Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Department of Finance
134. To ask the Minister for Finance his views on whether the VAT system is subsidising below-cost selling of alcohol in circumstances in which the VAT paid on the purchase of alcohol is greater than the VAT received from the sale to the customer and the State refunds the difference; if there are legislative mechanisms to cease same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53748/18]
I would point out that there is no Exchequer loss as a result of below-cost selling of alcohol. VAT is a tax on the value added to a supply, and the collection and recovery of VAT takes place at each stage of the chain of supply from manufacturing to retailer. Under EU and domestic VAT rules, traders who are registered for VAT collect VAT on the goods and services that they sell. In turn such traders are entitled to recover the VAT they incur on their business inputs used in the purchase or production of goods or delivery of services. Consequently, if there is a decrease in value at any stage in the process the trader is entitled to a refund of the excess of VAT incurred over that collected.
In this case, where a retailer is in a situation of net VAT gain as a result of below cost selling, this is not a loss to the Exchequer or an additional benefit to the retailer, it is merely how VAT is charged.