Minister Defends VAT Hike On Food Supplements

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has defended a decision to increase the VAT on food supplements, including vitamins and minerals, from zero to 23%.

The Government has been accused of “sneaking” in a 23% rise in the price of food supplements by Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin in the Dáil.

Mr. Howlin claimed the 23% tax increase, which comes into effect on 1 March, was not provided for in the Budget 2019 legislation and it was “sneaked in”.

He asked Mr. Donohoe if he would agree to halt the increase and engage with the stakeholders to see if some compromise can be arrived at.

Health Stores Ireland, the trade association for Ireland’s health stores, and the Irish Pharmacy Union have been campaigning against the price increases.

The 23% standard rate of VAT currently applies to food supplements. But a zero-VAT rating has been applied to vitamins, minerals and fish-oil supplements such as Omega 3 has applied for 47 years.

There have been concerns recently in the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners that the zero rates have been applied to products that should be liable to the full 23% standard VAT rate.