The purchase of a pendant alarm system and its monitoring, are subject to the standard rate of 21%. The installation of such a system, where it includes the purchase of such an alarm, is generally subject to the reduced rate of 13.5%.
The VAT rating of goods and services is largely subject to the requirements of EU VAT law with which Irish VAT law must comply. While we can maintain the zero rating on those goods and services which were zero-rated before 1 January 1991, the purchase, installation or monitoring services for such alarms do not fall within this category. Since we cannot introduce any new zero rate of VAT, we cannot therefore relieve such services as referred to by the Deputy.
I would add that under the Value Added Tax (Refund of Tax)(No. 15) Order 1981, it is possible to obtain a VAT refund in respect of the purchase of a pendant alarm system, as it is considered a medical device for the purpose of this refund order. Applicants should contact the Revenue Commissioners, VAT repayments (unregistered section), Kilrush Road, Ennis, County Clare.
I understand that a scheme of community support for older people is operated by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The purpose of this scheme is to provide funding for initiatives to improve the security and social support of vulnerable older people. Under the terms of the scheme, grant aid is available towards the once off cost of purchase and installation of small-scale physical security equipment such as strengthening of doors and windows, window locks, door chains and security lighting; and socially-monitored alarm systems, such as pendant alarms, which are operated via the telephone and are worn around the neck or wrist.
Annual monitoring fees or maintenance fees associated with socially-monitored alarm systems are not provided for under the scheme. As these fees are levied by private service providers, I understand that the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs has no role in setting, abolishing, waiving or reducing such fees.