VAT Question of the Week (24th June 2016)

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27 Jun 2016

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Q. My client is disabled and, because of her disability, she has difficulties in opening and closing her garage door. She is considering buying a new garage door or possibly having her existing door adapted. I understand that there are VAT reliefs available for disabled people and therefore assume that she can purchase the door without VAT. Please can you confirm if this is correct? A. The VAT rules around supplies made to disabled customers can be complex. The zero rates that are available are covered in the VAT Act 1994, Schedule 8, Group 12 and also VAT Notice 701/7. If your client intends to purchase a new door then the VAT treatment will differ depending on whether she buys a standard electrically operated door or a manual door that she requests to be altered to suit her condition prior to purchase. If your client buys a standard electrically operated door then - unless it has been specifically designed for operation by a disabled user - it will be standard rated; there is no VAT relief regardless of the status of the purchaser even though the door may have features that disabled users would find particularly beneficial. When considering whether something has been ‘designed solely for use by a handicapped person’ (to quote the legislation) HMRC would consider the manufacturer’s original design intentions and marketing materials. If your client decides to purchase a garage door that qualifies for zero-rating on this basis then the installation would also be zero rated, as would any subsequent repairs or maintenance. Alternatively, if your client decides to buy a manual door that she requests be altered to suit her condition prior to purchase (for example, by having a remote controlled opening device fitted to a standard garage door to enable the door to be opened and closed) then the door itself would be standard rated but the work and parts to adapt the door would be zero rated. In this case, the supplier would need to apportion the selling price between the door at the standard rate and the services/remote controlled device at the zero rate. The installation in this scenario would be standard rated, although any subsequent supplies of repairs or maintenance to the goods used to adapt the door would be zero rated. If your client decided to have her existing garage door adapted then, in this case, the work and the parts used in the adaptation would all be zero rated, as would repairs or maintenance to those parts. Please remember that, in order to receive qualifying supplies without VAT, your client will need to provide the supplier with a customer declaration. To access a suggested template for such a declaration, click here. Do you have clients that are disabled? If you need help with providing advice on when purchases can be obtained without VAT then why not contact the VAT Advice Line on 0844 561 8121 and speak to one of our VAT experts? Or perhaps you have suppliers who need help with deciding whether their products are ‘designed solely for use by a handicapped person’. In this case, our team can also provide a written consultancy service at £180 per hour plus VAT.

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