There are over 10 million disabled people in the UK, half of which of over 65. Many rely on equipment and daily living aids to make life a little easier – some of which can be very expensive. The disability equipment market is worth some £1.4 billion a year, increasing by a massive 92% in the last 10 years.
To ease the burden of purchasing these essential items, which at times can be costly, HMRC allow people with long term illnesses or disabilities to purchase some items without paying VAT. Technically it’s called VAT relief but it’s a brilliant scheme to save 20% on some of your essential purchases.
How VAT Relief Works
HMRC are quite clear on defining chronic illness or disability. Unfortunately, just because you’re over 65 doesn’t qualify you for VAT relief, you have to have a long term illness and you can’t claim if your situation is temporary. The condition that you suffer with has to be classed as a chronic illness by the medical profession.
The following list is not exhaustive, but it will give you some idea as to the kind of conditions that are classed as chronic and therefore enable you to claim VAT relief on some products you buy:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Heart Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Motor Neuron Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Physically Disabled
- Terminal illnesses
Products and Services Qualifying For VAT Relief
There are literally thousands of daily living aid products out there, some qualify for VAT exemption, some do not, so you have to check with the retailer prior to purchasing. Here’s some of the products and services that you can claim VAT relief on:
- Careline or lifeline alarms
- Medical and surgical appliances
- Adjustable beds
- Sanitary devices
- Chair and stair lifts
- Some auditory aids
- Some low vision aids
- Mobility vehicles
You can also get VAT relief on any installation charges along with some building work that you may need to be done at home. When you get all the work done, you will need to sign a declaration of VAT exemption and then your supplier will provide you with a zero rated invoice. To find out more on VAT relief, then visit the HMRC website.
So the next time you are looking to order a careline alarm, get a stairlift installed or order that new mobility scooter, check that your condition qualifies you for VAT relief as 20% a hefty discount in anyone’s book!