Coronavirus | Masks in Europe: what is the VAT and prices in European countries

In recent weeks, a man who got 200 masks for a ridiculous amount in Portugal. In the case of Spain, in the midst of a pandemic, the Government decided to set a maximum price of € 0.96 per unit. Meanwhile, this person was able to acquire a pack of 20 for just 1.74 euros.

The key to finding the difference between Spain and Portugal, and with other countries of the European Union, is the VAT: in our country this health product is taxed at 21%, being one of the only ones in these figures.

Finally, government, after receiving confirmation from the European Commission that there will be no infraction if you reduce the VAT that applies to masks, It has reduced the type that surgical masks will have from 21% to 4%. Thus, as of today, which has come into effect after publication in the BOE, the maximum price of this type of mask is 0.62 euros.

What is the VAT in other European countries?

Spain has been slow to apply this reduction, but the situation in other European countries has been quite different for months. In France, for example, a VAT of 5.5% is applied since last May, while the maximum price of the surgical mask is 95 cents.

In Portugal, three-quarters of the same: the tax on this type of product is 6%, while the profit from the sale was limited to 15%. Italy, another country heavily hit by the coronavirus, set a maximum price per unit of 0.50 euros and VAT for this year is 0% (It will rise to 5.5% in 2021). In Belgium and the Netherlands, like Italy, are exempt, while in Germany it is 5%. Slovenia, with 22%It is one of the few countries that surpasses Spain in this tax.

VAT in Spain

Remember that in Spain there are three types of VAT: general (21%) for normal goods; Reduced VAT (10%) for foods that have not recognized a lower percentage and some leisure and cultural events, and the Super-reduced VAT (4%), in essential products.

For its part, Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, he assured that “the European VAT regulation prevents lowering the price, but the ministry asked if there is flexibility to do so. Finally, it received guarantees from the European Union and has reduced the VAT on surgical masks.