A proposal to change VAT refunds for non-EU tourists could decimate retail and tourism in Kerry.
That’s according to economist Jim Power, who’s conducted a report on the impact the Government’s proposed changes to the Retail Export Scheme will have.
The report was commissioned by the Stop Another Tourism Tax Campaign, an alliance of independent Irish retailers and tourism businesses.
The Retail Export Scheme allows non-EU tourists to claim VAT refunds on craft and gift items purchased in Ireland; currently there’s no limit on the spend.
The Government’s Brexit Omnibus Bill 2020, which is currently moving through the Oireachtas, will, however, exclude all purchases under €175 from VAT refunds.
Last year in Kerry, 90% of sales under the Retail Export Scheme were valued at less than €175 each.
Those 124,000 transactions amounted to sales of €7.2 million in the county.
Economist Jim Power says introducing the €175 limit will mean tourists face a 23% increase in the cost of items.
He says most retailers in Kerry availing of the scheme are small, family run businesses, who don’t sell high value items.
He believes increasing the limit will risk jobs in Kerry and will put people out of business, decimating tourism and retail in the county.
You can hear the full interview with Jim Power on In Business with Mary Mullins this Thursday from 6pm on Radio Kerry.