MS can come with many costs. We have pulled together some information on tax credits, reliefs and exemptions that may be relevant to you or your loved ones, to help you to navigate this space. Supporting evidence – such as medical certificates are required. The information provided in this piece has come from www.revenue.ie as well as Inclusion Ireland and Citizens Information, and is correct at the time of writing (January 2017).
It is important to note: Claims for repayment of tax must be made within 4 years after the end of the year for which the claim is being made. For example claims relating to 2016 must be claimed by December 31st 2020.
Blind Person’s Tax Credit
This credit of €1,650 may be claimed by anyone who is regarded as blind. Revenue state the following conditions must be met in order to claim this credit;
‘To qualify for the tax credit you or your spouse or civil partner must have impaired vision to the extent that:
Supporting evidence is required to claim this credit – a medical certificate provided by an eye specialist must state the degree of vision loss, as well as stating whether the vision loss is permanent or temporary. In cases where the vision loss is temporary – a new medical certificate must be submitted for each year the tax credit is claimed.
For further information on how to apply, and for the relevant claim form, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/credits/blind-credit.html
Deed of Covenant
This legal agreement is made between two individuals, where one agrees to pay the other an amount of money without any benefit in return. As long as a Deed of Covenant is properly drawn up in favour of a person who is permanently incapacitated, tax relief is available. Please note that parents cannot covenant to a permanently incapacitated child under the age of 18.
For further information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it7.html
Dependent Relative Tax Credit
This tax credit of €70 can be claimed by a taxpayer who maintains:
For more information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/credits/dependent-relative.html
Employed person taking care of an Incapacitated Individual
This relief can be claimed in respect of the cost of employing a person (including a person whose services are provided by or through an agency) to take care of either:
This allowance of up to €75,000 may be claimed by one family member or divided among a number of family members if they are contributing towards the cost.
For further information, visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it47.html
Home Carer’s Tax Credit
A Home Carer’s tax credit is available for married couples where one spouse works in the home caring for;
The tax credit has a value of €1,100 for carers with an income up to €7,200 (or €5,800 for years up to and including 2015).
For more information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/credits/home-carers.html
Health/Medical Expenses Tax relief
This tax relief can be claimed on the claimant’s own behalf or on behalf of another person whom the claimant has paid medical expenses.
Relief may be claimed on expenses including the following;
Costs incurred in provision of a wheelchair or wheelchair lift – excluding alterations to buildings (it may be useful to view information on the Housing Adaption Grant for People with Disabilities – from your local Council).
For a full list of expenses which are eligible for tax relief, and for further information on how to apply, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it6.html
Incapacitated Child Tax Credit
A parent or guardian of a child who became permanently incapacitated before the age of 21, or while she or he was in full-time education, may apply for this tax credit of €3,300.
For further information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/credits/incapacitated-child-credit.html
Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT)
If you have savings in a financial institution such as a bank, building society, credit union or post office, tax at is deducted on the interest. This is called Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT). An individual, their spouse or civil partner, who is permanently incapacitated, may be entitled to exemption from DIRT or to a DIRT refund.
For more information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/dirt/leaflets/de2.html
Lump Sum payments can be exempt where paid by an employer because of injury or disability. To qualify for relief, the payment must be made on account of injury or disability of the holder of the office or employment and the disability must be the cause of termination of employment.
For more information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it21.html#section3
Special Trusts for Permanently Incapacitated Individuals
Special tax treatment applies on income arising following the creation of a trust whose funds have arisen as a result of public subscription raised on behalf of an individual or individuals who are permanently and totally incapacitated. Contact your Revenue office for further information.
For further information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/personal/circumstances/disability-information.html
Universal Social Charge (USC)
People who hold a full medical card and who’s total yearly income is below €60,000 may have a reduced rate of USC. Payments and income from the Department of Social Protection already subjected to DIRT are exempt from USC.
For more information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/usc/
Medical Expenses of Incapacitated Persons
An exemption on inheritance tax is in place for gifts or inheritances taken by an individual who is permanently incapacitated - to meet their medical expenses (such as nursing home care).
For more information, please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it6.html
VAT repayment can be claimed on the purchase of some special aids and appliances such as walk-in baths and hoists. Individuals who purchase an aid or appliance for a disabled person can claim a VAT refund.
