Health expenses

Qualifying expenses

Qualifying expenses are the expenses you pay to receive health care.

Health care is defined as the prevention, diagnosis, alleviation or treatment of:

  • an ailment
  • an injury
  • an infirmity
  • a defect
  • a disability.

Health care also includes routine and maternity care for women during pregnancy.

Definition of practitioner

To qualify for relief your health care must be carried out or advised by a registered practitioner. A practitioner must be on either:

  • the register established under section 43 of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007
  • the register established under section 26 of the Dentists' Act 1985.

You can check if a practitioner is registered by checking their registration number through the Irish Medical Council.

Health care received abroad

You may claim expenses for health care received outside of Ireland. To qualify for relief, the medical practitioner must be registered under that country's laws to practice medicine or dentistry there.

You may travel abroad to receive health care that is not available in Ireland. If so, you can claim relief on reasonable accommodation and travel costs, as well as your health care costs. Revenue also allows relief on the accommodation and travel costs of a person who accompanies you, if your condition requires it.

List of qualifying health expenses

This list gives examples of some of the costs that you can claim relief for:

  • doctors and consultants fees
  • diagnostic procedures carried out on the advice of a practitioner
  • drugs and medicines supplied by a pharmacist and prescribed by a doctor, dentist, or consultant
  • maintenance or treatment in a hospital in connection with the services of a practitioner
  • supply, maintenance or repair of any medical, surgical, dental or nursing appliance used on the advice of a practitioner
  • orthoptic or similar treatment prescribed by a practitioner
  • transport by ambulance
  • 'in vitro' fertilization (IVF).

You can claim physiotherapy costs as a health expense if:

  • you are referred for physiotherapy by a practitioner
  • the treatment is carried out by a chiropractor, osteopath or bonesetter.

Acupuncture qualifies for relief if it is carried out by a practitioner, such as your GP. It does not qualify otherwise.

Relief on dental expenses is restricted to non-routine procedures.

Treatment from a psychologist or psychotherapist only qualifies for relief if either:

  • the psychologist or psychotherapist is a practitioner
  • you are referred for a diagnostic procedure by a psychiatrist.

If you are blind, you are entitled to the Blind Tax Credit. You cannot claim guide dog costs as health expenses, but you can claim the Guide Dog Allowance.

You can claim certain extra health care expenses if the patient is your child. These are explained in Health care for children.

Expenses that do not qualify

You cannot claim relief for cosmetic surgery or procedures, such as rhinoplasty, breast augmentation or Botox treatment. If you have cosmetic surgery to correct a health issue, such as breathing difficulties, relief may be available. You should contact your Revenue Office about such expenses.

You cannot claim relief for:

  • expenses that will be repaid by insurance companies, the Health Service Executive (HSE) or any other body
  • expenses that you receive compensation for
  • routine dental or ophthalmic (eye) care, such as eye tests.

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