Fat Taxes Could Slim Down Ireland

October 15, 2012 Taxation in Ireland

taxes on Unhealthy foods
Photo by Vox Efx
GALWAY – New taxes could help lower obesity rates in Ireland, which is currently ranked as the 8th fattest country in the developed world.

In a presentation made at the Dublin Economics Workshop in Galway on October 13th by Maria Murray, researcher at the Trinity College Dublin, and Micheál Collins, senior researcher at the Nevin Economic Research Institute, said that new taxes on foods containing saturated fats, added sugars or salts could lead to EUR 180 million of extra tax revenues per year.

According to the findings of the research carried out by Maria Murray Micheál Collins, imposing taxes on unhealthy foods would not have a significant financial impact on Irish taxpayers, and the tax on saturated fats would set an average consumer back by EUR 0.93 per week, while the taxes on sugars and salt would cost approximately EUR 1.10 and EUR 0.15 respectively each week.

Despite the tax only having a minor effect on individuals, the tax on saturated fats would garner an additional EUR 79.91 million in tax revenues per year, while the salt tax and sugar tax would raise EUR 13.08 million and EUR 95.1 million.

The researchers suggested that the extra revenues raised through the taxes could raise more fund to be used for new health programs and educational campaigns encouraging Irish taxpayers to follow a nutritious diet.

While answering question raised during the presentations Micheál Collins said that the taxes would not be difficult to administer because “… either you have saturated fat or you don’t. If you do it is taxed at one level or another level.”

During the presentation Maria Murray said that earlier in the year the Minister for Health of Ireland James Reilly suggested that “fat” taxes could be implemented in order to tackle the country’s obesity levels, with 61 percent of all adults in the country now considered to be obese or overweight.