Governments throughout the world have been trying to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by taking various measures. Below is a summary of VAT changes and measures taken in different countries. It is important to note that the information provided below only reflects the situation at the publishing date of this article and it is important to stay alert to continuously changing VAT measures.

In response to the Covid-19 crisis, the newest updates to come out since our previous publication are the following:
• Ireland will temporarily reduce the standard VAT rate from 23% to 21% for a 6 month period from the first of September to the end of February 2021
• Ireland has also extended temporary zero rate of VAT to the supply of medical equipment and PPE in the health care sector for the treatment of patients with Covid-19 to October 31. 2020


VAT changes

Entry into force

Planned repeal date

European Union The EU commission has waived custom duties and VAT on imports of medical equipment from outside the EU. This includes protective equipment, test kits, or medical devices such as ventilators. The measure will apply for a period of six months, with a possibility of extension. 30/01/2020 31/07/2020
Argentina The importation of critical supplies used to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is exempt from VAT levying for 60 days. The measure covers goods such as alcohol, disinfectants, face masks, and respiratory devices, among others. Date not specified Date not specified
Austria 1. VAT tax rate reduction from 20% to 0% for respiratory masks for deliveries and intra-community purchases.

2. A reduction in the VAT rate for the sale of non-alcoholic beverages in taverns from 19% to 10%.
3. VAT rate reduced to 5% for gastronomy, cultural, publications and tourism sector.

