Ireland's sugar tax pushed back to May
The tax had been due to come into effect on April 6, close to the introduction of the UK’s soft drinks industry levy.
A statement from the Department of Finance, issued on Thursday, says: “Ireland has engaged in extensive and constructive discussions with the European Commission to ensure that once commenced, the Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax does not infringe EU State aid law.
“Following these constructive discussions with, and a formal notification to, the European Commission, a positive decision is expected in the coming weeks to allow for the commencement of the tax.
“In order to allow for completion of the necessary administrative processes in relation to State aid approval, the commencement of the tax on sugar-sweetened drinks will now take place on 1 May 2018 and not on 6 April 2018 as was the intention.
“The sugar-sweetened drinks tax is the first of its kind to be reviewed by the European Commission and will provide a benchmark for State aid decisions in this area.”
The tax on sugar-sweetened beverages has been designed to help tackle growing levels of obesity.
The government hopes that with the introduction of a financial barrier on sugar-sweetened drinks it can reduce consumption by incentivizing individuals to opt for healthier drinks, while also encouraging the soft drinks industry to reformulate and deliver healthier products.
In Ireland, the tax is due to use the same two-tier system as the UK levy. For sugar-sweetened drinks with a content of 5 grams sugar or more per 100ml, a tax of 20c (USD 25c) per liter will apply; and for drinks with 8 grams sugar or more the rate will be 30c per liter.