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23% VAT on charitable donations by text

Eamon O Cuiv (FF, Galway W) raised the issue of telecommunications companies charging 23% VAT on charitable text message donations, even though they were VAT-exempt (Dail Eireann, Debates, 11th January 2012, 123-4).  The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, told him that such donations were clearly outside VAT, but that fees charged in connection with the facilitation of such messages were liable to 23% VAT.  The communications providers had advised Revenue that they were technically unable to distinguish between VAT-liable services and donations that were not liable, which was why the VAT had been charged.  Revenue understood that the providers were working to resolve the issue in the near future and ensure that texted donations were tax-free.