The VAT treatment of the supply of goods and services is subject to the requirements of the EU VAT Directive, with which Irish VAT law must comply. Exemptions from VAT for certain activities in the public interest are set out in Chapter 2 of Title IX of the Directive. These provisions are transposed into Irish legislation in Part 1, Schedule 1, VAT Consolidation Act 2010. Paragraph 2(5) of Schedule 1 provides for an exemption in respect of the supply of professional dental services.
The exemption from VAT in respect of dental services is not dependent on the legal form of the taxable person supplying the service. It is the nature of the service that informs the VAT treatment. The legislation which transposes Article 132 of the Directive, and Revenue’s interpretation of the legislation, ensures that the exemption from VAT to the supply of dental services is applied consistently and in a manner which is not dependent on the legal form of the person supplying the service. In accordance with the Directive and CJEU jurisprudence the VAT exemption applies to dental services provided by a clinic, a principal dentist, or by an associate dentist, where those services are provided to a patient.
Where a principal dentist receives consideration in respect of fee sharing arrangements and the nature of services consists of the supply of facilities for the carrying on of a dental practice, Revenue views this as a taxable supply of services within the scope of VAT. The final consumer in this fee sharing arrangement is not a patient availing of a supply of dental services to which the exemption applies.
Revenue has been clear at all times regarding the VAT treatment of dental fee sharing arrangements and has outlined its position in correspondence and meetings with the Irish Dental Association.