Golden Years Feature Early September

Over 60 or disabled? You could be paying less tax

VAT is often called the hidden tax. It’s added on to the price of most products and services, from a woolly jumper to new garden chairs. The standard rate of VAT is 20%. So if you buy a new washing machine for £300, £250 goes to the retailer, and £50 to the tax man. In most cases you won’t get an itemised bill, so you can’t see how much VAT you’re paying.

Some products and services are charged at a reduced rate of VAT – currently 5%. Now here’s where you can save money.  If you’re over 60, you can have the rate of VAT reduced from 20% to 5% on some types of mobility equipment. And if you’re chronically sick, or disabled, you may be able to get it reduced to 0%. Not all mobility equipment qualifies for the reduction, but you could save on:

  • grab rails
  • ramps
  • stair lifts
  • bath lifts
  • built-in shower seats, or showers containing built-in shower seats
  • walk-in baths with sealable doors

There are some restrictions. You’ll need to have the equipment professionally installed, rather than just buying it off the shelf. The equipment also needs to be fitted in your home. It doesn’t matter whether you rent your house, or own it, and it can be a home that you share with friends or relatives. So, for example, if you have a room in your son or daughter’s house, you could qualify for a reduced rate of VAT on a built-in shower seat. If you live in a residential care home though, the standard rate of VAT applies.

You don’t even need to pay for the equipment yourself. As long as the person benefitting is over 60, or has a long-term illness or disability, the equipment can be paid for by someone else. So if a family member, housing association or charity buys you the equipment, for example, they could save 15% – 20% of the cost.

If you’re chronically sick and disabled and want to take advantage of the 0% VAT rate on your mobility equipment, you’ll need to complete a declaration form which the supplier can give you. You don’t need to be registered as disabled, or have proof from your doctor.

So, to benefit from the reduced rate of VAT:

  • The person who the equipment is for needs to be over 60, or have a long-term illness, or be disabled
  • The equipment needs to be one of the items mentioned in the above list
  • It needs to be professionally fitted by the supplier
  • It needs to be installed in a private home, rather than a care home

If this all sounds a bit complicated, don’t worry. Your mobility specialist should be able to handle everything for you. To find out how much you could save, or for any more information, just call Living Needs on 01271 374600 or visit our showroom, halfway down Mill Road, in Barnstaple. We’re open Monday to Saturday from 9am – 5pm. Just look for Living Needs above the door.

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About Us

Learn about who we are, see examples of what we have done & hear directly from our customers about their experiences

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Easy Access Bathing

If you have mobility issues, learn how removing the bath and creating a large level access showering area can help you to use your bathroom safely and easily again

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Mobility Aids

Learn more about the many products on the market which are of a high quality and stylish finish that help you maintain your independence and dignity for longer.

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Home Adaptations

With over 25 years of building experience, we can adapt your home to make it suit your changing needs. Learn more about what we can do.

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Design & Build

We specialise in the provision of high-quality construction work in the North Devon area, whether you want to renovate an entire property, build an extension, or breathe new life into an existing room

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Care Homes

Whether you need a complete refurbishment or updating of your current facilities, we can provide bathrooms for assisted bathing that conform to latest safety standards.

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All of our work is guaranteed

Living Needs, Solutions for Independent Living

Reassuringly experienced and dependable, Living Needs is the only bathing specialist in Devon who are members of the Master Builder’s Federation and hold the Trustmark.

Living Needs are on the approved list of contractors for various local councils and housing associations across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.

Living Needs

Members of Federation of Master Builders

The Federation of Master Builders

The Federation of Master Builders is the UK's largest trade association in the building industry.  Established in 1941 to protect the interests of small and medium-sized building firms, the FMB is independent and non-profit-making, lobbying continuously for members’ interests at both national and local levels.

The FMB is a source of knowledge, professional advice and support for its members. The FMB also offers advice to consumers via its 'find a builder' and 'check a member' web pages giving you peace of mind that your project will be handled professionally.

FMB's mission is that "Our construction companies are uniquely placed in the construction market to deliver the highest quality and best value to clients."

Trust Mark: Government Endorsed Standards


TrustMark is a Government-backed quality mark which operates a framework under which 26 scheme operators work in the Repair, Maintenance and Improvement sector, including trade associations, local government trading standards teams, and independent scheme operators.

These schemes are approved to carry the TrustMark logo and recruit reputable and trustworthy tradesmen. This enables the TrustMark scheme operators to promote improved standards, and tackle related issues such as better enforcement. All of these scheme operators are audited annually by TrustMark, to ensure processes, standards and complaint procedures are being maintained.

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Bank Holidays        Closed

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Living Needs, Solutions for Independent Living

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