For more information please visit: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it12.html
Drivers and Passengers with Disabilities
A number of tax reliefs may be claimed by persons with disabilities on the purchase of motor vehicles including VAT and VRT refunds or for the adaption of a vehicle.
“Relief is available for the following applicant types, depending on the level of vehicle adaptation and is subject to a maximum amount of relief…
Drivers with a Disability
Passengers with a disability/family member of a passenger with a disability
More information on the range of tax reliefs which can be applied can be found in ‘DRIVERS AND PASSENGERS WITH DISABILITIES ORGANISATIONS TAX RELIEF SCHEME’, which may be found on the website http://www.revenue.ie/en/personal/circumstances/disability-information.html#section3
Further information on these tax reliefs, credits and exemptions and how to apply, can be found on www.revenue.ie or by calling Revenue’s LoCall numbers:
Border Midlands West Region: Call 1890 777 425
Cavan, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath
Dublin Region: Call 1890 333 425
Dublin (City and County)
East & South East Region: Call 1890 444 425
Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Meath, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow
South West Region: Call 1890 222 425
Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick
On Fathers Day Niall McGahon shares his thoughts on life with MS and being a Dad to Seán (2 years old) and newborn Robyn I am a father, not to just one little being in the shape of the handsome 2-year-old Seán anymore, but to another child in our beautiful little girl Robyn! How did that happen…. well you know what I mean. Today is Father’s Day and the latest addition to our family has given me another jolt of perspective - I am not the centre of the universe anymore. The laughter and smiles of a 2-year-old and 2-month-old should be able to pull anyone out of the darkest moods they may be in. However, becoming a father these last 2 years, has made me more acutely aware of my MS. In my current state, I may not be the father that I thought I would be, and I may need to think about my approach to fatherhood slightly differently. Growing up I was very much used to having a kick about with my dad or during the summer heading ‘out the back’ for a few holes. I can’t kick a ball the way I used to, let alone play golf the way I want to. I’m going to have to take a totally different road than the one I had drawn out for myself. You know what, that’s ok because it’s not for me, it for my kids. I don’t need to play football or golf to be the best Dad …. They might not like sport anyways!! My focus is going to be building fantastic relationships with my children. As they grow up, hopefully they will understand why I can’t run with them around the park or put them on my shoulders. For the immediate future I just want to enjoy seeing them blossom and watching their little characters develop. In doing this, I hope that they will still have a normal childhood. This is where I may become even more dependent on my wife than I already am. She may need to do some of the heavy lifting that I may not be able to do. It doesn’t make me any less of a father or emasculates me, I just can’t do it and we’re ok with that. The target is to give myself the best possible chance of doing the running and playing with my kids. Between exercise, diet and meditation I can do it. If my wife is anything to do with it, I will do it. I also must be aware that our house is gradually turning into an amazing obstacle course - Crypton Factor level, with Lego, books, toys, hurls, the odd nappy strewn everywhere. Not ideal for a person with mobility and balance issues! But I love a good challenge. It’s great to be in the middle of and oddly enough for me it takes my mind off the real challenges I face. When I’m with my children, MS doesn’t matter, my mind is clear, and my pains subside. Don’t get me wrong the MS is very much there and visible when I’m trying to get up from a good tickling session, but it fades away with the sound of chuckling and shouts of ‘stop dadi’. I need to concentrate on the things that I can do with my kids and enjoy them to the ninth degree. I always wanted to be the best or win the race. I now realise that if all I can give my kids is my time then that’s a lot more important than winning any race. Hopefully it makes me No.1 Dad, that’s more than good enough for me. I have MS but it does not have me. I have children, they will always have me.
