A new survey shows that six in ten people are unaware they can get tax relief on the cost of special foods if they have to restrict their diet as a result of a medical condition, such as Coeliac disease or diabetes.
The latest Taxback Taxpayer Sentiment Survey examined awareness of the relief which allows people to claim 20% tax relief on the cost of certain food products bought as a result of dietary requirements linked to a medical condition.
The number of people suffering from coeliac disease in Ireland is estimated at 76,500, according to the Coeliac Society Of Ireland which estimates that a further 400,000 Irish people are gluten intolerant.
However, just 38% of adults are aware of the relief, while 62% have never heard of it, according to the survey.
To claim the relief, people have to provide Revenue with a doctor’s letter stating the medical condition and the specific dietary requirements.
People should also keep receipts for the gluten-free food bought as these will be needed to support any claim. These receipts can be from supermarkets, health stores and other similar shops.
If a person is registered with a supermarket’s loyalty card club or scheme, they may be able to get a listing of all the gluten-free foods bought from the supermarket over the course of a year – as long as those products were scanned using a loyalty card.
Taxback said that to be eligible for the relief, people need to be purchasing those foods on the advice of a doctor as a result of being diagnosed with Coeliac disease.
The purchase of gluten-free products as a lifestyle choice or for other non-medical reasons does not make one eligible for tax relief on these foods, it added.
Marian Ryan, consumer tax manager with Taxback, said that gluten-free foods, as well as other foods bought due to a medical condition, can be very expensive.
“For families on low incomes and those grappling with the cost-of-living crisis, treating coeliac disease through a strict gluten-free diet can be financially stressful – and so the tax relief available to them would make a huge difference,” she said.
“Sadly, in light of the poor awareness of this relief uncovered in our survey, there are likely many people who are losing out on it. Those who are eligible for this relief should be sure to claim what they are due in this regard,” she added.