IAHS Campaign to keep Your Health Tax Free

(Source: Irish Assocation of Health Stores, May 31st 2014)

Irish Revenue are slowly but surely rolling forward with a policy which will mean, that money spent on maintaining or improving your health will be taxed at 23 percent.

Read the full story at the Irish Association of Health Stores website.


ANH-Intl Comment: It seems as if the Irish government has found a new way to kneecap the natural healthcare sector through taxation. We are familiar with the usual challenges – product bans on the flimsiest of reasons, regulating others out of existence, harassing practitioners and public scaremongering – but penalising the health conscious with exorbitant taxes seems like a new low.


The government of the Republic of Ireland is proposing to levy 23% VAT on natural health products at a time of national austerity. At the moment, only herbal teas and food supplements other than vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fish oils are affected. This is bad enough – maintaining one’s health should never be regarded as a luxury to be taxed – but we know enough about how governments work to suspect that more is on the cards. It’s all about boiling the frog slowly, so he doesn’t jump out of the water until he’s thoroughly broiled. Slap a tax on all natural products at once, and there’s an outcry. Introduce VAT on a limited range of products under reasonable-sounding justifications, and most people won’t take any notice at first. Next thing you know, everyone wishing to maintain their health naturally is paying through the nose for the ‘privilege’.


Certain Irish food supplements have been liable for VAT since 2011. A single query from a consultant acting on behalf of “a major supplier” triggered the Irish tax authorities to declare that only teas made from Camellia sinensis are liable for the zero VAT tax rate.  Jill Bell of the Irish Association of Health Stores (IAHS) suspects it won’t be long before Ireland is paying VAT on all food supplements, as the UK does already: “The IAHS is organising a short, sharp campaign, focusing on telling government TDs [Teachtaí Dála, or  Members of Parliament] and Minister Noonan that taxing health food supplements would be a totally illogical step. A tax on health would bring our government into yet further disrepute with voters, and end up actually costing our beleaguered health service in the long run instead of earning revenue.”


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