Minister Noonan notes extension of tax credit to assistance Dog Owners

The Minister for Finance Michael Noonan T.D, has noted the extension by Revenue of the current Guide Dog tax allowance to owners of Assistance Dogs.

Revenue has published updated guidelines, these can be found here

Minister Noonan said:

“Today’s extension of the current Guide Dog tax allowance to owners who depend on the assistance of trained service dogs is a further step by the Government to make Ireland a fairer and more inclusive society. This move to support owners of Assistance Dogs will provide much needed additional support to individuals and families in our society.”

Where a person maintains a trained assistance dog,  €825 (which is the equivalent of a tax credit of €165) may be claimed as a health expense similar to the relief allowed to blind individuals who maintain a guide dog supplied by an organisation accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation, such as the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Assistance dogs are trained to meet the specific needs of their owner which can include the following:

Help their owner to 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 and undress.
Bark to raise the alarm in an emergency for example, in the case of a fall or seizure.
Retrieve items such as a telephone or dropped articles like keys or a bag.

Autism assistance dogs are generally trained to:

Help the person or child to get out and about more easily and have a calming effect.
Detect danger or certain medical symptoms that the person may develop and give warning.

To qualify for the relief in respect of an assistance dog, an individual must prove that he or she maintains a trained dog which has been supplied by an organisation accredited by Assistance Dogs Europe, the European chapter of Assistance Dogs International, a worldwide coalition of non-profit programmes that train and place Assistance Dogs.  In Ireland, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and Irish Dogs for the Disabled are accredited members of Assistance Dogs Europe. Autism Assistance Dogs and My Canine Companion Autism Assistance Dogs have applied for membership.