Revenue Tax Briefing

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Revenue Tax Briefing Issue 17, January 1995

Health Expenses – Dependant Relative


This article outlines Revenue’s approach to determining the amount of “health expenses defrayed” by a claimant where such expenses have been incurred on behalf of a dependant relative who has income in his/her right.


Subject to specified restriction, Section 12 Finance Act 1967 provides for relief where an individual defrays expenses on the provision of health care for a dependant relative (ad defines for tax purposes).

For the purposes of the section, expenses are not regarded as having been defrayed by a claimant in so far as they can be recouped in any way either by:

  • the claimant or,
  • by an dependant of the claimant from a public or local authority or,
  • Under a contract of insurance or by way of compensation or otherwise.

The section therefore limits the expenses which can qualify for relief (before restrictions) to the net expenses actually defrayed by the claimant.

Accordingly, the amount of health expenses defrayed by a claimant is determined by reference to the facts and circumstances of each case including whether the dependant has income in his/her own right and how such income is utilised.

Revenue Approach

In general, Revenue take the view that in so far as health expenses are directly or indirection defrayed out of the dependants own disposable income, they cannot be regarded as having been defrayed by the claimant.

The following working rules apply:

1. Where the dependant relative is maintained full time in a nursing home/hospital.

In calculating the amount of health expenses defrayed in such cases, a deduction should be made of 60% of the dependant relative’s old age pension or other similar income. (The remaining 40% of the dependant relative’s pension may be regarded as meeting personal, non-medicated expenses).

The following example illustrates the position.


Health Expenses of dependant relative



60% of Pension: (Say ₤4,149 × 60%= ₤2,490)


Health Expenses defrayed


Where the maintenance is a nursing home/hospital commences during the tax year, the restriction will be applied on a pro-rata basis.

2. Where the dependant relative undergoes one-off treatment (e.g. a serious operation)

In such cases, in calculating the amount of expenses defrayed, the restriction applied as 1 above in respect of the dependant.s pension need not be applied.