Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (175)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

175. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance the reason there is such an unfair VAT system in that emergency services engaged in sea rescue do not have to pay VAT on equipment but persons who provide services such as mountain rescue have to pay VAT at the full rate; the reason this is the case; if the Government has any proposals to reduce the VAT being charged to mountain rescue groups and similar organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15075/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Certain persons engaged in water rescue can apply for a VAT refund on the purchase of vessels and ancillary related equipment for the purposes of search and rescue at sea, inshore or on inland waterways. A similar provision is not available for persons providing mountain rescue services.

VAT law is governed by the EU VAT Directive, with which Irish VAT law must comply.  The EU VAT Directive makes specific provision under Articles 148 and 169, for a zero rate of VAT to apply to the supply of vessels for rescue or assistance at sea.  Irish VAT law transposed this provision in 1978 by providing that the zero rate of VAT apply to the supply of large vessels used for sea rescue.  In addition, a VAT Refund Order for the purchase of smaller sea rescue vessels was introduced from 1985, and extended in 2013 to apply to vessels for inland water rescue.  Irish VAT law does not provide for an exemption from VAT on supplies or purchases of mountain rescue equipment as this is not provided for under the EU VAT Directive.