Research shows online supports vital as majority of carers feel isolated in their role Ireland’s 360,000 family carers are being celebrated this week as National Carers Week takes place across the country with scores of events being organised specifically for those who care for their loved ones. However, research being published today (Monday) as part of this 13th National Carers Week, indicates that many family carers continue to be unable to leave their own home and depend heavily on online supports for information, support and social connection. Care Alliance Ireland, in partnership with the eleven other National Carers Week partner groups recently undertook a survey of 300 family carers across Ireland. The full report is available here Over half (59%) of respondents said they felt lonely or isolated either ‘often’ or ‘always’, with a further 37% saying they ‘sometimes’ felt that way. Only 3% of respondents said they could ‘always’ make it to social and support events that they would like to get to – with almost a quarter (23%) saying they can ‘never’ get to those kinds of events. Over half the respondents are members of online support groups and 76% have looked up information regarding the health of their loved one online. Speaking about the research, Zoe Hughes, Policy & Research Officer with Care Alliance Ireland said; “It’s clear that the lack of on-the-ground supports like respite and home care is having a huge impact on family carers being able to take a break and seek supports – meaning that online supports are increasingly become vital for many of those who are isolated and lonely in their role”. Following from the results of the research, Care Alliance Ireland are hosting an online coffee morning for those family carers who are unable to make it to the many events happening across the country from 10-16th June. Carers who would like to take part should check the National Carers Week Facebook Page for details.
This week Robert Joyce shares his thoughts on World MS Day and invisible symptoms Every year we take one day, May 30, to tell the world about Multiple Sclerosis. This post is on ‘our’ blog where we share our experiences of MS and its impact on our lives. I am the audience we write for and I know when I write ‘pins & needles’, your heads will nod. You have experienced this and many other symptoms, many of which are invisible. This World MS Day we are going to share with the wider world what it is like to have invisible symptoms, and the impact they have on our lives. In the last year there have been two projects showing how these (invisible symptoms) feel. In Ireland we had the MSunderstood Cafe starting as a pop up experience in Dublin and then it toured the country in a bus. When someone without this disease walked in and tried to move an impossible heavy chair or couldn’t focus on the blurry menu, they felt for a moment, this illness. The second project was the film ‘Hidden’ produced by Shift.MS. It followed a young woman on her journey through the day and you could see how difficult it is experiencing something you cannot share. On this day our aim is to move these stories outside of our group to the wider community to share them with people who have no experience of MS. Experiences like the crushing fatigue that makes every movement leaden and difficult, to lost sensation in our fingers making the world feel like some coarse sandpaper, limbs refusing to move like they once did, pain manifesting in so many ways in so many places or L’Hermittes that causes an electric shock to run from your neck to your bottom just because you nodded your head! The world will not know what it is like to live with MS unless we, the people in the MS community, tell them. On this day the spotlight will shine on us all over the world. If you are from Connemara, the USA or India, the message will be the same. We have invisible symptoms we cannot escape from and we cannot fix. MS is incurable. By sharing this message we will be pushing to get more understanding of our daily lives and to get more research to find solutions to our medical needs. On the World MS Day website you will find events taking place all around Ireland and the world. We encourage you to take part in any way possible. It can be online through Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or maybe at a coffee morning hosted by your local branch. Take part so the wider community, your local community, will understand a little bit of what it is like to live with Multiple Sclerosis.
My name is Maggie Green… I live in Donegal with my two beautiful children, Abigail (8) and Conor (7), my partner Danny and my Great Dane Blue. I was diagnosed in October 2016 with Relasping Remitting MS ( RRMS) and to say that it came as a shock is an understatement! What I thought was a trapped nerve, turned out to be a life changing diagnosis! Initially, we were terrified and all I could focus on were worst case scenarios, but when I was referred to Professor Niall Tubridy in St. Vincent's Hospital this was a big turning point for me. He helped me to realise that I just needed to keep living my life and to manage my MS as effectively as possible. He also helped me to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Overall, I have been pretty lucky and I count my blessings every day! I work full time as a primary school teacher, teaching children with autism in Letterkenny Educate Together National School and I love my job. The children I teach are incredible and they teach me something new every single day. My Support Network I come from a very big family and they have been wonderful. They are always there for us when things get tough, and sometimes when you live with MS things can get particularly tough. They are always just a phone call away ready to help in any way they can. My mother and father have been unbelievably supportive and I don't think that we would have gotten through the last few years without them. My children