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As a children’s charity with a county breakdown of families supported, fundraising via text donations is a very attractive area for us. So in May 2011 when the Revenue officially announced that charity related SMS text messages are no longer liable for VAT we were delighted. That was short lived.
I’m sorry to say that the Irish mobile phone operators, who are normally so quick to jump on market trends, have yet to implement the Revenue’s new directive. We know because we’ve written to them. They respond saying they can’t make special VAT allowances for charities, blaming their system. Shame on them. How complicated can it be to change an internal operating system?
The bottom line is that, as a result of this apathy, laziness, unwillingness to upgrade their system whatever you want to call it, we’re losing valuable income, as are some other well deserving Irish charities, with no mechanism to claim back the over-charged VAT.
I know iDonate.ie, the online charity body, has contacted public representatives to highlight the issue and one lone wolf has taken up the cause in the form of Deputy Eamon O’Cuiv (FF). He has tabled a Dail motion to highlight the matter and secured written assurances by Government that the matter will be resolved. So why are we waiting?
Now we are informed this week via iDonate.ie that the mobile operators are currently discussing the matter. Talk is cheap it seems, especially for these mobile phone operators.
I fully support Deputy OCuiv’s proposal to Michael Noonan that a special exchequer grant be paid to compensate impacted charities, like the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, for the wrongly charged VAT. This Government might be between a rock and a hard place when it comes to State funding for charities, but the wheels of power surely can get a result of this one?
 
Wouldn’t it be a lovely Easter present for the charity sector and those we support to sort the mobile operators to sort their internal systems, so that VAT isn’t charged on text donations to charities.
C’mon guys, give us a break!
 
Jonathan Irwin
CEO Jack & Jill Foundation