Czech Mineral Water Industry Urges Government to Change VAT Rate

The Czech Association of Mineral Waters and experts in healthy nutrition have called on the government and lawmakers to reconsider the value-added tax (VAT) rate increase for bottled natural mineral and spring waters, infant water, and medicinal water. In an open letter, representatives from 11 different organizations emphasize the need for these items to be included in the reduced 12% VAT rate instead of the higher 21% rate. They argue for the logical solution and support for a healthy lifestyle.

The Current Situation

These types of water currently fall under the reduced 15% VAT rate. However, the government is considering a consolidation package in the Chamber of Deputies, which aims to merge the existing reduced VAT rates of 10% and 15% into a single 12% rate. In this case, the government, led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS), has changed the classification of these waters and moved them into the higher 21% VAT rate.

Various associations and experts are protesting against this decision and urge the government and lawmakers to reconsider. They argue not only for the positive effects of mineral and spring waters on the human body but also that foods, including sweets and chocolates, will be subject to a reduced rate.

“Increasing the VAT rates will raise the final price of foods that have proven beneficial effects on the human body, and at the same time, contrary to the supported principles of states and experts, it will reduce the final price of all other foods, including snacks and sweets. These commodities have necessitated the so-called Snack Regulation, which regulates their sale in schools. This is a completely illogical, unsystematic, and inexplicable step,” stated representatives from the Association of Mineral Waters and other organizations such as the Nutrition Advisers Alliance, Nutrition and Nutritional Care Section, and the Trade and Tourism Union.

ANO Proposes Lower VAT Rate for Infant Water, Diapers, and Draft Beer

“While experts from various fields agree that excessive consumption of sugar and unhealthy fats has negative impacts on our health, we fail to understand why such foods will become even more accessible than before, while essential mineral, spring, and infant waters will see a 6% increase in VAT, resulting in people paying 40% more in VAT than they do currently,” they added.

The categorization of mineral water and infant water into the VAT rate has been widely discussed within the government coalition itself. For example, the Pirate Party advocated including infant water and diapers in the reduced 12% VAT rate, but their proposal was outvoted.

This proposal was also presented in early September during the opposition party ANO’s discussion on the consolidation package in the Chamber of Deputies.

The law awaits the final third reading, where its final form will be approved. Parliament members have submitted a total of eighty proposals for amendments to the package.