by Gerry Hand


Apcoa the company which operates car parking services for Our Lady’s hospital in Navan, all of Ianrod Eireann’s train stations, as well as many of the country’s large hospitals and a number of council owned car parks, is continuing to charge a 23% VAT rate on tickets despite the rate being reduced to 21% at the beginning of the month.

Meath Live purchased four tickets online this week, for railway stations in Cork, Galway, and Gorey, and also for Our Lady’s hospital in Navan and was charged 23% VAT on all four.

Aontu leader, Peadar Toibin whose Meath West constituency is the location of Our Lady’s Hospital, where one of the tickets was purchased, has accused ACOPA of profiteering on the back of frontline workers and the families of seriously ill patients.

He claimed, ‘Apoca is profiteering from a drop in VAT that was introduced by the government due to the Covid Pandemic.

‘This is particularly grievous at hospital sites throughout the state. Patients, families of loved ones who are sick and staff who are at the coal face are being fleeced. This needs to come to an end now. The reduction in VAT needs to be passed on.

‘Thousands of cars pass through Apoca Car Parks every week this adds up to tho thousands of euros of revenue for the company. Profiteering in these circumstances is shocking and must be brought to an end now’.

An Ianrod Eireann spokesman said, ‘ ‘Apcoa consulted with us following the change in VAT rate regarding the impact of the change.

‘The cost of changing signage, and machine tariffs for a very short time would be significant, so we agreed that the rate for parking should remain unchanged.

‘However, it is a 21% VAT rate which is being charged, meaning parking rates pre-VAT are marginally higher.

‘We have advised Apcoa that receipts issued should be updated to reflect this.’

However using the Cork ticket as an example, that cost €2.44 with a VAT charge of 56 cent which is a rate of 23%

Ianrod Eireann’s explanation suggests they’ve increased the underlying prices so they don’t have to change signage, but fails to address why the receipts are wrong.

A Revenue Commissioners spokesman told us, ‘‘The issue of an invoice with an incorrect VAT rate can attract a penalty of up to €5000 in accordance with Section 116 of the VATCA, 2010.

‘A trader supplying goods and services to private individuals should always apply the VAT rate in place at the time of supply.’

They also confirmed that ACOPA may be liable to pay VAT at the higher rate, when they added, ” In general, goods and services supplied by a trader after 1 September 2020 are liable to VAT at the rate in place at the time of supply, namely 21%.

‘A trader supplying goods or services to another trader must issue an invoice which details the rate of VAT applicable at the time of supply.

‘If the trader issues a VAT invoice showing a greater amount of VAT than is correct, the trader is still liable for the VAT shown on the invoice.’

A spokeswoman for Apcoa accepted that the current rate of VAT should be 21%, saying, ‘We are aware that it changed on the first of September’, before asking us to email in any questions we had.

Those emails and further calls went unanswered.