The position is that Section 465 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides for an annual tax credit of €3,300 for each qualifying child that a claimant proves is living with him during the year of assessment. For these purposes a qualifying child is—
(a) if under 18 years of age, permanently incapacitated by physical or mental infirmity, or
(b) if over 18 years of age either permanently incapacitated by physical or mental infirmity before reaching the age of 21, or was in full-time education when they became permanently incapacitated.
In the case of a child under the age of 18 years the credit is granted only if there is a reasonable expectation that, if the child were over the age of 18 years, he or she would be incapable of maintaining himself or herself.
The requirement that there be a reasonable expectation that the child concerned would not be able to care for himself or herself after the age of 18 years was introduced in Finance Act 1986.
In general, a permanent incapacity may be taken as a mental or physical infirmity of a permanent nature which significantly reduces the mental or physical capacity of the child, below that which would be enjoyed by a normal child, and which cannot be ameliorated by the use of any treatment, device, medication or therapy. In other words, the child's capacity to lead a reasonably normal life must be permanently impaired.
I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the type of disabilities which are regarded as being permanently incapacitating include Cystic Fibrosis, Spina Bifida, Blindness, severe and permanent deafness that affects both ears, Downs Syndrome, Spastic Paralysis, certain forms of Schizophrenia, and Acute Autism.
If the disability is not one of the above, or where it is not obvious that the child's incapacity is of a serious and permanent nature a doctor's certificate should be submitted with the initial claim.