Tax relief at 20% has now been made available by the Revenue Commissioners in respect of Assistance Dogs which are supplied and trained by an organisation accredited by Assistance Dogs Europe (ADEu). Assistance Dogs Europe (ADEu) are the European chapter of Assistance Dogs International (ADI), a worldwide coalition of non-profit programmes that train and place Assistance Dogs. The tax relief may be claimed in the following two situations:
Blind Person’s Guide Dog
Where a blind person maintains a trained guide dog, supplied by an organisation accredited by the Irish Guide Dog Association, an agreed sum of €825 may be claimed as a health expense by that person (i.e. total tax credit of €165).
For an individual to be eligible to claim this relief they must be entitled to the Blind Person’s Tax Credit and provide written confirmation from the Irish Guide Dogs Association that he/she is the registered owner of a trained dog.
A letter from the organisation which supplied the dogs confirming that the claimant is the registered owner of a guide dog should be submitted with the first claim and the relief will be granted for each year thereafter during which the person maintains the dog.
Assistance Dogs for Disabled Individuals including Children with Autism
If a person maintains a trained Assistance Dog, a sum of €825 may be claimed as a health expense by that person (i.e. total tax credit of €165).
To qualify for this relief an individual must prove that he/ she maintains a trained dog which has been supplied by an organisation accredited by the Assistance Dogs Europe. A statement from the organisation which supplied the dog will be sufficient for the first claim and the relief may be granted each year thereafter during which the individual maintains the dog.
Assistance dogs are trained to meet specific needs of their owner which can include the following:
- Help their owner stand and walk by providing a stable base and forward motion
- Provide warning of an approaching seizure or a fall in blood sugar levels, to allow the owner to take preventive action
- Alert a deaf owner to a variety of sounds
- Help a person dress/undress
- Bark to raise the alarm in an emergency e.g. in the case of a fall/seizure
- Retrieve items such as telephone/keys/a bag
- Help the person/child to get out and about more easily and have a calming effect, especially for children
- Detect danger or certain medical symptoms that the person may develop and give warning