If you have a disability, you generally have to pay VAT on the things you buy. However, relief from paying VAT is available from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on a limited range of goods and services for disabled people.

If you can declare all of the following…

  • you are ‘chronically sick or disabled’
  • you are purchasing an item to specifically assist with a disability
  • the item is only for ‘personal or domestic use’

…then you can reduce the cost of your purchase by 20%.

Definitions

HMRC’s definition of ‘designed solely for disabled people’
This means that the original intention of the product’s designer was to produce an appliance or equipment solely to meet the needs of people with one or more disabilities.

HMRC’s definition of ‘chronically sick or disabled’
For VAT purposes, you are chronically sick or disabled if you have:

  • a physical or mental impairment which has a long term and substantial adverse effect upon your ability to carry out everyday activities
  • a condition which the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness (that’s a long term health condition)
  • IMPORTANT – this definition does not include a person who is only temporarily disabled or incapacitated eg. with a broken limb or someone who is elderly but is not chronically sick or disabled.

HMRC’s definition of ‘personal or domestic use’
This means that the goods are made available specifically for the use of an individual disabled person.
The following are not ‘personal’ or ‘domestic’ uses and do not qualify for VAT relief:

  • goods used for business purposes
  • goods for an in-patient or out-patient of a hospital
  • goods for care of a resident within a nursing or care home
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