Many families are unaware that there are up to €25,000 in reliefs available to those paying fees and medical expenses for relatives in nursing home facilities. These costs can range from €50,000 to €80,000 per year.
Many are missing out on the ability and/or right to claim up to 40% back in reliefs due to the confusing system currently in place. These tax refund could range from €400 to €25,000 per year.
According to Tadhg Daly, of Nursing Homes Ireland, “many people paying for nursing home care were not aware of the tax reliefs available to them”.
“We believe there’s simply not enough awareness of these tax refunds and the system can be quite confusing, which leads to high levels of tax not being reclaimed by people,” he said.
• Some 30,000 people are in around 577 nursing homes. These include public, private and voluntary homes across the State.
• Some 23,000 of these people are over the age of 65, according to Census 2016 data. Over half of those availing of nursing home care are aged 85-plus, while there are more women than men in residential care.
• This cohort of the population is forecast to increase by 46pc by 2021.
With this numbers currently residing in Nursing Home Facilities, the number is expected to rise, and this will see many more families incurring the costs in the future.
How refunds work for fee payers
If you are paying nursing home fees for yourself or a parent or loved one, you can claim relief on nursing home expenses at your highest rate of tax, subject to certain conditions.
This means that someone who contributes €300 a week to the cost of the care of a relative, and is taxed at the higher rate, can claim back €6,240 at the end of the year.
In this instance the relative in the nursing home does not qualify for the Fair Deal scheme.
In certain circumstances it is possible to claim relief on your nursing home expenses during the tax year.
If you pay for medical costs, either for yourself or a loved one, you can claim medical expenses at a rate of 20pc.
You can claim relief on the cost of purchasing, maintaining, and repairing medical appliances for yourself or on behalf of a loved one that you have been advised to use by a registered practitioner.
Kidney patients are entitled to a number of additional reliefs to the normal health expenses.
For example, you can claim relief on the cost of travelling to and from the hospital if you or your loved one travels regularly for dialysis treatment.
Many people avail of tax relief under the Fair Deal scheme (or the Nursing Homes Support Scheme).
Under Fair Deal, you make a contribution towards the cost of the care and, if your contribution is less than the amount of the fees, the HSE will pay the rest.