VAT on defibrillators is a “life saving tax” and must be eliminated, the Irish Heart Foundation stresses in its pre-budget proposal.
The charity claims that the average cost of an automated external defibrillator (AED) – €1,500 including €345 VAT – makes it unaffordable for many charities.
The foundation wants Treasury Secretary Paschal Donohoe to scrap the 23 percent tax burden on portable computer-based devices in next month’s budget.
Brigid Sinnott, Resuscitation Manager, said sports and volunteer groups will also face an estimated additional €100 in VAT if they replace pads and batteries – which are regularly required to keep AEDs functional.
“VAT on defibrillators is a tax that saves lives and it’s about time it was abolished,” said Ms Sinnott, who is also trained as a community first responder to administer defibrillations before paramedics arrive.
“The more AEDs are available in local communities and open to the public, the more lives can be saved.”
In some cardiac arrests, AEDs deliver a shock to the heart to resume its normal rhythm.
More than 8,400 people have so far signed an online petition launched by the charity as part of its efforts to eliminate VAT on AEDs.
“We hope the Minister has been listening to the thousands of people who have supported our petition until he presents his budget,” Ms Sinnott added.
Community First Responders Ireland (CFR Ireland) volunteer group is also supporting the call.
The Chair, John Fitzgerald, said: “We at CFR Ireland have long campaigned for the elimination of VAT on AEDs and we are delighted to join the Irish Heart Foundation.
“VAT on AEDs is an obstacle to saving lives and we hope the Minister will remove it from the budget.”
In its submission ahead of the 2023 budget, the Irish Heart Foundation is also calling for the publication and full funding of the long-awaited National Stroke Strategy, including an allocation of over €10 million over the next three years to increase the workforce of stroke services.
The charity would like €1 million in funding for a new cardiovascular health department at the Ministry of Health and to start work on a cardiovascular health policy.
In addition, the bill calls for the government to allocate revenue from the sugar-sweetened beverage tax to a national program to improve children’s health.
The tax could be made more effective, the charity said, if it were extended to milk-based drinks.
The charity is also calling for a 20 percent increase in the budget for the €13.6 million school lunch program and the introduction of healthy food subsidies to help underprivileged communities.
As well as an excise tax of 10 cents on every milliliter of e-cigarette liquid sold, she is also urging Minister Donohoe to get a pro rata hike in tobacco duty rolling – which would mean a pack of 20 cigarettes would cost €20 by 2025.
This would require a budget price increase of €1.57 per package over the next month.
https://www.independent.ie/news/a-tax-on-saving-lives-vat-on-defibrillators-slammed-for-adding-hundreds-of-euro-to-their-cost-and-upkeep-41935053.html “A Tax on Life Savings” – VAT is added to defibrillators because it adds hundreds of euros to their cost and upkeep