Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children and Fine Gael Cork South Central Deputy, Jerry Buttimer TD, has called for immediate action to prevent VAT being reclaimed by retailers selling alcohol below cost price.
“The issue of below cost selling of alcohol was again raised at today’s meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee. The National Off-Licence Association informed the Committee that when alcohol is sold below cost price the retailer is entitled to a refund of the VAT differential.
“This can be put another way, the Government, the taxpayers are in effect subsidising those large retailers who can afford to sell alcohol below cost price. The VAT refund which retailers can obtain equates to 17% of the difference between the cost price and the actual below cost sale price. This cannot be permitted to continue.
“We need to immediately address this anomaly as it flies in the face of Government policy. At a recent meeting of the Health Committee, Minister of State Roisin Shortall TD, confirmed that she wanted to tackle the issue of alcohol pricing, yet we have tax refunds which facilitate below cost selling. We must have a consistent policy approach, the taxation system should not be an obstruction to Government policy objectives. It should facilitate the attainment of Government’s policy aims.”