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Am I VAT Exempt? A Quick Guide.


Am I VAT Exempt? A Quick Guide

As quoted from the UK government website: –

If you’re disabled or have a long-term illness, you will not be charged VAT on products designed or adapted for your own personal or domestic use. Also, you will not be charged VAT on:

  • the installation and any extra work needed as part of this
  • repairs or maintenance
  • spare parts or accessories

There are many products that qualify for VAT exemption, this will be clarified by the retailer you are dealing with, usually products that have been adapted or specifically designed qualify for the VAT relief. Some examples are: –

  • Stair Lifts
  • Adjustable Beds
  • Wheelchairs
  • Home Lifts
  • Medical Appliances to assist severe injuries
  • Alarms (for personal monitoring and/or attached to a home help call centre)
  • Motability Vehicle Leases
  • Building work for home adaptations, for example ramps, door widening (but not NEW doorways) and bathroom conversions
  • Commode chairs and bathing aids
  • Incontinence products
  • Hoists or other personal lifting equipment, including rise & recline chairs
  • Servicing / Repairs
New Flow X Curved Stairlift Installation
Stairlifts are VAT exempt if you qualify

In order to get the product VAT free your particular disability has to qualify for it, as shown on the UK government website you will qualify if you are disabled or if you have a long-term illness if: –

  • You have a physical or mental impairment that affects your ability to carry out everyday activities, an example of this is blindness.
  • You have a condition that’s treated as a chronic sickness, for example diabetes.
  • You are terminally ill.

You do not qualify for VAT exemption if you are elderly but not disabled, or if you are only temporarily disabled, however, if you are over 60 years of age you may only have to pay a reduced rate of VAT at 5% if you have certain mobility aids installed in your home. Your mobility provider will be able to advise if this is the case.

You will need to confirm in writing that you meet the criteria for VAT exemption. Your mobility supplier may give you a simple form to fill in when you purchase the products or services.

Home disability ramp
Home adaptions for example a ramp to your door

You may qualify for financial assistance from your local council to help with purchasing disability equipment or adaptations to your home.

In order to qualify for VAT exemption the goods or services must be for personal or domestic use. The guidance from HMRC advises that this does not include use for business purposes, for example, you cannot claim VAT exemption for a product if you qualify for personal VAT exemption but are installing a product in a restaurant you own for the use of the general public, however, if the product is solely for your own personal use then VAT exemption will apply.

The manufacturer, retailer or distributor is responsible for charging the correct amount of VAT on products and services they sell. Any product or service that is sold without VAT must have been designed solely for the use by disabled people

Call your local retailer for advice

You do not have to pay VAT for parts or accessories that are designed solely for use with the eligible product, VAT relief also does not apply for general use items (such as remote control batteries) even if they are being purchased for use in the equipment that was bought VAT free.

If you require servicing, repairs or maintenance on a product that you purchased VAT free then you will also not need to pay VAT for these additional services. Also, you will not need to pay VAT on the costs of having the products adapted to suit your particular disability.

If you have already purchased a product or service and think that you should have qualified for VAT exemption and met the criteria, you should contact the retailer that you purchased the goods from and ask for a refund of the VAT element. As stated above the retailer is responsible for ensuring that the correct amount of VAT is charged for the products they sell. HMRC have no ability to refund VAT directly, HMRC also can not intervene in disputes between customers and suppliers.

Some links to further information can be found below.

If you have any other questions then your local or preferred mobility retailer will be able to help you, so give them a call.

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Phil Rice

Phil Rice has been in the Mobility Industry for the past 25 years, specialising in stairlifts, home lifts, hydraulic platform lifts, hoists and through floor lifts. He has in depth technical knowledge and experience in both the manufacturing and retail channels within the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Phil is currently the Managing Director of Anglian Lifts Ltd in Peterborough and a Board Director of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA), prior to this he was the MD at Anglia Stairlifts Ltd, MD of MediTek Stairlifts Manufacturing facility (based in County Durham) and the President of MediTek Incorporated in Apex, North Carolina, USA.