The VAT that the masks will have from January 1 is still unknown. Just a year ago, the Government approved in the Council of Ministers a drop from the general rate (21%) to the super-reduced rate (4%) of the value added tax of this product, essential since the pandemic broke out. But that modification expires with the arrival of 2022. And for the moment the Executive has not shown intention to extend the measure.
In the Budgets from 2022 this extension is not included. In addition, among the almost 900 amendments that the Executive has just vetoed from the opposition to next year’s accounts, there are two that precisely proposed extending this VAT reduction on masks for next year.
One from the Popular Party and the other from Citizens.
Specifically, the Popular Party proposed to keep disposable, hygienic and FPP2 masks at 4%. Ciudadanos, for their part, proposed extending the super-reduced type of surgical masks from January. The reasoning of both is that this product will continue to be essential in closed spaces at least during 2022.
The Government, however, has overturned both amendments before they were voted on. The Constitution allows the Executive to prevent the parliamentary processing of certain amendments to the Budgets if it considers that they alter the budgetary policy, either by implying more spending or less income. In the case of masks, the Executive calculates that maintaining a super-reduced rate would have a loss of income of 400 million euros.
Other measures of fiscal impact, such as the reduction of VAT for diapers or feminine hygiene products, have also been vetoed by the Socialist Party.
Despite this, the Executive has left alive a similar amendment presented by one of its preferred partners: ERC. That is why it is not yet ruled out that there may be a modification of the accounts that allows the super-reduced VAT of the masks to be extended.
The Ministry of Finance has played for the moment to be distracted and has not clarified whether it will maintain this tax measure. Sources from the department led by María Jesús Montero clarify, however, that at the moment no expansion is being considered, although the minister herself acknowledged when presenting the Budgets that the Executive has a cushion for an increase in the collection of social contributions to undertake measures of this type.
Last year the Treasury already resisted lowering the VAT on masks, considering that it was a measure vetoed by Brussels. Montero even affirmed that the European Commission would fine Spain if it undertook this reform. Months later, however, the community executive itself denied the minister and assured that it could have reduced the type of masks since May 2020.
Now the debate reopens again in a context in which the mask is still necessary to enter interior spaces. Just a month ago, the Popular Party already asked the Government to keep the VAT on this product at 4% in 2022 to avoid “burdening families with more expenses.”