At the heart of The John Ford Group lies the belief that everyone deserves to enjoy their home life as fully and as independently as possible.

Installing adaptations to a home setting can make all the difference for people with limited mobility. Quite often, even simple changes can foster independence and substantially improve quality of life.

And when it comes to funding them, help might be at hand. 

If a customer is eligible, qualifying goods and services may be zero-rated, incurring no VAT.

Working out which adaptations are VAT exempt is a little complicated and often assessed on a case-by-case basis. To help you understand what to reasonably expect, let’s explore the topic in this introductory guide.

Who Is Eligible?

VAT reliefs for disabled and older people come hand in hand with eligibility criteria.

To qualify for possible zero-rated equipment and services, a person must be ‘chronically sick or disabled’. The associated government webpage, found here, describes this as a person with:

  • A physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out everyday activities
  • A condition that the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness, such as diabetes

As a rule, any individuals who are elderly but do not fall into the categories above, or anyone who suffers a temporary disability, does not qualify for VAT reliefs.

Who Decides If An Individual Should Qualify?

As mentioned previously, requests for VAT reliefs for goods and services to support those who might qualify are assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

Individuals applying for the scheme, or a professional counterpart such as an occupational therapist, do need to supply a certain form of evidence to prove eligibility. 

Rather than any form of ‘exemption certificate’, a written declaration from each customer is required to confirm that they are entitled to the VAT relief. It should state enough information to demonstrate that the customer fulfils all of the criteria we listed in the previous section. 

In cases where the patient or customer cannot write, such as if they are a child, the signature of a parent, guardian, doctor or similar trusted adult is acceptable. Electronic declarations are also a possibility, with or without a signature, as long as evidence of the origin of the document is retained.

Adapted Bathroom

The General Rule 

It’s essential to note that only adaptations considered to fall under the category ‘domestic and personal use’ are permitted to be zero-rated. 

It’s pretty self-explanatory, but to be clear, here are some examples of adaptations and situations that do NOT fall into the domestic and personal use category:

  • Any eligible goods or services used for business purposes
  • Eligible goods being made widely available to others after installation. Eligible goods and services must be used solely by the specified chronically sick or disabled person. 
  • Eligible goods and services being installed in a commercial establishment, such as a hospital or nursing home. 

What Sort Of Home Adaptations Might Be Covered By The Scheme? 

Various goods and services can be zero-rated for those in need if eligible, including:

  • Electronic or mechanically adjustable beds. Not just any though, only those beds that are designed for people with disabilities.
  • Stairlifts and chairlifts are designed for wheelchair users. The lift does not need to be able to carry the person whilst they are sitting in their wheelchair but must be able to be used in conjunction.
  • Hoists and lifters that are specially designed for disabled people. This category can include lift and tilt chairs but not those that recline without the lift or tilt option.
  • Toilets and toileting accessories. Commode stools and chairs feature here, as well as devices such as accessible washer-dryer toilets that incorporate a warm air drier as well as bidet function. Any device that can help customers and patients to sit down or rise from a toilet is also included in this category. 

What About Beds?

Though beds can be a central part of the day-to-day life of a person with limited mobility, they are not eligible for VAT relief unless it’s clear that the bed is a piece of specialised equipment designed solely for the use of people with disabilities.

Think hospital bed design. To qualify for the scheme, a bed must:

  • Be electrically or mechanically adjustable
  • Feature specific design elements that show it to be a bit of specialist kit and not just a fancy bed, such as being fitted with cot sides or being completely height adjustable. 

Mattresses may be eligible if they are supplied alongside a qualifying bed or designed especially for use of the customer or patient.

How Will I Know Which Adaptations Are VAT Exempt? 

The best way of finding out whether what you’re wanting to invest in qualifies for tax relief is by asking your chosen adaptor. Having gone through the motions plenty of times before, they will be able to tell you when talking through the pricing options for your adaptations. 

The John Ford Group Can Help

We’ve been designing and installing disability adaptations in domestic and commercial properties for over 14 years. 

Want to discover whether the adaptations you have in mind might qualify for VAT exemption? Pick up the phone and give us a call today.