Millions of euro in tax relief available until end of year

Four-year deadline means money from 2011 must be claimed by December 31st

People are allowed to claim tax relief owed from previous years but there is a four-year limit to back-claims.

People are allowed to claim tax relief owed from previous years but there is a four-year limit to back-claims.

 
deadlinetax relief

Every year millions of euro in relief, to which Irish taxpayers are entitled, goes unclaimed, despite regular reminders from the industry and from Revenue.

People are allowed to claim relief they are owed from previous years but there is a four-year limit to back-claims. That means that, after December 31st, people will no longer be able to claim relief from tax or on charges that were paid in 2011.

“Time is running out,” said Alan Murray, tax partner at Mazars. “The claim must be made by December 31st and it could be a sizeable amount of money that you are effectively throwing away.”

Among the area most frequently missed on claims is relief on medical expenses – where 20 per cent of any costs not covered by the State or a private health insurer can be recovered – and the tax credit for third-level tuition fees which is relevant especially to people who have more than one child in college. Again, the credit is worth 20 per cent of the eligible cost.

People who were in rented accommodation before December 7th 2010, and were still renting in 2011, are entitled to a tax credit of €160 a person (or €320 for a couple) that is regularly unclaimed. Even if you have moved subsequently into your own home, you are entitled to claim back the credit if you qualified in that year.

“Our average PAYE worker tax refund is €840,” says Barry Flanagan, senior tax manager at Taxback. com, “which begs the question why, if you are entitled to it, would you leave it behind?”

Other charges that attract relief, at least this year, are bin and other service charges. While these ended in 2010, they work on a year-after claim basis, so you can still claim for the 2010 charges which would normally have been claimed in 2011.

Flat rate expenses available to workers in many sectors must be claimed proactively. Often they are not, especially with so few PAYE taxpayers filing tax returns.

The same December 31st deadline applies for claiming back tax that you may have overpaid Revenue in 2011.

If you let it go past the end of December, you will have no further claim on this money.

“Christmas is a time when finances come under pressure so it makes sense to check if you have claimed all your entitlements,” said Mr Murray.