Spain cuts tax on face masks to make them more affordable during pandemic

Spain cuts tax on face masks to make them more affordable during pandemic
Photo: AFP
The Spanish government will cut the value-added tax on health masks to 4 percent from the current 21 percent in a bid to reduce their retail price amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Budget Minister Maria Jesus Montero made the announcement on Wednesday during a parliament debate on next year’s budget.

 The minister said the decision to slash VAT or Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido(IVA) as it is known in Spanish from the standard rate of 21percent came with approval from the European Commission that such a sales tax reduction was acceptable.

“The government will ensure that VAT reduction translates into a lower price for the consumer and not into higher margins for business,” Montero told lawmakers.

The reduction represents a loss of an estimated €1,568 million of income for the State, according to the Government's calculations.

It only affects the price of those masks on sale to the general public as VAT is not applicable on equipment used at medical centres.

The use of masks has been mandatory across all of Spain for everyone over the age of six years old since July 30 in both indoor and outdoor public spaces.

The masks must cover the nose and mouth to prevent coronavirus contagion and the only exceptions for taking them off outside the home are when you're eating and drinking, or doing sport or exercise.

READ ALSO: What Spanish authorities advise about wearing face masks

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