Medical services and general exemption from VAT

The supply of certain medical services generally qualifies for exemption from VAT. Provisions for the VAT exemption applicable to medical services are contained in Paragraphs 2(3) and 2 (7) of Schedule 1 to the Value - Added Tax Consolidation Act 2010. Details of the relevant provisions are as follows:

  • Professional medical care services recognized as such by the Department of Health and Children (other than dental or optical services), but only if those services are not supplied in the course of carrying on a business that wholly or partly consists of selling goods.
  • Other professional medical care services that, on 1 January 2010, were recognized by the Revenue Commissioners as exempt activities.

These provisions transpose Article 132 (1) © of the VAT Directive 2006/112/EC on which Irish VAT law is based.

It is important to note that it is not just the status of the person providing the service that determines whether it is exempt from VAT but also the actual service that is being provided and the purpose for which it is being provided. In general the full range of medical services carried out for the purposes of protecting, including maintaining or restoring a patient's health, or diagnosing, treating, and if possible, curing diseases and health disorders will qualify for exemption.

Those services also include the following when provided by a recognized medical professional:

  • Post-offer of employment medical examinations including medical fitness to operate machinery and undertake manual work,
  • Health surveillance services, including sight and hearing tests,
  • Health screening, stop smoking, and stress management programs.
  • Cosmetic surgery procedures where it is clearly shown that they are required to maintain or restore a patient's health or to treat a patient’s disease or illness,
  • Vaccination programs to protect employees where there is a high risk of transmission of infectious diseases.