The VAT on defibrillators is a “tax on saving lives” and must be scrapped, the Irish Heart Foundation has insisted in its pre-Budget submission, with claims by the charity that the average cost of an automated external defibrillator (AED) – €1,500 including €345 VAT – makes them unaffordable for many community organisations.
It wants Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, to remove the 23% tax burden levied on the portable, computerised devices in next month’s Budget. The Foundation’s Resuscitation Manager, Brigid Sinnott, said sporting and voluntary groups are also being hit with an estimated extra €100 in
VAT when they replace pads and batteries – required regularly to keep the AEDs in working order. “The VAT on defibrillators is a tax on saving lives and it’s time it was removed,” noted Sinnott, who is also a community first responder trained to administer defibrillation before paramedics arrive.
“The more AEDs there are available in local communities and accessible to the public, the more lives can be saved.” In some cardiac arrests, AEDs deliver a shock to the heart to resume its normal rhythm. More than 8,400 people so far have signed an online petition launched by the charity as part of its drive to have the VAT on AEDs scrapped.
“We hope the Minister will have listened to the thousands of individuals who have supported our petition by the time he delivers his Budget,” she added.
Volunteer network group Community First Responders (CFR) Ireland) is also backing the call. CFR Ireland chair John Fitzgerald said: “We in CFR Ireland have long called for VAT on AEDs to be removed and we are delighted to join the Irish Heart Foundation in this campaign. The VAT on AEDs is a barrier to saving lives and we hope the Minister will remove it in the Budget.”