Drugs and medicines prescribed by a qualified practitioner, and supplied by a pharmacist.
(e) A prescribed medical, dental or nursing appliance. A prescribed medical appliance includes: a colostomy pad, a computer for communication purposes, crutches, an exercise bicycle, a false eye, a glucometer machine for a diabetic, a guide dog for a blind person who is a registered owner with the Irish Guide Dog Association, a hearing aid, an orthopaedic bed or chair, a truss, a wheelchair or a chairlift.
A prescribed dental appliance includes an orthodontal device or braces.
Relief is not given for a car (for a disabled person), construction work to a private residence, or the cost of installing a telephone (except in certain categories of kidney patients).
(f) Prescribed physiotherapy treatment.
(g) Prescribed orthoptic treatment. This relates to the correction of vision through exercising the eye muscles.
(h) Ambulance transport. This excludes the cost of transport by car.
(i) Education psychological assessment carried out by an educational psychologist.
(j) Speech and language therapy provided by a speech and language therapist.
Health expenses does not include:
(a) Routine eye treatment, i.e., relating to eye-testing and the provision or repair of spectacles or contact lenses.
(b) Routine dental treatment, i.e., extractions, cleaning and filling of teeth, and the provision and repair of artificial teeth and dentures. Non-routine treatment includes crowns, tip replacing, gold posts, root canal treatment, treatment of gum disease, chrome cobalt splints, orthodontics (braces and similar treatment), extraction of impacted wisdom teeth, bridgework, dental implants (these are not regarded as artificial teeth).
Health expenses reimbursed by illness insurance, for example through VHI or Aviva, do not qualify for relief.
Health expense relief is given at the standard rate.