A staple product to fight the pandemic. / SUR

Covid masks face 21% sales tax increase in Spain from January

Both the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, and the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, have ruled out the abolition of the coronavirus protection measure, still mandatory indoors, despite the country’s good incidence rate data

LUCIA PALACIOS

Spain's national government has no immediate plans to lift the order forcing the mandatory wearing of face masks indoors, and outdoors if social distancing of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained.

Both the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, and the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, have ruled out the definitive abolition of the coronavirus protection measure despite the country’s good incidence rate data. The decision also has the unanimous backing of the Public Health Commission.

However, the price of surgical masks in Spain will likely rise in January when the royal decree by which the sales tax was reduced to 4% will end.

Since 18 November, 2020, the IVA on these products was reduced from 21% to 4% after a new law was published in the official BOE gazaette.

Fight the pandemic

The order sought to reduce price of the masks that suddenly became a staple product to fight the pandemic. In addition to the sales tax relief, it established that its price would be, in theory, 0.65 euros per unit.

A year and a half after the pandemic broke out, it is now even possible to buy a pack of ten in a supermarket for just one euro.

But this Royal Decree had an effective date, which ends on 31 December of this year, so if the Government does not take measures to change it, from January they will rise in price again by as the sales tax returns to 21%.

Ministry of Finance sources have confirmed to SUR that although the projected Budget for next year states that the IVA on disposable surgical masks would be in force until the end of 2022, it is a "mistake", therefore the measure will end in just over two months unless there is a last-minute revision.