Irish Water Safety has issued a press release [PDF] saying that the government is to introduce (or launch or make or pass or something) the Value-added tax (refund of tax) (rescue boats and related equipment) order 2013 which will allow inland community rescue boats to reclaim VAT on their purchases. Under the Value-Added Tax (Refund of Tax) (No 18) Order 1985, coastal community rescue boats have been able to reclaim VAT [PDF] but inland boats have not.
Irish Water Safety has a defined role in assessing the eligibility of community rescue boats for VAT exemptions; indeed its checklist and guidelines for community rescue services [PDF] are rather surprisingly headed Inspection for VAT Refund Certificate. The background is explained in another document Inshore Rescue Guidelines [PDF], which will presumably now be amended to include provision for inland boats. The “Declared Facility” boats [those approved and able to claim the VAT exemption] are listed here; there is also a list of other known rescue boats, some of which, being on inland waters, will now presumably apply to IWS for approval. Thus what is already a large rescue service will become even larger and more important.
I have photos of some of these boats on this page. I have none of the Corrib & Mask Rescue service, which I regret as today’s announcement was made on their turf and with their assistance. IWS says:
They will be the first Community Rescue Boat Ireland Lifeboat to be in a position to avail of this financial incentive.
Incidentally, I do not know whether the existing inland lifeboats operated by the Coast Guard and RNLI are affected by this or whether they could already reclaim VAT. If anyone can tell me, I’ll be glad to add the information here.