Tax Tips

The top 4 ways you’re paying too much tax

In Ireland, claiming tax back can be an arduous task. This is why a lot of people simply don’t pursue it. However, an even bigger problem is that many of us simply don’t know the huge range of things on which you can claim tax back. It’s such a prolific problem in fact, that in 2015, Revenue wrote to over 137,000 PAYE workers who had not applied for any tax refund in the preceding four years.

This mix of not knowing what we can claim for, together with not actually claiming back all our available tax credits, results in the taxman keeping too much of our hard-earned cash. Thankfully, help is at hand. From health expenses to tuition fees, we’re now going to cover the top 4 ways you might have overpaid tax and then show you how to get your money back.

Top 4 ways people overpay tax:

1.Excluding health expenses

Health expenses is one of the best ways to get your money back in Ireland. Even though you cannot claim for routine dental or eye care, you can still claim 20% relief on most common medical expenses incurred, after being reimbursed by private health insurance (should you have any).

Speaking of health insurance, you can also get your money back on the cost of your premium when your employer pays for it, in which case you’ll incur a benefit-in-kind charge on the cost of the premium. While you benefit from tax relief at a rate of 20% on the cost of your medical insurance premium, it’s only on the first €1,000 per adult and the first €500 per child.

2.Forgetting flat rate (employment) expenses

Many workers don’t realise that they are eligible to claim money back each year for essentials like uniforms and any tools of their trade not normally covered by employers. Known as flat-rate expenses, they apply to a wide range of professions including bricklayers, engineers, journalists, nurses, farmers, teachers, electricians and hotel workers. Even musicians in the RTÉ National Symphony and Concert Orchestras benefit from an allowance.

3.Not thinking about tuition fees

While no relief is available for the fees associated with examinations, registration or administration, you can claim tax relief – at the standard rate of 20% – on cost associated with tuition fees, including the Student Contribution fee, up to four years after you start.

This applies to certain 3rd level courses including approved undergraduate courses of at least 2 years in duration, as well as approved postgraduate courses of at least 1 academic year in duration once you already hold a primary degree. However, a certain amount of the qualifying tuition fee is disregarded, so (for example) with a full-time course, the first €3,000 is disregarded from the qualifying tuition fees.

4.Not realising there’s a Dependent Relative Tax Credit

The Dependent Relative Tax Credit is a great way to get your money back if you maintain at your own expense; a relative who is unable to care for themselves as a result of old age or ill-health; a widowed parent irrespective of the state of their health; or a son or daughter who lives with you and on whose services, you must depend as a result of old age or ill health. Your dependent relative’s income must not exceed €14,504 in a year in order to qualify for the tax credit.

As a recipient of the Dependant Relative Tax Credit, you can claim relief on expenses like doctors’ bills, prescription medicine or hospital treatment that you pay for. If the person is living in a nursing home, hospital or other similar institution and you contribute to the fees for such, you may also be entitled to claim tax back on the nursing home and/or medical fees.

How to get your money back

In 2015, Revenue refunded more than €444 million in respect of almost 1.1 million PAYE employee reviews. You have 4 years to submit a claim, so if you have neverdone so, you could be in line for a nice chuck of change.

The easiest way to get started, is to let IrishTaxRebates.ie do the hard work for you. With 20 years of experience, our team of tax experts will be more than happy to help. We have the highest average tax rebate in Ireland and the lowest fee; and if you aren’t owed any tax back, there is no fee applied. To get the ball rolling, you can apply for your tax back on