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
Save the date MS Ireland's National MS Conference Saturday, 21st September 2019 in the Radisson Hotel, Limerick. Stay tuned for updates!
This week Willeke van Eeckhoutte delves into the universal experience of grieving after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. From the ever-popular denial to the stories we tell ourselves and to being present in your daily life, read on to discover how she found her way forward…. Nothing is as numbing to the soul as being diagnosed with an incurable illness like MS. When that illness is also progressive and affects your brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, you can safely call it a double whammy...and a bit! In 2002 I moved to Ireland, the country of my dreams. At work, strong friendships were formed from the get-go and family members visited regularly. I was also studying for a degree in Psychology and when I had time to spare, I travelled around Ireland during weekends and holidays. Life was hectic and good. Fast-forward to 2005. Five months after experiencing my first MS symptoms, I stepped into A&E with excruciating facial pain and fatigue. These symptoms invariably marred my days- there was no number a pain severity scale. My diagnosis followed soon after... it still feels as if it happened yesterday. I remember what I wore, what I said, what I forgot to ask... as well as staring in my neurologist’s eyes looking for reassurance. I also remember standing in the hallway outside the MS clinic, texting everyone, saying “I am OK! It’s MS but I am OK!” Denial had arrived. “The illness is mine, but the tragedy is theirs.” Third Star, 2010 Denial set in almost instantly. The visceral impact I thought would happen during the MS clinic, didn’t. When my neurologist said I would have to change my lifestyle, I thought, “What an odd thing to say to someone who just changed her lifestyle when I moved to Ireland.” “No can do!” I said afterwards to the friend who went to the hospital with me—and who I conveniently forgot to take into the consultation room with me. She later dragged me off to a fancy restaurant because in her own words, “I was so in denial!” Not facing up to the truth as a coping mechanism prevented me from going off the rails that day, so much so I was talking about the ‘D-thing’ in quite a matter-of-fact way. Family and friends were asking if I was OK as the lack of tears puzzled them. I asked them in return if they were OK because they seemed to make so much more of the diagnosis than I was. When I eventually went to bed that night, my thoughts were fragmented and skewed. I was happier knowing what was causing the maddening facial pain and relentless fatigue rather than being sad about the difficult journey ahead of me. I didn’t see the need to quit my job nor the urgency to throw my life around again. This was a stance I eventually had to review 4.5 years post-diagnosis. This was diagnosis-denial 1-on-1 For about five weeks, I said “I’m fine!” Non-acceptance would intervene when new symptoms arrived and trigeminal neuralgia went up a notch. It stopped me from thinking about all the implications of such a harsh diagnosis. Before denial dissipated, I still had a litany of questions that required answers I couldn’t find. I could be forgiven for not being even remotely aware that my body was in a slow process of relinquishing power and control? Did those glimmering lesions on my brain show up one day fully formed? Why, after just 2.5 years, did MS have to attack the life I had dreamt of? Please don’t tell me family and friends will walk out of my life because I’m “just not the same anymore”? Have I just lost the best part about myself? All the above went unanswered because the time and effort spent on finding the right answers by being negative were more energy-sapping than being positive was. Interferon side effects helped drip-feed reality into my consciousness. Its numbing effect lost its potency, but I finally understood that being in denial is the opposite of having hope. Hope was where I was headed and hope is where I live to this day. Check out Willeke’s blog Ireland, MS and Me
Apply now to become a Director We are currently seeking candidates including candidates with MS research or community development experience to go on to our panel of potential Board members. Members, Branches, Council, the Board and staff may propose candidates. All nominations must be proposed and seconded by Members. Nominations of retiring Board members seeking re-election must be submitted to the Nominations Committee. Other nominations may be submitted either directly to the Nominations Committee, or alternatively, under the provisions of Article 56 of MS Ireland’s Constitution, nominations may also be submitted directly to the Registered Office (MS Ireland’s National Office, 80 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4 D04 T856) and marked for the attention of the Company Secretary. The Nominating Committee will review all nominations, except those submitted to the Company Secretary under Article 56, and will recommend to the Board candidates to go forward for election by the Members at the AGM. Any Member nominated via Article 56 will have their candidacy put before the Members at the AGM. The Nominating Committee will take into account the range of skills necessary for board membership and where possible, the geographical spread, the gender balance, the experience and the qualifications of the candidates. All candidates must be in compliance with the requirements for Directors as set out in the Companies Act 2014, the Charities Act 2009 and MS Ireland’s Constitution and will be asked to sign a declaration to that effect. The Nominations Committee, on behalf of the Board, needs to be satisfied that no candidate, who legally cannot serve as a Board member, or who has been disqualified or restricted from being a Board member, is put before the Members at the AGM. Closing date for receipt of applications Applicants, wishing to apply for a position on the Board in September 2019, are invited to submit their application form by 5pm on Friday, 31st May 2019.
