Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan is confident that a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks can be implemented in 2017, saying that it would “contribute towards important public health goals, as well providing a new source of revenue for public spending”.
Answering a question from Fianna Fail TD, Michael McGrath, on the feasibility of introducing a tax next year, he said that officials from his department and from the Department of Health, and the Revenue Commissioners are currently considering its possible design and implementation.
He explained that, "Unlike alcohol and tobacco, sugar-sweetened drinks are not a controlled product under the EU general excises directive, and therefore cannot be stored in tax warehouses for release and tracking, so that raises issues in itself."
Noonan also noted that the UK announced the introduction of a levy on soft drinks in March of this year, which will be actually imposed from April 2018.
"Given the border that is shared between Ireland the UK, and the supermarket chains which operate and supply sugar sweetened drinks in both jurisdictions, it is important that we examine carefully how the UK tax will operate, and consider the effects that the design and timing of the introduction of the UK tax may have on an Irish tax on sugar sweetened drinks."
He concluded by saying that while he is confident the tax can be introduced from 2017, he wants to carefully consider all aspects of the design and implementation plan before making a final decision.
"If I find that the compliance and trade distortion risks that could arise, by applying such a tax in Ireland without a similar measure in the UK, are too high, I may decide to wait until the UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy is in place before I introduce the tax. Whether the tax is introduced in 2017 or not will ultimately be a matter for Budget 2017."
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.