Jul 15, 2022 | Featured Articles

The Irish Heart Foundation is calling for the removal of VAT on defibrillators as soon as is allowable under EU law and claims that changes in EU legislation will finally give the Government the power to abolish what the charity has condemned for years as “a tax on saving lives”.

Despite the medical devices saving scores of lives in Irish communities each year, EU tax rules have left the State with no option but to impose the top rate of VAT on them. This means that organisations such as sports clubs and community groups must fork out almost €300 extra for a defibrillator costing €1,300 and up to €100 more in VAT each time pads and batteries are replaced.

The Irish Heart Foundation has written to Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, urging him to ensure a VAT exemption for defibrillators can be introduced as soon as possible after EU Finance Ministers agreed amendments to a directive which gives member States more flexibility in setting certain VAT rates.

“The latest statistics for 2020 show that out of 2,638 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests recorded in Ireland, just 164 patients survived,” said Irish Heart Foundation Director of Advocacy, Chris Macey.

“For every minute without CPR or defibrillation, a person’s chance of survival decreases by 10%. The more public access there is to defibrillators, the more lives can be saved.

“The higher the cost of these devices, along with pads and batteries that must be regularly replaced, the less likely sports and community organisations can afford to purchase and upkeep them. In these circumstances, it is no exaggeration to say that VAT on defibrillators is a tax on saving lives.”

Latest issue

Click cover to view online issue