VAT-exempt products
4 November 2022

VAT Exemption: Who’s Eligible

It is important to remember that, if you have a long-term illness or a disability, you don’t have to pay VAT on certain goods and services that you buy in the UK.

Broadly speaking, the goods covered by this scheme are those which are of practical help to you in light of your illness or disability. Throughout our site, those products to which VAT exemption applies are all clearly labelled.

How Disability and Long-Term Illness are Defined for VAT Purposes

If you meet any of the below conditions, you are considered disabled and/or long-term sick for VAT exemption purposes.

  • You have a physical or mental impairment with a long-term and substantial adverse effect upon your ability to carry out everyday activities.
  • You have a terminal illness.
  • You have a condition that the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness e.g. diabetes.

Note therefore that there are various situations in which you would not qualify. For example, if you are elderly but able-bodied, or if you’re only temporarily incapacitated, you would not be eligible for VAT relief on grounds of disability and long-term illness.

For this VAT exemption to apply, it isn’t necessary for you to either physically buy the goods in person, or even to pay for them yourself. To give various examples, if your parent, guardian, or spouse buys the goods and services for you, then you will not be charged VAT.

However, purchases of goods and services to which this VAT exemption applies are subject to one very important condition. They must be bought for personal or domestic use. This means that the goods or services are to be supplied for your own private use, rather than for business purposes.

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