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
We need you! MS Ireland is currently in the process of developing a new strategic plan for the period 2020 - 2024. To help inform our decision making as we develop this new strategy, we invite our members and stakeholders to complete our ‘Strategic Planning Survey’. It is crucial to us that people affected by MS have their voices heard as we decide on the direction of our organisation for 2020-2024. The anonymous survey and should take a maximium of 15 minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for taking the time to assist us with our planning. Get in touch For more information or to request a hard copy of survey please contact Aoife Kirwan at email@example.com
This week Rosie Farrell talks about grief and in particular, how she has dealt with depression. Read on for an enlightening piece on what can be a very challenging experience. The way we each deal with grief varies. The grieving process is anything but linear; something that my rational side hates. I’ve had so many people tell me at different points that I’ve been in denial - that I’ve got to allow myself to grieve. So my brain constructed the stages of grief as this box-ticking-type exercise that had to be completed and at the end you would have this magical sense of acceptance. But grieving can’t be forced. It may have taken me months to shed a single tear, but ‘denial’ allowed me to run a half marathon, refusing to be stopped by a disease that eventually did just that, and a year later it allowed me to view a wheelchair as my ticket to freedom rather than a symbol of what had been lost. After diagnosis I started to hear about the grieving process and how depression is a part of that. I started to fear that feeling sad about my MS would trigger my depression again. I was first diagnosed with depression at the age of 10 after enduring horrendous bullying at school. After that, I struggled with depression throughout my teens, thinking the way I felt was normal and would never change. How wrong I was. Pieta House in 2010 saved me, they helped lift the veil and behind it was this amazing world I was ready to leap into. They set me free and I’ll be forever grateful. I had three beautiful years before my MS diagnosis. I felt like I was living for the first time. In a way, when the diagnosis came in 2015, that attitude was what got me through. I knew I had survived depression and I was going to survive this too, I was going to learn to live with it because I still so strongly wanted to taste all that the world has to offer. The fear of becoming depressed if I allowed myself to get upset about my MS, however, took me down the path I wanted to avoid. The depression I feel with MS is totally alien to what I experienced before; it's wrapped up in a daily struggle to survive with a host of symptoms and pain that often reduces me to tears. It’s wrapped up in a loss of identity, the loss of a version of myself I felt I’d only just found. I remember watching the “It’s the little things” advert about depression. But what happens when you live with a disease where the little things are often impossible? Sadly depression in the context of chronic illness is never addressed, particularly in the context of where it’s a symptom of damage caused by the disease or a side effect of disease-modifying treatment. My MS and pain flared up this winter: knocking my confidence after an amazing summer. I isolated myself from the world around me. Yes, with MS there often comes a crippling loneliness when you spend an increased amount of time at home due to pain and fatigue, but this was different - I wasn’t just lonely, I was losing all sense of myself and it had crept up on me. I didn’t want to go outside and when I did it would fill me with dread. I knew it was time to ask for help again. With MS, no two days are ever the same. Nor is the way we grieve, so it’s totally understandable that someone would need help in order to make sense of it all. Asking for help this time was as much about a preventative treatment as anything else because it stopped me getting to where I had been in the past and it taught me how to manage the grieving in a healthier way. Whether acceptance truly exists I don’t know, but I do know that despite how hard life with MS can be, it can also be beautiful and enjoyable in totally unexpected ways. There will always be tough days but know that you're not alone, you've got through them before and you will do so again. And it's true; you'll never be the person you were before MS. That's because the person you are now is far stronger and more resilient than ever before. Even if it doesn't always feel that way, know that you are amazing and trust in yourself because you've got this. Further information and resources Rosie Farrell is chief sub-editor and designer with Irish Country Living. She blogs at www.sherunswithms.wordpress.com For more information download MS Ireland's booklet on MS and depression If you feel you need to talk to someone, here are some organisations that may help: The MS Information Line: 1850 233 233 The Samaritans: Freephone 116-123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Pieta House: Freephone 1800 247 247 or visit www.pieta.ie Aware: Freephone 1800 80 48 48 or visit www.aware.ie For a list of therapists in your area, visit www.iacp.ie or talk to your GP
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.
Cash prizes to be won! Get involved with our summer raffle and help raise vital funds for services for people living with MS. Raffle Prizes: 1st prize - €2,000 2nd Prize – €1,000 3rd prize - €500 How to buy tickets: Please contact our raffle hotline on (01) 6781600 or email email@example.com Each ticket costs €3, or 2 tickets for €5. A book is €40. **Prize draw will take place on the 19th July 2019 (tickets to be returned by the 15th July 2019)
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.
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