Almost three quarters of Irish taxpayers are missing out on money from Revenue by not claiming a tax refund on their annual medical expenses, according to a new survey.
Four in 10 people don’t even know of the relief’s existence — up from 10 per cent in 2017.
These are among the primary findings of the latest Taxback.com Taxpayer Sentiment Survey Series 2021.
Tax relief awareness
The research from over 3,200 taxpayers from Taxback.com’s nationwide database looked at the Irish public’s awareness around tax reliefs.
Marian Ryan, consumer tax manager at Taxback.com commented on the findings: “Medical expenses are possibly the most basic, straight forward tax relief there is — and one that applies to probably every taxpayer in the country. If you see a GP or consultant, or even if you have prescription fees, you are eligible to claim tax relief.
“That nearly three quarters of the population do not claim this relief is indicative of the fact that Irish people, in the main, severely underutilize the tax relief available to them. This contention is supported by Revenue figures which show that in 2018 just 522,800 claims were made for this relief. When you consider that Ireland has approximately 1.9 million employed persons aged 15 years and over– most of whom would be taxpayers and so eligible to claim this relief — it becomes very apparent just how many people are missing out.”
The survey found that 62 per cent of respondents were aware of personal tax reliefs for medical expenses in 2021 compared to 91 per cent in 2017.
As a nation, we simply are not aware of what’s available to us in tax reliefs and refunds.
Just 21 per cent knew that personal tax reliefs are available for working from home while 24 per cent were aware of carer's allowance tax relief, compared to 41 per cent in 2017.
Ms Ryan added: “As a nation, we simply are not aware of what’s available to us in tax reliefs and refunds — many of our European counterparts are streets ahead in this regard, possibly due to the fact that Ireland is one of the only countries in the world where there is no onus on PAYE employees to file a tax return. Most countries have an obligation to file a tax return each year regardless of their employment status – and so the idea of leaving money behind with the Taxman is simply unheard of. We don’t know enough about our tax refunds here, and this lack of awareness is actually costing people money.”