The Malta Independent 5 March 2024, Tuesday
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Malta has one of the highest VAT rates on restaurants across the EU - ACE

Saturday, 10 February 2024, 11:50 Last update: about 23 days ago

Malta has the sixth highest VAT rate on food in restaurants within the EU 27 members state, the Association for Catering Establishments (ACE) said in a statement.

The association said that it is "surprised and concerned by comments made by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana during his parliamentary speech where he ruled out Value Added Tax cuts for the catering establishments industry as proposed by ACE in the run up to the Budget speech for 2024."

"Caruana claimed Malta had the second lowest VAT rate after Luxembourg, ignoring the fact that most EU countries have variable VAT rates for different criteria, particularly food in restaurants." ACE said.

Malta, ACE said, "has the sixth highest VAT rate on food in restaurants within the EU 27 members states, superceded only by Denmark 25%, Estonia, Slovakia 20%, Latvia and Lithuania 21%."

The other local eateries in the remaining 21 member states, including Germany, Belgium, Austria, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands all have lower VAT rates on food in their restaurants than those in Malta, it said.

"When comparing with our Mediterranean counterparts within the tourism industry, Malta ranks highest at 18% in contrast to Croatia 5%, France 6%, Cyprus 9%, Italy and Spain 10%, Portugal and Greece at 13%."

"It should be noted that in 2019 Greece slashed its VAT rate from 24% down to 13% to stimulate economic growth. This reduction had such a positive reaction that Greece retained this pre covid measure an additional two years. It was also ironic for the minister to advise local businesses to look outwards rather than inwards, when taking into consideration that foreign-owned restaurants investing in Malta are incentivized by falling under the 1/7's tax bracket at 5%, while the Maltese entrepreneur investing in same business models must pay 35%."

ACE acknowledges and supports the energy subsidies which apply for all commercial industries. However, it underlines that global inflation has heavily impacted local eateries in contrast to the other Mediterranean counterparts. "Malta imports more than 70% of its food consumption while competing countries such as Italy, France, Spain, and Croatia import an average of not more than 10%."

ACE also praised that Government has allocated a budget to overcome inflation and formed alliances with retailers to stabilize or even lower their selling prices, "though ACE reminds the Minister of Finance that this same inflation has heavily impacted the restaurant industry as well, so the VAT reduction would be an appropriate measure in a very peculiar time for the industry."


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