Fianna Fáil TD for Kerry John Brassil says any move to increase the tax on food supplements should be halted until a review by the Tax Strategy Group has been completed and has issued recommendations.

Revenue announced plans late last year to increase the VAT on food supplements from 0% to 23% from 1st March 2019.

Deputy Brassil said, “This issue was raised last year as the Finance Bill was being debated in the Dáil and at that stage the Junior Finance Minister Michael D’arcy said the Tax Strategy Group would be examining a number of tax issues, including the proposals on food supplements, and a decision would be taken once the Tax Strategy Group published its review in the summer.

“Despite this, Revenue subsequently announced that it would be raising the VAT on food supplements up to 23% from March.

“While I appreciate that Revenue is independent from government, I don’t understand why these changes are being made in advance of the publication of the Tax Strategy Group’s report.  Surely it would make more sense to make a decision once the Group has had the opportunity to consider the issue.

“The huge hike in VAT, which is due to come in in March, will have a major impact on the day to day costs of hundreds of thousands of people who take food supplements.  The majority are taking them to improve their health and now they’ll be penalised for doing so.

“The Taoiseach’s comments on the issue tell their own story.  His opinion that “food supplements very rarely do anything for our health.  They are mostly snake oil and just cost people money”.  His dismissive attitude was insulting to the many individuals and families who supplement their diets with vitamins, minerals and fish-oil supplements in a bid to live healthier lives.

“The proposed VAT hike could see the cost of these supplements jump by more than €7 a month – that will make it unaffordable for people who are already finding the cost of living extremely high.  I am calling on the change to be halted until the Tax Strategy Group publishes its review in the summer”, concluded Deputy Brassil.