EU: Proposed VAT exemption for certain goods and services (COVID-19)

EU: Proposed VAT exemption for certain goods, services

The European Commission today proposed to exempt from value added tax (VAT) certain goods and services made available by the European Commission and EU bodies and agencies to EU Member States and citizens during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


Once in place, the new measures would allow the EC and other EU agencies to import and purchase goods and services VAT-free when those purchases are being distributed during an emergency response in the EU. The recipients could be EU Member States or third parties, such as national authorities or institutions (for example, hospitals or a national health or disaster response authority).

According to an EC release, goods and services covered under the proposed VAT exemption would include:

  • Diagnostic tests and testing materials and laboratory equipment
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, respirators, masks, gowns, disinfection products, and equipment
  • Tents, camp beds, clothing, and food
  • Search and rescue equipment, sandbags, life jackets, and inflatable boats
  • Antimicrobials and antibiotics, chemical threat antidotes, treatments for radiation injury, antitoxins, iodine tablets
  • Blood products or antibodies
  • Radiation measuring devices
  • Items used in development, production, and procurement of “necessary products,” research and innovation activities, strategic stockpiling of products and used in pharmaceutical licences, quarantine facilities, clinical trials, and disinfection of premises

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