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Food Supplement VAT Crackdown

01 February 2019

Food Supplement VAT Crackdown

Richard Cooper, MSc Design Innovation in Food, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board


The Revenue Commissioners will impose a flat VAT rate of 23% on food supplements including vitamins, minerals, probiotics, folic acid, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and cannabidiol from March 1st.


According to The Irish Times, although the standard rate of VAT currently applies to all food supplements, the zero- rate applied to vitamins, minerals and fish- oil supplements has been in place since the introduction of the tax in November 1972.


There are concerns in the Department of Finance that although many businesses operating in the food industry apply the correct rates across non- zero- rated products, others apply the zero rate to products that should be standard rated, which results in a degree of unfair advantage between compliant and non- complaint businesses. Health stores have reacted angrily with Matt Ronan, spokesman for Health Stores Ireland calling it “a tax on the health of the people of Ireland.” The current VAT rate applied to a fast food hamburger is 13.5%.


Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue has defended the hike and states “what it refers to now is an interpretation of our tax code by the Revenue Commissioners who are, as everyone knows, independent of direction from me.”