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Irish court: Subway's sandwich bread is not legally bread

Irish court: Subway's sandwich bread is not legally bread
Ireland's Supreme Court ruled the bread used by sandwich chain Subway contains too much sugar to meet the legal definition of bread, rejecting a franchisee's argument that the bread should be exempt from a tax levied under the Value-Added Tax Act of 1972. Photo by Tupungato/Shutterstock

Oct. 1 (UPI) -- The Irish Supreme Court ruled the bread used for sandwiches at franchise chain Subway cannot be legally defined as bread because it contains too much sugar.

The court was hearing an appeal from Subway franchisee Bookfinders Ltd. on whether the bread for the chain's sandwiches would count as a staple food that is exempt from the Value-Added Tax Act of 1972.

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The five-judge court ruled that Subway's bread is not legally defined as bread under the VAT Act because its sugar content is 10% of the weight of the flour used to make the dough -- far more than the 2% specified for the legal definition of bread under the act.

"The argument depends on the acceptance of the prior contention that the Subway heated sandwich contains 'bread' as defined, and therefore can be said to be food for the purposes of the Second Schedule rather than confectionary. Since that argument has been rejected, this subsidiary argument must fail," the court ruled.

The appeal stemmed from a 2006 ruling against Bookfinders, which had sought a refund for VAT payments, claiming the bread used to make the sandwiches should be exempt from the tax. The appeal was rejected.

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