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The HMRC applies a zero rate of VAT to certain products and services that it deems worthy or appropriate. If you rely on mobility equipment to give you a decent quality of life, you could benefit from this zero rate.However, the HMRC is very specific about who is eligible to purchase zero-rated goods. The taxmans rules state that only someone who ischronically sick or disabled” may benefit from the zero rate of VAT; this refers to anyone with a terminal illness, a condition classed as chronic sickness such as diabetes or aphysical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect upon your ability to carry out everyday activities. Whats more, if you fit into one or more of the above criteria, the zero rate of VAT only applies to goods purchased for your own, private use; not goods purchased for resale or for commercial or public use.Of course, the zero rate of VAT does not apply to everything you buy. The HMRC states that only goods that are specifically designed to improve the quality of life of a qualified disabled person may be purchased without paying value added tax.In terms of mobility equipment and aids for people suffering from illness or disability, this includes;

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  • Any adjustable bed which is SPECIFICALLY designed to aid with a mobility impairment caused by chronic illness, injury or disability. Bed producers Dreams recently found themselves in trouble with the tax office after they applied a zero rating to general purpose beds which the HMRC did not deem to have been designed solely for use by disabled persons.
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  • Commode chairs, stools and sanitary frames.
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  • Wheelchairs and scooters as long as these are specifically designed for disabled usage.
  • Only pavement use mobility scooters limited to 4mph are eligible for the zero rating; road use scooters capable of traveling 8mph are not exempt from taxation.
  • Riser recliner chairs and other lifting products. Again, these must be specifically designed for this purpose.
  • Motability vehicle leases.
It is important to note that the above items are zero rated only if used by someone with a disability or chronic illness. This exemption does not apply if the goods are purchased by someone who is elderly and frail but otherwise in good health. However, users of mobility equipment who fit into this category are entitled to some VAT relief.If you are aged 60 or over and do not fit into thechronically ill or disabled category as outlined above, you will not be eligible for a zero rate of VAT. Instead, certain mobility aids will have a reduced rate of VAT placed on them, which is currently calculated at 5% of the total value of the goods.While you will still be paying tax on the items, saving 15% of the full rate of VAT is certainly not to be sniffed at. The discounted VAT rate applies to the following goods if they are being supplied and installed for you.
  • Access ramps
  • Stair lifts
  • Bath lifts
  • Hand rails
  • Easy access showers
  • Walk-in baths with sealable doors.
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\r\nPlease note that these goods will be taxed at the full VAT rate of 20% if they are merely purchased. The reduced rate applies solely to these items when they are supplied and installed.

By Help Mobility Team

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