Room with a View?
As discussed in last week’s Budget post, Budget 2019 snuck up almost unannounced and whilst it did not seem like much of a big news day for many, there were some who were hit by an utterly unexpected blow that could have far reaching consequences for many Irish business, particularly in the uncertain atmosphere surrounding Brexit.
One of the hardest hit sectors in this Budget, and the first to speak out against it is the tourism sector. It goes without saying that Ireland thrives massively on our culture of tourism and being the well-known “land of a thousand welcomes” so in the current uncertain Brexit climate it has come as quite a shock to this sector to receive the cutting blow of the removal of their special 9% VAT rate, to be replaced with the standard 13.5% rate going forward. It is estimated that this will cost the sector up to €500million a year, and that this is where the funds have been accessed to make the rest of the Budget’s announcements possible.
The idea for the removal of this rate was originally floated by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe ahead of Budget 2018, but with Brexit looming this did not come to pass. The change comes following last July’s critical Department of Finance report which heavily suggested the special rate be scrapped, believing it to have served its purpose and to no longer be worth the cost to The State. In hindsight, glancing at the report now, the writing has been on the wall for this change for some time. Unfortunately for our tourism and hospitality sector, this does not make the pill any easier to swallow.
One of the most severe problems with this change is that Dublin has already been experiencing soaring hotel room rates in recent months. Chief Executive of the Irish Hotels Federation Tim Fenn has said that there has been widespread shock among the hotel industry.
“While we recognise that there was a need to raise revenue, in doing so it was incumbent on the Government to nurture growth in the economy. Tourism is growing. It is giving over €2billion a year to the Exchequer. 9% VAT was about the right rate, it brought us into line with our competitors in Europe, now 26 countries in Europe have a lower VAT rate. We are expected to compete with that”.
It remains to be seen what lasting effects this change will have on Ireland’s vital tourism sector and we hope that our clients and friends in this sector will find themselves weathering the storm to come out on the other side stronger.
As always, should you require any help or guidance on any financial or business matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Ecovis DCA, where we are always happy to help.
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