Abigail and Conor know that I have MS and know that sometimes I get very tired easily. They know that my body doesn't always do what I want it to do! We've explained to them that it’s a bit like a computer that has a few faults! Why am I taking part in the Mini Marathon this year? I want to raise more awareness about MS. I want to help raise funds for MS Ireland and the amazing supports they provide to people like me living with MS. I can't change the fact that I have MS but I feel that I need to do something so my something is trying to contribute to the MS community in some small way. I feel really lucky that I am physically able to do this. Although I might not be saying that by the end of the Mini Marathon!!! My partner Danny and I are getting married four weeks after the Mini Marathon and I cannot wait to walk up the aisle and share our special day with family and friends. We have come through a lot but MS is just one part of our story. You can still join Maggie & Team MS Ireland on the 2nd June. Sign up today! Or get in touch with Melanie at firstname.lastname@example.org #GetActiveForMS
NEW Research shows that 44% of Irish people have poor understanding of the symptoms and nature of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Research study commissioned by MS Ireland and Novartis Ireland to mark World MS Day 2019 explores the public’s awareness of the visible and invisible symptoms of MS 93% of people in Ireland claim to be aware of MS, more than 44% consider their understanding of the symptoms and details of the condition to be poor with nearly one third of respondents unable to list any symptoms related to MS.1 This new research conducted in April 2019 by IPSOS/MRBI, was revealed to mark World MS Day on 30th May 2019 by MS Ireland and Novartis who join with MS organisations around the world as part of the ‘My Invisible MS’ (#MyInvisibleMS) campaign exploring public awareness around the invisible symptoms of MS and the impact it can have on day to day life. Although more than a third of the population (37%) claim to have a family member, friend, or loved one living with MS, and 66% of people in Ireland believe they have a good understanding of MS, there are still some key aspects of the condition that remain unclear.1 When asked if MS was more prevalent amongst men or women, almost half (45%) of participants responded that MS affects men and women equally. In fact, MS is at least two to three times more common in women than in men. Nine thousand people and their family members live with Multiple Sclerosis across Ireland. Although MS is a progressive neurological condition that can affect a person’s health, lifestyle and relationships, many people with MS find ways to manage and cope with many of the effects and difficulties. Symptoms vary from person to person and each person is affected by the condition differently. Some of the symptoms of MS are immediately obvious. Reduced mobility is often the most visually apparent. Other symptoms such as fatigue, changes in sensation, memory and concentration problems are often ‘invisible’ symptoms and can be difficult to explain to others. Ava Battles, Chief Executive of MS Ireland said, “While many people are aware of MS and the more visible, tangible symptoms that it can cause, the effects of MS can vary greatly from person to person and can often be invisible to those around them. Through this research and our World MS Day activity we hope to raise awareness around the less visible aspects of MS and how it can impact on the day to day life of a person living with the condition.” Loretto Callaghan, General Manager and Country President, Novartis Ireland commented, “We are delighted to support MS Ireland on World MS Day and to bring the results of this research study to the general public. It is so important that the community of people living with MS in Ireland feel that their condition is properly understood by their peers and this is something that can only happen by spreading awareness through initiatives such as World MS Day.” Levels of awareness around the more visible symptoms of MS among the public are relatively high with almost 20% of those surveyed listing muscle degeneration, and 17% naming loss of mobility.1 Only 8% of people identified fatigue as a key symptom despite almost 90% of people living with MS reporting fatigue as a consequence of their condition.1, Commenting on the launch of the research findings, Professor Orla Hardiman, Consultant Neurologist at Beaumont Hospital, Professor of Neurology and Head of the Academic Unit of Neurology in Trinity College Dublin and the HSE National Clinical Lead for Neurology said, “The research findings highlight how prevalent MS is in our society today with nearly 40% of the population being impacted either directly or indirectly by the condition. It’s important that as a community we educate ourselves on the symptoms that affect the day to day lives of people living with MS, especially those that are not immediately apparent and less visible.” Sharon Henvey, World MS Day spokesperson said, “As someone living with Multiple Sclerosis for the past 10 years, World MS Day is a day that means so much to me and my family. It’s a day that shines a spotlight on the 9,000 people in Ireland living with MS and what life is like for us. The theme for this year’s campaign is visibility which I think is crucially important, as some of the symptoms I experience are unseen. I do at times feel that my MS is invisible which can be hard to explain to friends and family, so hopefully, the campaign can create awareness of these unseen symptoms” Research commissioned by MS Ireland and Novartis and completed by IPSOS/MRBI, April 2019.  Research commissioned by MS Ireland and Novartis and completed by IPSOS/MRBI, April 2019.  MS Ireland website Available here  Societal Cost of Multiple Sclerosis in Ireland 2015 [online]. Available here
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