Revenue Note for Guidance

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Revenue Note for Guidance

469 Relief for health expenses


An individual is entitled to a deduction from total income where he/she proves, for any year of assessment, that he/she has paid qualifying health expenses incurred in the provision of health care. Health expenses do not qualify for relief under this section where they are, or are to be, reimbursed from some other source.



(1)appropriate percentage” in relation to a year of assessment, means a percentage equal to the standard rate of tax for that year.

educational psychologist” is a psychologist who has expertise in the education of students.

health care” is the prevention, diagnosis, alleviation or treatment of an ailment, injury, infirmity, defect or disability, and includes pregnancy care but does not include-

  • routine ophthalmic treatment,
  • routine dental treatment, or
  • cosmetic surgery or similar procedures, unless the surgery or procedure is necessary to ameliorate a physical deformity arising from, or directly related to, a congenital abnormality, a personal injury or a disfiguring disease.

health expenses” are health care expenses representing the cost of —

  • (a) the services of a practitioner,
  • (b) diagnostic procedures carried out on the advice of a practitioner,
  • (c) maintenance or treatment necessarily incurred in connection with the services or procedures referred to in paragraph (a) or (b),
  • (d) drugs or medicines supplied on the prescription of a practitioner,
  • (e) the supply, maintenance or repair of any medical, surgical, dental or nursing appliance used on the advice of a practitioner,
  • (f) physiotherapy or similar treatment prescribed by a practitioner,
  • (g) orthoptic or similar treatment prescribed by a practitioner,
  • (h) transport by ambulance, or
  • (i) as respects a person who is permanently incapacitated by reason of mental or physical infirmity and who is either under the age of 18 years, or if over 18 years is in full time education —
    • educational psychological assessment carried out by an educational psychologist,
    • speech and language therapy carried out by a speech and language therapist.

practitioner” is a doctor or dentist registered in the appropriate register under the Medical Practitioners Act, 2007 or the Dentists Act, 1985 and, in relation to health care provided outside the State, includes a person entitled under the laws of the country in which the care is provided to practice medicine or dentistry in that country.

routine dental treatment” is the extraction, scaling and filling of teeth and the provision and repairing of artificial teeth or dentures.

routine ophthalmic treatment” is sight testing and advice as to the use of spectacles or contact lenses and the provision and repairing of spectacles or contact lenses.

specified amount” in relation to a year of assessment, means the amount of expenditure which qualifies for income tax relief in accordance with this section.


(2)(a) Where an individual proves for any year of assessment that he/she has paid health expenses, he/she is entitled to a deduction from total income of an amount equal to the amount proved to have been paid. For all years up to and including 2008 relief will be granted at an individual’s marginal rate of tax. With effect from 1 January 2009, relief will be allowed at the standard rate of tax, with the exception of expenditure incurred on nursing home fees which will continue to be allowed at an individual’s marginal rate of tax for 2009 provided the nursing home provides nursing care on site on a 24-hour per day basis.

(2)(b) Where an individual receives or is entitled to receive State support under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009 relief may be granted in respect of any contribution made by the individual under the heading of health expenses.

(2)(c) Tax relief is not allowable in respect of financial support received by an individual under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009.

Deemed expenditure

(3)(a) Health expenses paid by a married person or by a civil partner are treated as if that person’s spouse or civil partner paid them only where the spouse/civil partner is assessed to tax on their joint income in accordance with section 1017 or 1031C as the case may be. The effect of this is to allow relief in respect of expenses paid by the non-assessable spouse or other civil partner.

(3)(b) Any expenses paid out of the estate of a deceased person by his/her executor or administrator are treated as having been paid by the deceased person immediately before his/her death.

Exclusion of reimbursed expenses

(3)(c) Health expenses paid do not qualify for relief under this section where they are or are to be made good by any public or local authority or under any contract of insurance or by way of compensation or some other means.

Election for year in which relief is taken

(5) Where an individual makes a claim for a year of assessment and after the end of that year the claimant pays expenses in relation to health care provided in that year, the claimant may elect to have such payment allowed in the year in which the claim is made and not for the year in which the payment is actually made. If this election is made, any deduction for health expenses paid in subsequent years must also be taken on the same basis.


(6) The claim for relief must be made on the appropriate form and must be accompanied by all other relevant documents required to substantiate the claim. The relief is given by way of repayment of tax.

Relevant Date: Finance Act 2021