1. 13/04/2020

2. 01/07/2020
3. 01/07/2020

1. 01/08/2020

2. 31/12/2020
3. 31/12/2020

Belgium 1. Donations of medical devices to medical facilities are VAT exempt.
2. Reduced VAT rate to 6% on masks and hydroalcoholic gels for COVID-19.
3. A reduction in the VAT rate from 12% to 6% applies to restaurant and catering services, including non-alcoholic
drinks but excluding the provision of beers with alcohol exceeding 0.5% vol. and other beverages with alcohol exceeding 1.2% vol.
1. 01/03/2020
2. 04/05/2020
3. 08/06/2020
1. 01/09/2020
2. 31/12/2020
3. 31/12/2020
Bulgaria 1. Exemption from import duties and value-added tax on imports of goods necessary to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. Decrease of the VAT rate from 20% to 9% for (1) restaurant and catering services, which consist of the supply of cooked and uncooked food, except for services, which consist of the supply of spirits; (2) supply of books on physical carriers or by electronic means (including textbooks, training aids, drawing books, etc.), but excluding editions with advertising content and editions where the content is mostly musical or audiovisual; and (3) diapers for babies.
1. 01/07/2020
2. 01/07/2020
1. 31/10/2020
2. 31/12/2021
Canada Finance Canada provides relief on imports of certain medical goods including PPE (personal protective equipment). Date not specified Will remain in place for as long as necessary to deal with the COVID-19 crisis
Colombia Donation of listed goods intended to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis will not be considered as sales for VAT purposes unless donated between related parties. Date not specified Date not specified
Costa Rica 1. Basic consumption goods are VAT exempt until July 2020, after which a reduced rate of 1% will apply for 2 years.
2. Proposal for general VAT rate reduction from 13 to 9% for one year.
3. VAT exemption for SMEs on water, electricity, and rent.
4. VAT rate of 4% for engineering, architectural, construction services.
1. Date not specified
2. Date not specified
3. Date not specified
4. 01/07/2020
1. 30/06/2021
2. Date not specified
3. Date not specified
4. 30/06/2021
Croatia 1. Relief from import duties and VAT exemption on imports which are made available free of charge.
2. Donations made to help with countering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will not be subject to VAT.
1.Date not specified
2. 01/04/2020
1. Date not specified
2. 20/06/2020
Cyprus 1. Temporary reduction of the VAT rate applicable to hotel accommodation, restaurant and catering services and certain passenger transport from 9% to 5%.
2. VAT exemption on imports needed to combat COVID-19 which are made available free of charge.
1. 01.07.2020
2. The goods that fall under this exemption are the goods imported into Cyprus between 30/01/2020 and 31/07/2020
1. 10.01.2021
2. The goods that fall under this exemption are the goods imported into Cyprus between 30/01/2020 and 31/07/2020
Czech Republic 1. A general VAT exemption on gratuitous supplies of goods to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including PPE, respirators, disinfectants, and raw materials for their production.
2. Reduced VAT on accommodation services and admission to cultural and sporting events from 15% to 10%. 10% VAT rate should also apply to businesses such as saunas and fitness centers.
1. Applies retroactively from 12.03.2020
2. Date not specified
1. For the entire duration of the emergency
2. Date not specified
The Democratic Republic of the Congo Suspension of VAT collection on the production and sale of basic necessities; exemption from taxes and customs duties on pharmaceuticals, inputs for pharmaceuticals, and other medical materials and equipment. 01/04/2020 For 3 or 6 months from the date of entry of force
Finland The sale of necessary protective equipment to the social and healthcare sector due to the coronavirus pandemic would, in specific respects, be temporarily exempted from VAT. The exemption would apply to protective equipment used in coronavirus-related prevention, testing and care. 30/01/2020 30/07/2020
France Temporary application of the reduced VAT rate of 5.5%, instead of the standard VAT rate of 20%, to supplies and intra-EU acquisitions of the following products:
• Masks and protective clothing suitable for protection against COVID-19, retroactively as from 24 March 2020; and
• Products intended for personal hygiene and adapted to the fight against the spread of COVID-19, retroactively from 1 March 2020.
The reduced VAT rate will be applicable until 31 December 2021. The criteria for the relevant products were listed in a decree dated 7 May 2020, published on 8 May 2020.
24/03/2020 21/12/2021
Germany 1. Extending reduced VAT Rate to restaurant and catering services from 19% to 7%.
2. Standard VAT rate reduced from 19% to 16% and reduced tax rate will drop from 7% to 5%.
1. 1/7/2020
2. 1/7/2020
1. 30/06/2021
2. 31/12/2020
Greece 1. VAT reduction from 24% to 6% for protective products (masks, gloves, etc.). Fiscal cost is estimated to be negligible.
2. No VAT will be levied on goods and services donated to the Greek government to help with the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
3. Temporary VAT rate decreases from 24% to 13% for transport, coffee, non-alcoholic beverages, etc.
4. The reduction of the VAT rate from 9% to 5% will be applicable for:
• hotel accommodation, hotel apartments
accommodation and similar establishments,
including holiday accommodation;
• restaurant and catering services;
• transport of passengers and their accompanied luggage.
5. VAT exemption on water, electricity and domestic air tickets.
1. 20/03/2020
2. Date not specified
3. 01/06/2020
4. 01/07/2020
5. Date not specified
1. Date not specified
2. 14/11/2020
3. 31/10/2020
4. 09/01/2021
5. Date not specified
Guatemala An exemption from customs duty and VAT is provided on the import of goods that are donated to combat COVID-19. 01/04/2020 Until the COVID-19 emergency ends
Guyana 1. VAT exemption for all medical supplies for testing, prevention, and treatment of COVID-19.
2. Exemption from VAT on the acquisition of hand sanitisers and face masks.
1. 26/03/2020 2. 12/03/2020 1. 30/06/2020
2. 31/12/2020
Honduras Government and non-profit organisations are exempt from VAT on humanitarian aid-related purchases and donations. Date not specified Date not specified
Ireland 1. Zero VAT rate applies to the supplies of personal protection equipment and medical equipment to health executives, hospitals, and other healthcare settings.

