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
- 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.