The VAT rating of goods and services is subject to the requirements of EU VAT law, with which Irish VAT law must comply. In accordance with the EU VAT Directive, the supply of conference facilities is liable to the standard rate of VAT, currently 23%.
Where a supply of a conference room takes place in a hotel it would come within the meaning of a ‘letting of a room in a hotel or guest house’ as provided for in paragraph 11 of Schedule 3 to the VAT Consolidation Act, 2010. On that basis, the supply of the room is liable to the reduced VAT rate of 13.5%. This reduced rate applies to the room only and not to any other supplies associated with the service being provided. In this context, the provision of a room or rooms in a conference centre does not come within the scope of the application of the reduced rate of VAT as it is not a ‘letting of a room in a hotel or guest house’.
Furthermore, there is no scope for national discretion to apply the reduced rate solely to the supply of conference facilities, as the provision of conferencing facilities is not included in Annex III of the VAT Directive (which provides that Member States may apply reduced VAT rates to goods or services listed therein), nor did it apply at a reduced or zero rate since 1 January 1991.