Removing VAT from lifesaving defibrillators would help to protect communities across the country, the Fine Gael Health Spokesperson Colm Burke has said.
Deputy Burke was speaking after the publication of the Department of Finance Tax Strategy Group Papers today (Wednesday), which includes an option to extend the zero rate of VAT on medical equipment to defibrillators.
Deputy Burke said, “Removing VAT from defibrillators would greatly increase their take up in local communities around the country. This would be a progressive move, removing tax on what is lifesaving equipment.
“Fine Gael is working to build stronger safer communities to make our local areas better places in which to live and work. It is really is important that every community has access to a defibrillator. Defibrillators and effective CPR are the main treatment for casualties of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Approximately 95% of Sudden Cardiac Arrests are fatal without immediate treatment.
“In Ireland at present defibrillators are taxed at the standard rate of VAT at 23%. Recent changes at EU level mean EU Member States have more flexibility in how they apply VAT rules, meaning that we now have the capacity to change this.
“A tax on life saving equipment is an additional charge for community groups and sports organisations. These groups and organisations are providing equipment to protect their members and those in their communities, and we should not penalise them for helping to keep people safe.
“I was pleased to see today’s report of the Tax Strategy Group list the expansion of the zero VAT rate on medical equipment to defibrillators among the new policy options for Government. I strongly urge the Government to take up this option in the upcoming Budget.
“All the evidence shows that defibrillators help to save lives. The Department of Health has previously noted the need for more defibrillator machines to be made publicly accessible and have indicated that a zero rate of VAT would help with this. It’s time for the VAT on defibrillators to end”, concluded Deputy Burke.