20th Annual General Meeting (59th AGM since MS Ireland’s foundation) Dear Member, In an effort to reduce costs and with the passing of our Constitution in 2016, we are now able to send AGM notices to you by email. However, we need your consent that you will access the accompanying AGM financial documentation on our website instead of by post. We will be contacting you by email or phone in the coming weeks to seek your agreement on this and to get your email address. Alternatively please complete the attached slip and return to Alice McKeon, MS Ireland, National Office, 80 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4.D04 T856 We would like to thank those members who have already consented to accessing the AGM financial documentation on our website. The AGM legal notice will be sent to each member by email (where we have an email address for you) or by post along with the next issue of MS News. The Annual General Meeting of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland, at which Board members are elected, normally takes place on the same weekend as the annual conference which this year is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 21st September in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Limerick (time to be confirmed). The results of the vote for the board vacancies and motions, if any, plus the council’s nomination to the board will be announced at the AGM. The procedures for motions and board nominations are listed hereunder. Every registered member is entitled to a vote. For those unable to attend the AGM, proxy papers will be available on our website three weeks prior to the AGM and must be returned to National Office, MS Ireland, 80 Northumberland Rd, Dublin 4 D04 T856 before 5pm on Thursday, 19th September 2019. Ava Battles Company Secretary Motions Any member or branch may forward a motion to the Governance Committee who will decide on their acceptability for putting before the AGM. Closing date for receipt of motions is Friday, 16th August 2019. Call for Board Members We are currently seeking candidates including candidates with MS research or community development experience to go on to our panel of potential Board members. Members, Branches, Council, the Board and staff may propose candidates. All nominations must be proposed and seconded by Members. Nominations of retiring Board members seeking re-election must be submitted to the Nominations Committee. Other nominations may be submitted either directly to the Nominations Committee, or alternatively, under the provisions of Article 56 of MS Ireland’s Constitution, nominations may also be submitted directly to the Registered Office (MS Ireland’s National Office, 80 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4 D04 T856) and marked for the attention of the Company Secretary. The Nominating Committee will review all nominations, except those submitted to the Company Secretary under Article 56, and will recommend to the Board candidates to go forward for election by the Members at the AGM. Any Member nominated via Article 56 will have their candidacy put before the Members at the AGM. The Nominating Committee will take into account the range of skills necessary for board membership and where possible, the geographical spread, the gender balance, the experience and the qualifications of the candidates. All candidates must be in compliance with the requirements for Directors as set out in the Companies Act 2014, the Charities Act 2009 and MS Ireland’s Constitution and will be asked to sign a declaration to that effect. The Nominations Committee, on behalf of the Board, needs to be satisfied that no candidate, who legally cannot serve as a Board member, or who has been disqualified or restricted from being a Board member, is put before the Members at the AGM. Closing date for receipt of applications Applicants, wishing to apply for a position on the Board in September 2019, are invited to submit their application form by 5pm on Friday, 31st May 2019.
This week we get to share in a conversation between two MS and Me bloggers, Fergal Hughes and Willeke van Eeckhoutte. Read on for their personal take on some of the issues MS brings to their lives. Life. It's tough. Life with MS is tougher than life without MS of course. That said, I doubt that any of us MSers would say our life is tougher than someone else’s...anyone else's, MS or no MS! “Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” and all that. Still, MS does have more than its fair share of negative points and it gives us more than our fair share of ‘bad days’. With our new friendship, we (Willeke van Eeckhoutte and Fergal Hughes) find we enjoy convincing each other that it’s not all bad and that every cloud has a silver lining. REDUCED CAPABILITIES WvE: Life with MS put a big exclamation mark in my life... and I wasn’t having it! No more hillwalking or thinking of chasing cows in the middle of nowhere only to realise there is a bull just 150 metres ahead of me! FH: Even though some capabilities may have been taken from you, you just need to remind yourself that you can still do what you can do and, well, you'll keep doing it. The goalposts may have been moved – personally, what I now consider to be a major achievement is certainly different to what it was some years ago – but I’m pretty sure you have the confidence and strength to deal with it and adapt. CONCENTRATION FH: Me, I work as a software engineer. This is both brilliant and not so brilliant. My job requires that I sit down for 8 hours a day. This means there’s minimal call for me to be physical but it also means I get minimum chance to be mobile or to work the muscles. Also, my mind has to constantly be in tip-top condition … and with MS that can be a struggle. WvE: My experience is that lately, it seems that my concentration and memory have gone to tatters. My prospective memory especially has led to awkward situations because I agree to do certain tasks, but then I can’t remember that I had to remember to perform that task. The intention is there and unless I sticky-tape notes to every wall of the house, I often find myself apologising. FATIGUE WvE: This is no joke. It takes 100% true grit trying to stay awake for five minutes once I put my head on my pillow. Can you imagine having a relationship like this? I have to watch episodes of my favourite shows five or six times to see the whole 45-minute program! What’s your secret, Fergal? FH: Combatting fatigue is no easy matter, Willeke. I’ve found that a regular schedule for going to bed at a particular time every evening and getting up at roughly the same time every morning helps me … as long as I stick to it! As long as I give my body and mind the best possible chance, the closer to a ‘normal life’ I get. MY FUTURE FH: I'm a worrier. It's alright saying I live in the 'here and now’ but shouldn't I at least consider the worst possible future … so I'll be prepared for it if it did happen. WvE: As a great philosopher once said, ‘Don’t worry, be happy’. Kidding. But hey, always remember, you can’t control the future. You can maybe have an effect on today and this week but let the long-term future take care of itself. A BURDEN ON OTHERS WvE: I feel shut out when people tell me I don’t need to worry about certain news, that I have enough on my mind already. I tell them again and again that they don’t need to worry about what I live with, but I cannot convince them. Backup or tips needed here, Fergal! FH: No one wants to feel like a burden on family or friends. But come on, Willeke, we can’t control how others feel. And anyway, we might be wrong! I KNEW I WAS DEPRESSED BUT WAS AFRAID OF REACHING OUT FH: I waited too long to get help and felt there wasn’t much support available in my community. When I eventually found a therapist, it was expensive enough for the amount of time I was given. WvE: I’m sorry to hear that Fergal. People with MS need more readily available access to mental health services. Once I opened up, I felt relief knowing I was not the only one. Therapists might have group sessions also for ‘people with chronic illnesses’.
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