Removal of 23% tax on defibrillators ‘will save lives’

Budget 2023: Donohoe announces zero VAT on defibrillators and hormone and nicotine replacement products

The removal of VAT on defibrillators will help save the lives of people suffering cardiac arrest, according to the Irish Heart Foundation.

In his budget speech, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said VAT was being removed on defibrillators from January 1st next.

Mr Donohoe said he had been contacted by many TDs about the issue but had to reply that zero-rating of the devices was not permitted under the EU VAT directive. However, “after much negotiation it is now possible for member states to apply a zero rate”, the Minister told the Dáil.

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are portable devices which can deliver a shock to the heart to allow it to resume its normal rhythm after some cardiac arrests. At a cost of €1,500, including €345 in VAT, they are unaffordable for many community organisations, according to the Irish Heart Foundation.


“Every minute counts when someone has a cardiac arrest. The earlier an AED is used, the better a person’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest,” said head of advocacy Chris Macey. “The decision to remove the 23 per rate of VAT is a victory for common sense. More lives will now be saved as a result as they will become more accessible to clubs and community organisations.”

Mr Donohoe has also applied a zero VAT rate to hormone replacement and nicotine replacement therapies, as well as a small number of period products currently subject to a 9 per cent rate.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times