Via VAT from cosmetic surgery, the reason for the proposal

A law for remove VAT from cosmetic surgery services and to resolve the ambiguous points of tax matters relating to this type of intervention, for the benefit of sector operators and patients. This is what a motion from the centre-right is asking for, which has aroused criticism from the opposition.

VAT exemption on cosmetic surgery

“The performance of medicine and cosmetic surgery – explains la first signatory Annarita Patriarch of Forza Italia – must fall within the category of health services not subject to VAT treatment” because the concept of “health” is “comprehensive” of any “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being” which “does not consist only in the absence of disease or of infirmity”. Among the signatories of the motion also the Northern League Simona Loizzo and the deputy of the Brothers of Italy Luciano Ciocchetti.

VAT exemption on aesthetic procedures in Italy

The request stems from an interpretative ambiguity that has created uncertainty: it all starts in 2005 when one Circular from the Revenue Agency declared the services of medicine and cosmetic surgery exempt from VAT as they were “connected to psychophysical well-being”.
Some local offices of the Revenue Agency though they contested non-payment of VAT following a judgment of the European Court of Justice according to which the aesthetic operations are included in the medical treatments exempt from VAT only if they are a consequence of trauma, handicap and disease.
But also in Italy the judiciary moved in this direction with the sentence of the Cassation court no. 27947 of 13 October 2021. This sentence attributed exclusively to the surgeon the burden of proving that the aesthetic health services were aimed at alleviating the psychological suffering of the patient suffering from a handicap or recovering from trauma and illness.

However, the motion recalls that for theWorld Health Organization the concept of health includes “any state of well-being, not just an absence of disease”.

The motion asks for clarify the regulatory frameworkOf close existing disputes e you eliminate VAT from expenses for aesthetic procedures for the future.

“Applying the tax today – continues Patriarca – even requiring payment for the past, represents a critical issue for sector operators and for the patients themselves, as well as contradictory conduct on the part of the tax authorities”.

Beyond the VAT issue, it should be remembered that in Italy certain cosmetic surgery operations are loanable. A recent survey also shows that Italians are increasingly willing to spend for their well-being, even by resorting to touch-ups. And also resorting to trips abroad for low cost services.

The criticisms of the opposition

The criticism leveled by the opposition to the government is to be more attentive to the needs of the rich than to those of the poor. “While they are preparing to remove the super stamp for those who own a Ferrari worth 300 thousand euros – accuses the leader of Italian Left Nicola Fratoianni – the right is asking the government to remove the VAT on cosmetic surgery. I would expect greater attention to those who can no longer afford dental care, or those who can no longer afford to pay for medicines or who wait months if not years to be examined”.

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