VAT (Value Added Tax) is a tax paid on products and services when bought. Currently a VAT rate of 20% is applied to most purchases. VAT relief is when the supplier does not charge you that rate. VAT exemption is when items are not taxable, and the rate is not added to the selling price.
People who get VAT relief
You may not have to pay VAT on some goods and building works if you are chronically sick or disabled. If you are buying them for your personal use. To claim for VAT exemption the supplier will usually ask you to sign a form declaring that the item is for a person with a disability or chronically sick.
Things you can buy VAT free
Things that can be bought or hired VAT free include:
- Medical and surgical appliances (but not bandages, plasters or other wound dressings).
- Wheelchairs and Mobility scooters (Class 2 only – not exceeding four miles per hour unless designed solely for the disabled person).
- Equipment to aid the hard of hearing and low vision aids (but not including standard hearing aids, corrective spectacles or contact lenses).
- Specialist beds, chair, and stair lifts, rise and recline chairs and other lifting equipment and sanitary devices.
- Goods that have been designed solely for disabled people (not products used by disabled and non-disabled people).
- Computer equipment (not general computer equipment such as laptops).
- Emergency alarm call systems (but not telephones, intruder alarms or CCTV systems).
Things that are exempt from VAT when you buy them include:
- insurance, finance, and credit
- education and training
- fundraising events by charities
You can visit the HMRC website to find out about who qualifies for VAT relief and what goods you can get. The seller is responsible for checking if the goods are eligible to sell VAT-free.
If someone needs to help you
Usually, banks will only talk to the person who owns the money or bank account. If you need help with your banking and money you can ask people, you trust to support you in different ways:
- Joint account – more than one person can manage your bank account. You must be able to trust that person. They will be able to spend all of the money.
- Third party mandate – this lets someone else monitor or manage your bank account. It does not give them the legal right to make decisions about your finances.
- Appointee – has permission to act for you in everything relating to benefit claims.
- Deputy – someone you ask the courts to give the right to manage your finances to if you cannot make your own decisions.
- Power of Attorney – a chosen person to make decisions for you. You choose this person when you can still make decisions and they would make decisions for you later when you cannot do it anymore.