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Parliamentary question - E-003636/2021(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Mr Gentiloni on behalf of the European Commission

According to point 3 of Annex III to the VAT Directive[1], Member States are free to apply a reduced VAT rate, which may not be less than 5%, to supplies of products used for sanitary protection, including menstrual hygiene products.

Hence, Member States are already able to apply the VAT rates they consider most appropriate to supplies of goods such as those highlighted by the Honourable Member. Most Member States, however, have not exercised their discretion to apply a reduced rate of VAT to sanitary protection products, which, as a result, continue to be subject to tax at the standard VAT rate.

This legal framework is currently under review by Council based on the 2018 Commission proposal[2]. The possible application of rates which are lower than 5% (including zero rates) to these supplies is one of the issues currently under discussion.

The Commission is assisting the current Slovenian Presidency and the Member States to reach a successful outcome in the negotiations and to ensure that the objectives of the proposal, including that of creating a level playing field in the VAT rates system, are attained.

The adoption of this proposal requires the unanimous agreement by Member States in the Council and, in any case, the application of VAT rates remains at Member States discretion, albeit bounded discretion in accordance with the rules of the VAT Directive.

Last updated: 21 September 2021
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