The Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax from Ireland is an example of how fiscal measures can be used to discourage unhealthy behaviour. For more innovative approaches, read strategy and forward thinking.
- The Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax (SSDT) is one of a number of measures being implemented under Ireland’s obesity policy and action plan ‘‘A Healthy Weight for Ireland – Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016-2025’’ to reduce levels of obesity
- It was initially applied to water and juice-based drinks which have added sugar and a total sugar content of five grams or more per 100 ml
- The scope of the tax has since been extended with effect from 1 January 2019 to include certain plant protein drinks and drinks containing milk fats
- Drinks with an added sugar content above 5g and below 8g per 100ml are taxed at 16 cent per litre (20 cent including VAT). Drinks with more than 8g of added sugar per 100ml are taxed at 24 cent per litre (30 cent including VAT)
- It is anticipated that the introduction of a SSDT will result in reduced consumption by incentivising individuals to opt for healthier drinks, as well as encouraging the soft drinks industry to reformulate products.
- The funds generated through this are allocated to general funds as hypothecation (the dedication of a specific tax for a particular expenditure purpose) is not a feature of the Irish tax system.