We Need Flexibility


This afternoon

A nationwide campaign is launched to “resuscitate the Irish yoga industry” ahead of World Yoga Day this Sunday.

It is estimated that more than 300,000 people practice yoga regularly in Ireland.

Colm Walsh, of Yoga Dublin, writes:

The Association of Irish Yoga Studios was recently formed to get Ireland’s yoga studios back open, and to keep an industry that was thriving just a few months ago, viable in the future.

They are highlighting that the higher VAT rate for individual service providers has been erroneously applied to yoga studios which are businesses which have fixed overheads, running purpose designed facilities with associated costs, rates, insurance and staff wages.

Unlike yoga studios, gyms had their incorrect classification rectified in 2012.

Several yoga studios have closed permanently since April, and the Minister of Finance must act now to save the rest of the yoga industry in Ireland.

Yoga studios have never been properly VAT classified and this incorrect VAT rate is crippling them as facility providers.

Illustration by Andrew Kavanagh

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8 thoughts on “We Need Flexibility

  1. The Old Boy

    I’ve had a look at the VAT Act. Yoga classes are liable to VAT at the reduced rate of 13.5%. Gym membership fees for right of admission and access to equipment therein are liable to VAT at the second reduced rate of 9%. If a gym charges for classes, those charges are liable at the first reduced rate of 13.5%, the same as yoga classes.

    I presume the issue you have is that you charge a membership fee that grants access to unlimited classes? The principled difference is that the primary purpose of a gym membership is access to facilities and equipment, where as the primary purpose of a yoga studio membership is access to classes.

    All businesses have fixed overheads, wages, insurance costs etc; most of them do not benefit from steeply reduced rates of VAT.

    1. Vanessanelle

      And I have to collect VAT @23% from people seeking assistance with Debts, Home Arrears and Insolvency

      I’m still agob that I can get a luxury spa treatment and only be charged 13.5% (9 if attached to a hotel afair)
      Last time I indulged anyway

      Yet if I was applying for an Insolvency Arrangement I would have to pay 23% on the fees

    2. Johnny

      Many yoga studios now offer the ability to do your own practice without instruction or in a casual drop in manner, they are not simply one room studios any more.The one near me this morning is more off a wellness complex with yoga studios, some have classes at prescheduled times, other studios are ‘open’ and after paying a fee you can simply go and do your own practice, without instructions,in other words similar to a gym setup.

  2. Termagant

    What is a “yoga studio”? What special overheads do they have? A facility for yoga as far as I can tell requires:

    -an open floor area

    That’s the list
    If the complaint is “we need a lower VAT rate because we have to pay rent and rates and utilities and sky-high insurance” – well yeah, so does everyone.

    Is there any differentiation made in these arrangements between necessary and luxury services?

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