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
MS Research Explored Please join us on Thursday, 30th November 2017 for a research information event in Stanley Quek, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Building (TBSI), Pearse Street, Dublin 2 @ 6.00pm Agenda/Speakers 6pm - 6.30pm: Balance and Falls in MS Dr Susan Coote, Physiotherapist University of Limerick 6.30pm - 7pm: From Exercise to Cannabis; Exploring Therapeutic Avenues in MS Dr Eric Downer, Trinity College Dublin 7pm - 7.30pm: Open Q & A with speakers and patient advocates **Can't make it to the lecture? Don't worry - the presentations will be streamed live on the day of the event, link will be available shortly**
The faces of the MS & Me blog are changing. Trevis Gleason gives his thoughts on the difficulties that change can bring but also the benefits of adapting to different times. Multiple sclerosis can be overwhelming… and not in the good way. We at the MS & Me blog are overwhelmed right now… but in the good way. Earlier this autumn we put out a call for writers as we close out our fourth year in existence and look ahead. In those four years, your blog (we see this space not belonging to the writers alone; we are a blog community, so it belongs to us all) has been recognised domestically and abroad as being one of the most affecting and poignant health blogs on the web. As for our current cadre of bloggers, we’ve had our share of personal successes (and challenges) as well. We have become parents and grandparents (as well as aunties or uncles multiple times), we’ve changed jobs, advanced in our careers, or got our first jobs back after having to leave previous employment because of MS. We’ve published books, produced films, been recognized for our personal blogs, and brought our personal works as well as the work of MS Ireland to a European and international audience. For some our MS has stabilised, for others it has advanced. For the past four years we have shared our thoughts, our reactions, our hopes, fears, and dreams with you. It’s been a fair bit of work; trying to fit it all in sometimes. But it’s been important work and we think living with MS might just be a little bit easier because of the space we have created within our blog community. And why do I now say that we’re overwhelmed? Because so many have seen the results and have applied to join this “MS & Me 2.0” as we expand. Four years ago we felt ourselves lucky to find nine people who might be willing to jump aboard as voluntary crew on this ship of discovery. We, frankly, weren’t sure about our course and we were surely ingenuous as to a possible destination. What we have learned is that our vessel is making waves in the form of an international conversation and we need a few more hands on deck to continue our voyage. As we spend the next few weeks reviewing submissions (well over a score this time), know that the process is to be transparent and the pitch level. Our current bloggers who would like to stay on have been asked to submit their intent the same way that newcomers have. It’s not a comfortable process for any of us – growth seldom is – but it’s an exciting time. As the year draws to a close and we put together our new team, we’ll bring back a few posts that you may have missed, some particularly pertinent writings and perhaps a laugh or two. We look forward to introducing you to our team in the New Year and sharing our views of living (and living with MS) through several new and newly polished lenses. It’s a season of celebration and change. We celebrate what MS & Me has been and we celebrate the changes currently underway… but it’s still a bit overwhelming. Wishing you and your family the best of health. Cheers Trevis Trevis’ Award-Winning books, Chef Interrupted, and Dingle Dinners are in the shops now. Follow him via Life With MS Facebook page, on Twitter and don’t forget to check out TrevisLGleason.com
Ocrelizumab recommended for licencing by European Medicines Agency for relapsing remitting and early primary progressive MS The European Medicines Agency recommends licensing for ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) for treating relapsing and primary progressive MS. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended that a licence should be granted for ocrelizumab for the treatment of both active relapsing MS and early active primary progressive MS. The recommendation states: "Ocrevus is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS) with active disease defined by clinical or imaging features. Ocrevus is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with early primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) in terms of disease duration and level of disability, and with imaging features characteristic of inflammatory activity." The next step in the approval process is for the European Commission to grant the licence, taking into the consideration the EMA's recommendation. Ocrelizumab will then be assessed by the National Centre for Pharmaco-economics (NCPE) in Ireland who will make a recommendation to the HSE about reimbursement. MS Ireland will make a Patient Group Submission to the NCPE as part of this process and we will be doing everything we can to try and make this medication available to Irish people with MS as soon as possible. About ocrelizumab Ocrelizumab is taken as an intravenous infusion (drip). The first dose is given as two separate infusions, two weeks apart. Further doses are given as one infusion every six months. In clinical trials for relapsing MS, ocrelizumab reduced the risk of relapses by 50% compared to beta interferon (Rebif), reduced disability progression and the number of lesions seen on MRI scans. For primary progressive MS, people taking ocrelizumab were 24% less likely to experience increased disability compared to those taking placebo. Across all the clinical trials, infusion-related reactions, chest infections and herpes (oral herpes and shingles) were more frequent in those taking ocrelizumab. Further information is available here
This week Aoife Kirwan discusses 'brain blips' Cognitive blips or brain blips are the second most irritating MS related issue that I deal with. I am 29 years old and rely on lists, diaries, reminders and alarms to make sure I don’t forget to do things. This really bothers me from time to time. My brain doesn’t always agree to keep up with the pace of my lifestyle. I like to be busy, but my brain does not! My cognitive issues seem to go hand in hand with fatigue, so if I manage one, I seem to manage the other. I often wonder whether the fatigue is causing my cognitive issues or whether it’s the other way around?? I do find when I get tired, my brain slows down, I begin doing things absentmindedly, I lose my train of thought and have trouble finding the right word. I also misplace things- my phone, my car keys, my car! I have often parked somewhere and after a few hours shopping forgotten what level/location!! There are times that my brain blips have caused endless laughs. One morning I was quietly getting ready for work, I was running a few minutes late and trying to get ready at a faster pace than my brain could manage. After all the fussing, getting bags packed, lunch made, checking the iron was off and door was locked, I got out to the car and was on my way to work when I realised - I had forgotten to put my skirt on. It's a situation where you could laugh or cry, but I opt to laugh at these things. Something that bugs me, and I can't seem to laugh at is when I go to Google something, then look blankly at the screen as I try to remember what it was that prompted me to open Google in the first place. It was my focus seconds ago and then nothing, it's gone. Similarly I can walk into a room and completely forget why I went in there in the first place. Losing my train of thought or having difficulty finding my words is particularly irritating during an argument or debate. I hate when I have a strong and valid point to make and when an opening to share my pearls of wisdom presents itself - it's gone, no words come out and victory escapes me once again. Later I think of what I was going to say that would have swayed things in my direction, but what good is later! I have learned to know my limitations and accept them. I know that I hit a wall around 3pm for about two hours. I try to work around this, I use this time to do less complicated tasks and go back to more complex jobs once I have come out of that slump. Making sure I am well rested and hydrated is very important too. As I say, lists, diaries, alarms and reminders - while I complain they are indeed helpful tools to make sure I stay on top of things. Whether someone lives with MS or not, we all have blips now and then and that's okay. Do any of you have any useful tips to help with memory or cognition?
Fund for students with disabilities to be extended to part-time students The operation of a €10m fund for college students with disabilities is to be reformed to ensure more people benefit and with fewer delays. The fund for students with disabilities exists to financially assist students with disabilities while they are in education. Students apply to the fund via the Disability Support Service in their college. The fund can be used for: Assistive technology equipment and support Personal and Academic Support Transport To date, this fund has only been available to full-time students, however one of the reforms recommended by a recent review was that it be extended to part-time students also. You can read more about financial supports available to students on page 9 of the latest issue of MS News
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