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Mobile operators fail to implement directive on VAT charges for charity texts

Two years ago Revenue announced text donations would no longer be liable for VAT but charities are still not receiving this money.

Image: Text message image via Shutterstock

THE CEO OF children’s charity, the Jack and Jill Foundation, Jonathan Irwin, has urged the government take action to address the VAT charges on charity related text messages as mobile operators have failed to implement the change in law two years ago.

In 2011, Revenue announced that all charity related texts would not longer be liable for VAT. Last year, O’Cúiv raised the issue in the Dáil proposing that a special exchequer grant be paid to compensate impacted charities, as it had still not been implemented by mobile operators and charities were not receiving the money they were owed.

One year on, the situation remains the same and Irwin said mobile phone operators have told the charity that they “can’t make special VAT allowances” as they would have to change their system.

“The bottom line is that, as a result of this apathy, laziness, unwillingness to upgrade their system whatever you want to call it, we’re losing valuable income, as are some other well deserving Irish charities, with no mechanism to claim back the over-charged VAT,” he said.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Fianna Fáil’s Eamon O’Cúiv said the onus is on “both Revenue and the government to sort this out”.

“The law is the law and it’s up to the phone operators to do something abut it as well, if there was a new PRSI system they’d have to make it work so why should this be any different?” he said.

“In the meantime, all we have to do is have the charities get their auditors to say how much money they recieved by text and make a submission to Revenue to get a refund – it’s not rocket science.”

“What’s happening is illegal because the VAT man is getting money that should be going to charities,” he added. “It’s an absolute disgrace and nothing much is being done about it.”

Irwin said it would be a “lovely Easter present for the charity sector” if the mobile operators would “sort their internal systems” so that VAT is no longer charged on text donations.

Three mobile phone operators and The Department of Finance had not returned requests for comment on the issue at the time of publication.

Read: €300k owed to Jack & Jill Foundation after fundraising company liquidated>

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