EU ministers back low rate VAT for restaurant alcohol.
THE WAY has been cleared for all 27 European Union (EU) member
states to charge low rate VAT on alcohol served in restaurants, with the
EU Council of Ministers backing the idea yesterday (March 10). This
right is still expected to be introduced from January 2011. A council
official told just-drinks ministers agreed there should be "no
discrimination" between the types of restaurant services that could
pay low rate VAT, which could--depending on national policies--be as low
as 5.5%. The decision follows strong lobbying by the French government
for low rate restaurant VAT, a move that had thus far been opposed by
Germany. Speaking after the meeting EU taxation Commissioner Laszlo
Kovacs stressed the law rate was not compulsory: "I want to
underline that reduced rates are not an obligation, it's an
option," he said.