VAT Relief

Claiming VAT Relief - what you need to know







Many of our customers are eligible for VAT relief (a reduction of approximately 17% on the list price at the current standard VAT rate of 20%) and we encourage you to do this when appropriate as it is under an approved scheme by HMRC. We want to make it straightforward, however you must be sure that you are eligible to claim VAT exemption - there are penalties for false declarations - so please read the information below carefully:


  • Add the products to your basket, if you wish to see the VAT-free price you can select the "0% VAT eligible" pricing option (see picture below) - but this is optional


  • Go to your cart page, and if you are eligible and wish to claim VAT relief, click the declaration box at the bottom and fill out the short declaration
  • VAT will be removed when appropriate and your cart updated
  • Proceed to checkout 
  • Complete checkout as normal

Who can claim VAT Exemption Relief on purchases?

You are eligible if you are chronically sick or disabled and the eligible products are for your personal or domestic use.

'Chronic' meaning lasting a long time. A person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they:

  • have a physical or mental impairment that has a long-term and severe effect on their ability to carry out everyday activities
  • have a condition that doctors treat as a chronic (long lasting) sickness (like diabetes or arthritis, for example) or
  • are terminally ill

Examples of products not covered by 'personal or domestic use' include:

  • products and services used for business purposes
  • products made widely available for a group of people to use
  • products and services supplied to people who are staying or living in a hospital or nursing home, as part of their medical or surgical treatment or with any form of care

In these cases no VAT relief would be available even if the individual product is potentially applicable for VAT relief.

The person does not need to be registered disabled, as long as they qualify under the conditions above.You may also make the purchase on behalf of the individual.

A person with a temporary injury like a broken leg will not qualify, nor will a frail older person who is otherwise well and non-disabled.

Please note that the VAT exemption relief is made under the terms of HMRC guidelines (see below) and this page is not to be considered formal advice, the guidelines are the official statement. Should it be later ruled that VAT relief was not allowed on a purchase we reserve the right to ask you to pay the outstanding VAT amount. There are also penalties for making false declarations.

Products that do not qualify for 0% VAT

Products supplied by The Helpful Things Company that are potentially eligible for VAT relief are shown with two pricing options : 20% VAT added and 0% VAT (on a pull-down pricing menu on the product page). Products that are not eligible for VAT relief for anyone regardless of their condition do not display the 0% VAT eligible pricing option. This is because eligible products must be designed primarily with the needs of the disabled or the chronically sick in mind. The individual case of the purchaser then applies as to whether exemption can be claimed - as per the rule above. 


Purchases by eligible charities

VAT relief may apply where the goods are made available by the charity to a disabled person for their personal or domestic use.
Full details can be found at the HM Revenue and Customs website under 'VAT reliefs for disabled people; HMRC Reference: Notice 701/7 (August 2002)' (see below for link).

Further help and advice from HM Revenue and Customs

If you need general advice or more copies of Customs and Excise notices, please ring the National Advice Service on 0845 010 9000. You can call between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm, Monday to Friday.
If you have hearing difficulties, please ring the Textphone service on 0845 000 0200.

HMRC Reference: Notice 701/7 (August 2002) is shown here for your information. This is the reference document that will apply in all HMRC decisions.

Another clear and simple guide is here

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