VAT exemption for visitors threatens local jobs

In Blog, East Galway, South Roscommon by Denis Naughten

The introduction of a €75 threshold for non-EU visitors to Ireland in order to avail of the VAT exemption, has the potential to threaten jobs at Dubarry in Ballinasloe which employs 50 people. This is because many of the retailers who Dubarry rely on, use this VAT free exemption to promote significant sales of Dubarry products with US visitors.

See my full contribution below.

In light of its impact on local jobs I tabled an amendment to the proposed law which was supported by Labour, Independent colleagues & Sinn Fein. This would have removed the €75 threshold while maintaining a new condition by UK visitors that they would have to pay the VAT and subsequently reclaim it, which would close off any risk of exploitation of the scheme, post Brexit, when it becomes a 3rd Country under VAT law, while still retaining the exemption for other visitors from the US, Australia etc.

Disappointingly, the Government rejected this proposal and reversed their decision to accept a proposal from the opposition to have this threshold reviewed in 12 months’ time, because the opposition had the audacity to call a vote on the introduction of this new condition of accessing the VAT exemption.

This proposed law now goes to Seanad Éireann for consideration and I’m sure this issue will be raised again with Government, who may have a change of mind!