Employers linked to fitness in Spain and several European countries are seeking a VAT reduction. Several national associations have been pressuring the administrations for some time to ensure that sport has a reduced rate and not the luxury rate, as prevails in many countries.
Citizens of at least 18 European countries pay a VAT of between 18% and 27% when paying private gym fees. This means that, in practically half of Europe, fitness, and therefore sport, is considered a luxury service and not an essential activity.
Over recent years, there have been constant and varied claims that different agents in the sports sector have made to request that the state government agree to reduce the same percentage of VAT that, since 2012, any user pays if they want to go to a gym, buy alcohol or tobacco.
There are numerous countries where attempts are being made to exert, so far without success, the same pressure on their respective governments. The challenge is to achieve something similar to what Ireland achieved in 2011, when a VAT reduction for gyms from 13.5% to the current 9% led to an almost immediate increase in the number of users from 11% to 13.5%. The less taxes applied to the sector, the greater the penetration of users.
Portugal is one of the six European countries whose gyms have a higher VAT than Spain. In his case it is 23%, a figure that in the neighboring country they also try to lower.
In 18 countries, it moves between 18% and 27%