2. Temporary VAT Reduction from 23% to 21%

1. 09/04/2020

2. 01/09/2020

1. 31/10/2020

2. 28/02/2021

Italy Masks and security devices exempt from VAT until the end of 2020. After 31 Dec 2020 “super-reduced” VAT rate of 5% applies to supplies of certain medical goods. 19/05/2020 31/12/2020
Malta Reduced VAT rate on protective face masks. 04/05/2020 Date not specified
Mexico Proposal to reduce the VAT rate from 16% to 10%. Date not specified Date not specified
Netherlands 1. Exemption from VAT for medical supplies (relief supplies and equipment) that are provided for free to nursing homes, hospitals, psychiatric institutions and institutions providing care for the elderly.
2. Temporary 0% VAT rate on supply of protective face masks.
3. Sterile cotton swabs for medical purposes subject to 9% VAT rate.
1. 16/03/2020
2. 25/05/2020
3. 25/05/2020
1. 16/06/2020
2. 01/09/2020
2. 01/09/2020
Norway Reduction of the reduced VAT rate from 12% to 6% for certain cultural and touristic services. 01/04/2020 31/10/2020
Philippines VAT exemption for imported health care equipment (COVID-19). Date not specified Date not specified
Poland 1. Temporary introduction of 0% VAT rate for the donation of specific goods related to health care (including medical and pharmaceutical products, disinfectants, personal protective equipment – masks, gloves, protective clothing) by VAT payers for the specified governmental/public bodies and hospitals dedicated to treating patients infected with SARS CoV-2.
2. Hand sanitisers taxed at 8% VAT rate.
1. 25/03/2020
2. Date not specified
1. 31/08/2020
2. Date not specified
Portugal 1. VAT exemption on donations of goods to the state and non-profit organisations to be distributed to healthcare institutions or persons in need.
2. VAT exemption and reduced VAT rates on health-related products in the IC supply and acquisition of goods.
• VAT exemption for purchases made by the Portuguese state, other public entities or non-profit organisations; applies from 30 January to 31 July 2020.
• Reduced VAT rate (6% in mainland Portugal) on the importation, intra-community supply and acquisition of respiratory protection masks and skin disinfectant gel from 8 May to 31 December 2020.
3. VAT on gyms and health club membership is to be reduced to 6%.
Dates not specified Dates not specified
Russia Reduced VAT rate of 10% applies to sale of medical supplies aimed to combat COVID-19. Date not specified Date not specified
Saudi Arabia Increase of the standard VAT rate from 5% to 15%. 01/07/2020 Date not specified
Serbia VAT exemption for donations of supplies of goods/services to certain healthcare institutions. Taxpayers making such donations are allowed to deduct input VAT. 15/03/2020 Until the end of the state of emergency
Slovenia VAT exemption for supplies of protective and medical equipment. Zero VAT rate on PPE supplied to public law entities (hospitals, etc). 13/03/2020 31/07/2020
Spain Zero VAT rate on the supply, import and intra-community acquisition of medical equipment (PPE) by the public, non-profit entities, and hospitals to combat the effects of COVID-19. 23/04/2020 31/07/2020
Taiwan Reduced import tariffs for alcohol and exemption for masks for COVID-19. Date not specified Date not specified
Thailand VAT exemption for PPE. 26/03/2020 30/09/2020
Tunisia Reduced VAT rate of 7% on import, production and sale of PPE. 18/04/2020 31/12/2020
Turkey The VAT rate for domestic flights is lowered from 18 % to 1 % for 3 months. Date not specified Date not specified
Ukraine The import of medicine, medical goods and medical equipment used in the fight against COVID-19 is temporarily exempt from VAT and customs duty for three months. 18/03/2020 Date not specified
United Kingdom 1. Temporary 0% VAT rate for PPE.
2. The VAT rate applied to certain supplies in the hospitality and leisure sector will be reduced from 20% to 5%.
1. 01/05/2020
2. 15/07/2020
1. 31/12/2020
2. 12/01/2021
Venezuela Definite import and sale of fuels derived from hydrocarbons, supplies and additives used to upgrade the quality of the fuel are exempt from VAT and customs. 29/05/2020 Date not specified

Compliance made easy

Contact us to find out how Pagero can help you meet and stay on top of compliance regulations everywhere you do business.

Contact us

Watch our compliance webinar

Learn how to stay compliant in the current and ever-changing global regulatory landscape, no matter where you do business.

Watch now