Or consider the Vat slapped on a visit to the marriage counsellor (23%), while the trip to the lap-dancing club that may have precipitated that visit is just 9%.
Yes, these random acts of Vat have so incensed some of our representatives that a Campaign for Vat Reform has been set up ahead of the budget. The aim is to ensure a “comprehensive review” of the entire Vat system, according to Kells town councillor Brian Collins, who believes there is “no rhyme or reason to it”.
Among the more bizarre anomalies in the Vat system are:
*23% Vat on Irish dancing, whereas ballet is Vat free;
*23% on toothbrushes and toothpaste, while sugar is at 0%;
*Sign-language interpreters at 23% versus astrologers at 13.5%;
*Catheters for medical use are taxed at 23% but caviar is at 0%.
Mr Collins said a Vat rate of 23% on incontinence pads has to be the “meanest tax going”.
“There needs to be a revenue-neutral rebalancing,” Mr Collins said. “In an era where obesity is becoming commonplace in Ireland, sugar is exempt from tax but a toothbrush or toothpaste is charged at 23%.”
Mr Collins said that, according to the Department of Finance, ballet dancing is essential, “but Irish dancing is a luxury”.
“The cast of Riverdance must be hopping,” he said.
Mr Collins established a Facebook campaign for Vat reform a few months ago and has already gained 2,500 fans, as well as the support of a number of politicians, including Ireland East MEP Nessa Childers.
Ms Childers said the Vat system “is riddled with glaring anomalies and loopholes that need to be sorted out”.
Mr Collins said checking out Vat rates has become “almost an obsession”.
“Some things have to be rated under EU directives but most are at the discretion of the Irish Government.
“No single government allowed this to go crazy. It’s the Department of Finance which allocated the rates to luxury and essential items over the years.”
Mr Collins said he believed that, within current Vat receipts, there was “massive scope for addressing inequality, supporting job creation, helping the vulnerable, and creating a system that supports public health policy rather than working against it”.
You can support the campaign at here