The Government leaves hygienic masks out of the VAT reduction, despite having promoted their use

It also excludes the FFT2 from the discount


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The announced reduction in VAT from 21% to 4% on masks announced by the Government it will be applied only to the surgical ones, and not to the hygienic ones, which, in fact, are the most used, those that the government itself has recommended for healthy people and those that are marketed by the large distribution, the supermarket chains.

The lowering of VAT it will also not apply to multi-purpose fabric (also called hygienic) or FFP2. The Government has always defended that the use of the latter should be limited to sick people or health personnel or professionals exposed to the virus.

The price of surgical, as published this Thursday by the BOE, is set at 62 cents and it will be temporary, until December 2021. The Government decided one week to lower the VAT on masks after having rejected Ciudadanos’ proposal to do so.

The Facua consumer association has criticized that the drop is not applied to the rest of the products and, above all, to the hygienic ones, which are the most widespread.

Between one and the other “there are minimal differences, except for the certification process and this must always appear on the labeling,” explain sources from the sector. Before the pandemic broke out, the masks used in Spain were surgical and FFP2, in healthcare settings. The so-called hygienic ones were used more in industry and the reusable cloth ones did not exist.

Given the need to supply masks to the entire population, and given that China, the world’s main supplier of this product, put some obstacles to the certification of shipments made to Europe, “The Government promoted and accelerated the processes to homologate the hygienic record time”, explain these sources, involved at that time in this process.

Sale in super

“Everyone, at the impulse of the Government, began to market this type and even the distribution was pressured to do so, when in principle the supermarket chains were reluctant to sell them”, these sources explain.

On April the Spanish Association for Standardization published the UNE 0065 Specification, which establishes the minimum requirements that the reusable hygienic masks for children and adults had to comply with.

Supermarket chains sell millions of masks a week and all sell single-use hygiene, in addition to reusable fabric ones, according to industry sources. Only the Dia chain sells surgical ones, which, in fact, are manufactured in Extremadura.

The Government has always recommended the use of single-use hygienic masks for people without symptoms and, in theory, healthy, who have not had contact with any positive or are infected.


Surgical procedures were recommended for asymptomatic positives. o people who have passed the Covid and the FFP2 are only recommended for people in contact with the virus (health workers, exposed workers …) and for vulnerable groups.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs started in October a procedure to regulate the market for hygienic masks (given the explosion that has occurred) and expand the labeling and control requirements of these products.

From the Treasury they clarify that From the beginning there was talk of disposable surgical, which are the ones that have the regulated price and are considered a sanitary product. “It has acted where Health, in turn, has regulated, to avoid abuses”, they point out.

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