13.5% VAT Rate on Sunbed Sessions and 23% on Sunscreen is an Unacceptable Discrepancy that Needs to be Addressed in Budget 2018

I have described the discrepancy between the 13.5% VAT rate on sunbed sessions and 23% VAT rate on sunscreen as both incomprehensible and unacceptable.
Under the VAT Consolidation Act 2010 – sunbed sessions are currently allocated a reduced VAT rate as it is deemed a service consisting of ‘care of the human body’.
It is ranked alongside beauty treatments, yoga and nail salons – while paradoxically, the standard 23% VAT rate is applied to sunscreen.
The concept of sunbed sessions coming under the category of ‘care of the human body’, is beyond comprehension.
There is strong scientific evidence of the link between skin cancer and sunbed use. In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified sunbeds as ‘carcinogenic’ to humans, in the same category as plutonium and tobacco.
A recent IPSOS MRBI poll by the Irish Cancer Society, shows that 150,000 people in Ireland used a sunbed in the last year, with 36,000 of them using a sunbed once a week.
Moreover, the survey revealed a worrying increase in the volume of young people using sunbeds.
As such, I am now urging Minister Paschal Donohoe to raise the VAT rate on sunbeds to the standard VAT rate of 23% in Budget 2018.

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