Written Answers. - VAT Exemption for Embassy Employees.

121.

asked the Minister for Finance (a) if he will confirm that all items purchased by the staff of foreign embassies in Ireland are exempt from VAT; (b) the amount of VAT lost in this way for the years ending 31 December 1982 and 31 December 1983; and (c) if reciprocal arrangements apply in regard to our diplomatic missions abroad.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the position is as follows:

(a) only certain expenditure by the staff of foreign embassies in Ireland is relieved from VAT. The relief is provided by remission at source or by direct repayment, as appropriate;

(b) VAT repaid for year ending 31 December 1982 was £74,918 and for year ending 31 December 1983 was £143,021. Records are not kept in a form which would enable the amount of VAT relieved by means of remission at source to be established;

(c) the reliefs are similar to reliefs provided to diplomats (including Irish diplomats) in other countries. Reciprocity is not a specific condition of eligibility for the relief.