Getting VAT Relief for Disabled People

The UK does not provide a blanket exemption of VAT reliefs for disabled persons. That means older or disabled people are not exempted from VAT by any automatic procedure.

VAT RELIEF DISABILITY: UK Value Added Tax laws do provide certain reliefs for some people.

In the majority of cases, VAT reliefs apply for those who are ‘chronically sick or disabled’.

As a rule ‘chronic’ gets defined as lasting a long time. That means VAT relief excludes temporary injuries and illnesses.

That is also one of the reasons why everything supplied to disabled persons is not relieved from VAT.

Are you disabled or do you have a long-term illness? If so, you will not get charged UK Value Added Tax on some products. Exemptions apply to those designed or adapted for your own domestic or personal use.

This is a list of general services which get relieved from VAT when supplied to disabled persons:

  • The installation of zero-rated equipment designed for use by a disabled person and any extra work needed.
  • Most adaptations of goods made to suit the conditions of disabled people.
  • Certain construction alterations to buildings and domestic property.
  • Repair and maintenance of equipment, spare parts, or accessories designed solely for use by disabled people.

Note: In all cases, the product and your specific disability must qualify to get VAT relief disability.

VAT Relief Qualifying Products and Services

As a rule, products designed or adapted for a disability will get VAT relief for disabled persons. The product supplier will confirm it if you are unsure. VAT relief qualifying products include most types of:

  • Adjustable beds, chair lifts, stair lifts, hoists, and wheelchairs.
  • Most construction and building work including ramps, installing a lift or toilet, or widening doorways. Check a list of products with ‘VAT exemption for disabled building work‘.
  • Most emergency alarm call systems and other equipment designed solely for disabled persons.
  • Some low vision aids and braille paper (not contact lenses or spectacles).
  • Specifically designed or adapted motor vehicles and boats (or the leasing of a Motability vehicle).
  • Some sanitary devices, and surgical or medical appliances which get used to aid severe injuries.

Note: HMRC Business tax guidance publication ‘VAT relief on certain goods if you have a disability‘ has further detailed information.

How to get the Product VAT Free

Your specific disability has to qualify to get the product VAT free. For the definition of VAT exemption, you have a long-term illness or classed disabled if you have a:

  • Physical or mental impairment that affects your ability to carry out everyday activities (e.g. blindness).
  • Condition that gets treated as chronic sickness (e.g. diabetes mellitus).
  • Terminal illness.

Having a temporary disability does not meet the criteria of VAT relief for disabled persons. Neither does being elderly but able-bodied. Your product supplier may produce a form for you to confirm in writing that you meet the conditions.

Help from the Local Council

Your local council provides a lot of financial help for disabled persons. You can contact your regional council for specialist equipment associated to your disability. They can also help to adapt your home to improve access and facilities.

Importing Goods for Disabled

VAT is not liable if you import eligible qualifying goods for your own personal or domestic use. This includes the importation of some goods for blind or partially sighted people.

Using a freight service means they will help you with the paperwork. Otherwise, be sure to write on the parcel ‘Goods for disabled people: relief claimed‘.

You must declare the goods in the red channel at Customs if you bring them into the UK yourself. You should contact the National Import Reliefs Unit for any other method of importation.

National Import Reliefs Unit
030 0057 2100
Monday to Friday: 8am to 4pm
Check call charges in the United Kingdom.

How to Claim VAT Relief for Disabled People in the United Kingdom