Q: Liam, I’m 53 years old and I was recently diagnosed as suffering from Coeliac disease. I was told by my GP that I may be able to claim tax relief because of my condition. Is this correct?
A. Anyone who suffers from Coeliac or any other dietary condition (e.g. diabetes) that forces them into altering the type of food they purchase, can claim tax relief on the cost of food at a rate of 20%.
And I think if you ask someone who has been buying gluten free food, they’ll tell you how expensive it is compared to food containing gluten, and how important this tax relief is. It probably doesn’t even compensate what the difference is. I read one study which stated gluten free food products were 83% more expensive than regular products.
So, if you’re weekly shopping bill once cost for example €80, it’s likely to increase to c. €146 and you need to factor this into your monthly budget. By claiming 20% relief, you can reduce this new cost by €29. You’re still going to be paying about 46% more than previously, so the tax relief doesn’t compensate fully but it’s something at least.
To claim it back, you need a letter from your GP or consultant, confirming you are a coeliac. When you submit a claim to Revenue, you can only claim for expenses you have receipts for. So, whenever you visit a shop, keep your receipts because you need to prove you purchased wheat free products.
And please make sure you avail of this tax relief. When you run the numbers, you can see from a financial perspective how important it is. The best and quickest way to make this claim is using Revenues online service, myaccount. When you enter the site, click on complete income tax return, and inside the tax credits section, you’ll see health expenses’, and this is where you insert your costs.