Who is Eligible for VAT Relief?

You will only be able to buy goods and services without VAT if you are 'chronically sick or disabled', and you are buying them for your own personal or domestic use. The terminology used by HMRC in this matter is rather "clumsy" and please be assured that this is not the way that we would refer to the majority of our customers, but it is what is in place and therefore for VAT purposes, a person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they:

  • Have a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out everyday activities.
  • Have a condition that the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness (e.g. diabetes).
  • Are terminally ill. So, you won't qualify if you're only temporarily disabled or incapacitated (e.g. if you have a broken leg). 

What products/services are Eligible for VAT Relief?

The rules about VAT relief are complex, as not everything that is supplied to the chronically sick or disabled is zero-rated for VAT. Firstly any product needs to be designed solely for the benefit of a person who is chronically sick or disabled. This unfortunately means that if a product has not been designed for this purpose (and documented by the manufacturer) then it would not qualify for VAT Relief, even though it would greatly benefit a person with special needs. The second part is that the product or service must be supplied for the 'personal or domestic use' of a chronically sick or disabled person to qualify for zero-rating.

Many of the items you will find from Southpaw do qualify, as we design equipment solely for sensory therapy, however certain ones do not. Examples of items which do qualify from Southpaw are:

  • Our therapy swings
  • Weighted items such as blankets & vests etc
  • Our range of MSE equipment
  • Installation of qualifying products
  • Servicing of qualifying products
  • Plus many more...

How do I buy Southpaw Products without VAT?

Before you pay for any product or service from us, please check that it qualifies for VAT Relief, our team are happy to advise on this matter. Southpaw UK are regsitered for VAT, so we are able to remove this from your purchase if we recieve your declaration. This declaration can be done through our website using the cart functionality or filled in online and sent directly to us. If you can't sign the written declaration yourself, the signature of your parent, guardian, doctor or another responsible person is acceptable on the declaration. You can then buy the product or service at a price that excludes VAT. You don't have to pay VAT and then reclaim it - it will be taken off the purchase price before you pay this also applies for purchases made over the phone and internet. All information recieved this way will be subject to our Privacy policy.

Why might your Product/Service not be Eligible for VAT Relief?

In certain instances, purchases will not be eligible for VAT Relief. Unfortunately Southpaw have no control of this and must abide by HMRC guidelines. In the following instances, VAT Relief is not applicable:

  • Products and services used for business purposes (this includes Schools, unless they are a registered Charity)
  • 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. 
  • Transportation of the Products/Services

Where can I get more Information?

You can find out more about VAT relief for disabled people on the HM Revenue & Customs website or the Directgov website. If you can't find the answer to your questions there, you can call the HM Revenue & Customs helpline.

If you believe you qualify for VAT Relief you can make a declaration during your purchase for eligible items. Alternatively you can use our online form below to make a declaration if you wish to order via phone or purchase order. 


VAT Relief Form (click and download)