Sunbed VAT rate increased due to “clear evidence” of link to skin cancer

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Minister Paschal Donohue increased the VAT rate applied to sunbed services in yesterday’s budget, due to “clear evidence” of a link between sunbed use and skin cancer.

The increase from 13.5 percent to 23 percent reflects the fact that skin cancer remains the most common type of cancer in Ireland.

16 percent of those diagnosed with skin cancer ultimately die from the disease, according to the National Cancer Registry.

Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society, Donal Buggy said: “There is a direct link between sunbed use and skin cancer, so we are delighted to see the Government address an anomaly which saw sunbed sessions charged at a reduced VAT rate of 13.5 percent, and increase it to the standard VAT rate of 23 percent.”

“In the long term we would like to see an exploration of a complete, or partial ban on sunbeds, as part of the development of the Skin Cancer Prevention Plan by the Department of Health, under the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026.”

The National Cancer Registry shows an increase of 1,698 cases of non-melanoma cancers over a four-year period from 2010 to 2014.

The total recorded non-melanoma skin cancers for 2014 were 10,304, with melanoma skin cancers for the same year a total of 1,041.

A proposal pre budget from Senator Catherine Noone had asked the government to visit this issue saying that it made no sense Sunbed service providers, to be applied with a lower rate of VAT than that applied to sun creams.

At the time she said: “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.”

“Recent research commissioned by the Irish Cancer Society showed 150,000 people in Ireland used a sunbed in the last year. The modest price increase from the VAT rise will hopefully disincentive sunbed use, particularly among young people, who are at greater risk from harm,” Buggy said.

Orla O’Driscoll

Image Credit: RSVP Magazine