Health Stores welcome VAT deferral but …

Mar 14, 2019

Ireland’s 200+ independent health stores are delighted that the planned application of 23% VAT on all vitamins and food supplements has been deferred by the Irish Revenue Commissioners until November to allow for the Government to legislate an acceptable alternative.

An intensive campaign which culminated with a protest and a presentation of 75,000 petition signatures outside the Dail and the offices of the Revenue on February 26th was greeted with the unexpected announcement of the deferral.

Health Stores Ireland President, Gerald Colfer said, “We have said all along that it was Government’s job to set tax policy and Revenue’s role to interpret this policy. Applying 23% VAT to food supplements made no sense socially, morally or fiscally”.

Gerald Colfer

President, Gerald Colfer

Campaign Spokesperson Matt Ronan said “Revenue have given a window to Government to act and our campaign will now step up to ensure they do. The petition gathering and the political lobbying will continue. We have received cross party support and assistance from politicians from all parties and from independents. This bodes well for a legislative solution.

Our focus is now on using the momentum from our campaign to date and the ground-swell of public and political support to have vitamins and food supplements legislated as zero VAT food, as they have been for the last 45 years.”

Health Stores Ireland issued a statement saying that food supplements are defined as food by the European Food Safety Authority. There are many approved, science backed, claims that can be legally attributed to certain specified nutrients. Apart from these, food supplements are marketed without claims.

They are legislated as food and regulated in Ireland by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. The Irish Health Food Sector is one of the most heavily regulated sectors in the country.

Health Stores Ireland, National Organiser, Alan McGrath said, “Well informed consumers who wish to take control of their own health will always do so and it’s better that they seek advice and products from a regulated sector, with a permanent bricks and mortar presence where training, quality and efficacy are paramount.

While we wholeheartly agree and promote that the best means to achieve optimal nutrition is via a balanced diet, in reality this isn’t always possible or practical.

There are lifestyle issues and some long-term health conditions that necessitate the need for supplementation.” Alan said that the organisation will be using the grass-roots network of stores and the many political and executive connections they have made over the term of the campaign to date to ensure that the Government maintain the zero VAT rate and legislate for this in the October budget.

Partners of Health Stores Ireland