Spain is to reduce the VAT (IVA in Spanish) on face masks from 21% to 4%, and which should be in force from next Wednesday. It is also lowering the maximum price for surgical masks to 0.72 euros, down from 0.96 euros, which had been established in April. The maximum price includes tax.
The Spanish government spokeswoman María Jesús Montero announced the tax reduction in Congress on Wednesday. The maximum price for surgical masks was announced on Thursday.
Montero said that with the tax reduction, authorities would remain ‘vigilant’ to ensure that it meant cheaper prices for the public, and not more revenue for companies.
Montero said that the reduction had not been done earlier because ‘EU regulations forbid reduced taxes for this product’. However, the EU Commission informed by letter on Tuesday that ‘a formal infringement procedure will not be launched’ if Spain did not comply with the regulation.
By reducing the maximum price for surgical masks to 0.72 euros (including tax), the government aims ‘to guarantee free competition below the maximum price set, both in large stores, as well as in pharmacies and online sales’.
Wearing face masks in Spain was first made compulsory on 21 May for everyone aged over six in closed spaces (including shops and stores), as well as on the street and in public places, if a 2-metre ‘social distance’ could not be maintained. It had already been made compulsory to wear face masks on all public transport in Spain since Monday 4 May.
Since the first ‘state of alarm’ ended on 21 June, the rule of wearing face masks has remained in place – with a fine of up to 100 euros for non-compliance — although the security distance has been reduced to 1.5 metres.
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