Revenue Note for Guidance

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Revenue Note for Guidance



This Part contains 2 Chapters. Chapter 1 contains the provisions relating to rates of VAT. It sets out the rates of VAT that apply in the State and provides for rules on how supplies comprising elements that potentially attract VAT at different rates are dealt with. Special rating rules for works of art, for contract work and for other supplies are also included. Revenue’s power to make determinations as to tax rates in cases of doubt is also covered (sections 46 to 51).

Chapter 2 deals with exemptions. It provides that VAT will not be chargeable in respect of any exempted activity (section 52).

Chapter 1 - Rates

46. Rates of tax


This section sets out the rates of VAT that apply in the State. All goods and services, other than those specified as being exempt or liable at the zero, 9% or 13.5% rate, are liable at the standard rate of 21%. The 21% rate of VAT temporarily applies from 1 September up to 28 February 2021, after which point the previous standard rate of 23% will once again apply. The only exceptions are supplies of livestock or greyhounds, which are liable at the livestock rate of 4.8%. Supplies liable at 0% are listed in Schedule 2; supplies liable at the reduced rates of 9% and 13.5% are listed in Schedule 3.

The section provides that the rate to be used is the rate in force when the tax becomes due and sets out the powers the Minister for Finance has to vary the two Schedules. An interpretation of the term “specified in the Schedules” is also given.


(1) Subsection (1) lists the different rates:

(a) 21% (until 28th February 2021, after which the 23% rate will once again apply) on all taxable goods and services not covered by paragraphs (b), (c), (ca), (cb) or (d).

(b) 0% on all goods and services in Schedule 2.

(c) 13.5% on all goods and services in Schedule 3 except those goods and services to which paragraph (ca) applies.

(ca) 9% on all goods and services in paragraphs 7(a), 7A and 12 of Schedule 3.

(cb) during the period from 1 November 2020 to 31 December 2021, 9% on all goods and services in paragraphs 3(1), 3(3), 7(b) to (e), 8, 11 and 13(3) of Schedule 3. During this period, the 9% rate of VAT temporarily applies to supplies of restaurant and catering services, guest and holiday accommodation, various entertainment services such as admissions to cinemas, theatres, museums, fairgrounds and amusement parks. The 9% VAT rate also temporarily applies to hairdressing services and to certain printed matter such as brochures, maps, and programmes.

(d) 4.8% on the supply of livestock and live greyhounds.

(2) Subsection (2) provides that the rate at which tax is chargeable in relation to the supply of goods or services is the rate in force on the date on which the tax in respect of the supply falls due. See Chapter 3 of Part 9 for more on due dates.

As a general rule, in dealings with another registered person the tax falls due on the date of issue of an invoice in respect of the transaction, and in dealings with an unregistered person the tax falls due on the date of the supply of the goods or services. Any payment in advance will trigger a charge to tax in respect of that payment.

(3) Subsection (3) clarifies the meaning to be given to the word “specified” in the context of goods or services being specified in a Schedule. The paragraph makes it clear that any goods or services that are specifically excluded from any paragraph of a Schedule are automatically excluded from every other paragraph of that Schedule and are not regarded as specified in the Schedule.

(4)The Minister may, by order, vary Schedule 2 or 3 by adding or deleting any goods or services from the lists. He or she may not, however, increase the rates or extend the classes of activities in the Schedules by way of order – this must be done by way of Budget Resolution and Finance Act. Ministerial orders may be amended or revoked. A Ministerial order must be passed by Dáil Éireann within 21 days of the order being laid before the Dáil.

(5) Subsection (5) provides that, in relation to supplies to which paragraph 11(4)(a) of Schedule 2 relate [PPE, thermometers, hand sanitisers, etc. supplied in accordance with paragraph 11(4)(a)] where the European Commission adopts a decision to extend or further extend the period of application during which relief is granted by Commission Decision (EU) 2020/491 to a date later than 30 April 2021 or to any later date, the Minister shall by order amend paragraph 11(4)(a) of Schedule 2 to such date or further extended period and this order may have retrospective effect if so expressed and must be laid before the Dáil after it has been made in the usual manner. The definitions of Commission Decision (EU) 2020/491 and Covid-19 are also clarified for the purposes of this subsection.

Relevant Date: Finance Act 2020