VAT Exemption

VAT Exemption:

If you (or the person you are buying it for) are disabled or have a long-term illness you might be eligible for VAT relief on certain products purchased from G & S Smirthwaite Ltd. provided that they are designed or adapted for your (or their) own  personal or domestic use.

Supplies of goods and services can only be zero rated when all of the following conditions are met:

  • you are eligible to purchase supplies at the zero rate,
  • the goods are for the personal or domestic use of a chronically sick or disabled individual or series of chronically sick or disabled individuals, and
  • the goods and services are themselves eligible to be purchased at the zero rate.


Who can purchase zero-rated goods and services?

Generally only supplies made directly to chronically sick or disabled people and to charities where the goods are being made available by the charity to a chronically sick or disabled person for their personal or domestic use can be zero rated.

If a parent, spouse or guardian acts on behalf of a ‘chronically sick or disabled’ person, the supply is treated as being made to that ‘chronically sick or disabled’ person.

Bodies that are not eligible to purchase qualifying goods and services zero-rated under this relief include:

  • day centres, residential care homes or providers of home care services that are not charities
  • day centres, residential care homes or providers of home care services, where over an extended period the majority of the recipients of care provided are not chronically sick or disabled people


Do all supplies to charities qualify for VAT relief?

The general VAT exemption rules also apply to charities so supplies of goods will only qualify for VAT relief where the goods are designed solely for disabled people and are being purchased by the charity for use by an individual disabled person (or group of disabled individuals) for their personal or domestic use. 

There are certain other circumstances when supplies of goods might qualify for VAT relief, for example purchases by certain healthcare bodies and hospitals using charitable funds.

Charities can obtain further information by calling the Charities’ Helpline on Telephone: 0300 123 1073 or from: VAT Notice 701/1: charities and VAT Notice 701/6: charity funded equipment for medical, veterinary etc uses.


What does for ‘domestic or personal use’ mean?

‘Domestic or personal use’ means that the supply is needed specifically for the use of a disabled individual or series of disabled individuals.

The following are excluded from the term ‘domestic or personal use’, and not eligible for VAT relief:

  • goods and services used for business purposes
  • supplies of eligible goods made widely available for a whole group of people to use as they wish rather than for the personal use of specified individuals
  • goods and services supplied to:
    • an inpatient or resident of a hospital or nursing home
    • any person attending the premises of a hospital or nursing home for care or treatment
    • any other person or commercial establishment, with the exception of a charity, where the goods are for use by, or in connection with, care provided to an inpatient or resident of a health institution or to a patient whilst attending the premises of a health institution where the items are intended for use in the care or treatment provided in the relevant hospital, nursing home or health institution - for further information see VAT Notice 701/31 Health and Care institutions


What does ‘chronically sick or disabled’ mean?

For VAT purposes, a person is ‘chronically sick or disabled’ if he/she:

  • has a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect upon his/her ability to carry out everyday activities, or
  • has a condition which the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness, such as diabetes, or
  • is terminally ill

It does not include an elderly person who is not disabled or chronically sick or any person who’s only temporarily disabled or incapacitated, such as with a broken limb.


How do I know which goods are eligible to be purchased at the zero rate?

Only equipment and appliances that have been designed solely for use by disabled people qualify for VAT relief. Equipment or appliances designed for general use or designed for use by disabled and able-bodied people alike will not qualify for VAT relief and these products are clearly identified as not being eligible for zero rating.

For further information, please contact a member of our Customer Services Team (Tel: 01626 835552) who will be happy to advise.


How can I claim VAT exemption?

On the ‘Shipping/Payment’ page of this website a VAT exemption check box is provided. Please tick this box to reveal the VAT exemption claim form. You must select the appropriate option and state in full the reason for your VAT exemption claim before you proceed to the checkout.

All orders submitted with a VAT relief claim form completed are checked before the order is processed and should payment already have been made this may require amendment in which case a member of our customer services team will contact you.

Please note that VAT will be charged on your order at the standard rate applicable unless we receive your completed and signed declaration prior to despatch, also that a VAT exemption declaration relates to a specific order and it will be necessary to complete a separate claim form each time qualifying goods are purchased from G & S Smirthwaite Ltd.

Alternatively, exemption claims can be made in writing if placing your order via post, please contact a member of our Customer Services Team (Tel: 01626 835552) for further information, do note however that claims for VAT exemption need to be made in writing and cannot be taken over the telephone.


What if I cannot make a written declaration?

It may not always be possible for a disabled person to sign a declaration, for example, if the person is a child or cannot write, in such cases, the signature of a parent, guardian, doctor or another responsible person is acceptable on the declaration.


Further Information:

If you are in any doubt as to whether you are eligible to receive goods or services zero rated for VAT you should consult the VAT Relief for Disabled People Helpsheets on the GOV.UK website or contact the HMRC Helpline on: 0300 123 1073 before signing this declaration.

Please be aware that HMRC staff cannot advise whether or not an individual is chronically sick or disabled.