independent

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Vitamin tax unfair on those who live well

From March 1 VAT will be added to vitamins and food supplements
From March 1 VAT will be added to vitamins and food supplements

Straight Talking - Deborah Coleman

From March 1, VAT will be applied to vitamins and food supplements, a move which has not found favour with those seeking to lead a healthier lifestyle.

The 23 per cent rate will apply which means that these products will face a significant price increase.

While not everyone chooses to take vitamin supplements, there are some which are recommended by doctors, such as folic acid during pregnancy, or iron tablets for anaemia, so as such, consumers don't have any choice but to cough up the extra.

Health store owners have outlined that customers are consciously setting money aside to be able to afford these products, which are not luxuries by any means.

A survey carried out recently revealed that women could face an additional cost of €18 to €86 over a three year period once this increase is in effect.

The move has been branded 'a tax on health' and for many they feel they should not be hit in the pocket for taking a pro-active approach to nourishing their bodies and trying to stave off doctor visits and health issues in the future.

At a time when hospitals are creaking under the pressure from those who have abused their bodies through poor diet, smoking and alcohol, it is really fair to burden those who are doing the exact opposite?

Irish citizens should be encouraged to do whatever they can to preserve their health and if studies show that certain food supplements can have a positive effect, then they should be exempt.

Aside from the damage this will do to the pockets of consumers, there will also be an impact on health store owners, many of which run small, independent businesses employing a handful of people.

It will hit them like a tidal wave as they deal with disgruntled customers and face the cost of shelling out a higher price for stock.

I think that the implementation of this tax was really hitting an easy target and if some tax must be imposed, a lower rate should have been considered.

To go from zero to 23 per cent on any product is a severe increase and there is little consideration for those whose lifestyle require such products.

Rather than penalising those try to live as healthy as life as possible, the government should be ensuring that there is every incentive to continue their efforts.

Sligo Champion

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