ISWA, the Irish School Wear Association, at the launch of their Pre-Budget Submission 2016, has called on the Minister for Finance to reduce the VAT on all school uniforms to 0% to assist hard-pressed parents. Irish tax law has not kept up to date with the increase in children's sizes in the last 43 years. The Association drew attention to the fact that uniforms for many young people, some even in primary school, are being hit with a 23% VAT rate, because of size.
Speaking on behalf of the Association, Karen Grant said, "It is clear that the measurement restrictions in place for the zero percent rate do not adequately cover today's school children. The zero rate should be expanded to ensure that all school uniform items, for school going children of any age and size, are not subject to VAT. This is the fairest way to assist parents to meet the costs of sending children to school".
The ISWA firmly believes that parents should not have to incur any more expense than is absolutely necessary when sending their children to school. It is a medical fact that children are larger, taller and heavier now than they were when VAT rates were introduced in 1972. The VAT regime is unfair and disadvantages parents of bigger children, mainly because the tax law has not kept up to date with the increase in children's sizes in the last 43 years.
"The main issue for many parents in these days of austerity is the cost of living and adding 23% tax to the cost of a school uniform, due to 'lazy legislation', must be stopped. We are calling on the Government to change the VAT so that all school uniforms, of whatever size, be zero rated for VAT purposes", she concluded.