Guidance

Wheelchair cushion (Tariff notice 17)

Check the new tariff classification of inflatable cushions of plastic (so-called ‘wheelchair cushion’).

A new regulation 2018/603 dated 20 April 2018 has been published in L101/18.

New regulation

Description of goods

An inflatable cushion of plastics (so-called ‘wheelchair cushion’), measuring approximately 40 by 40 centimetres, consisting of 2 rectangular interconnected chambers filled with air. Each chamber contains an air filled bag of plastics covered with a thin layer of silicone.

The cushion is adjustable according to the degree to which the 2 chambers are inflated, which causes the position of the bag of plastics in each chamber to shift when the user is sitting on the cushion.

The cushion has a removable anti-slip cover of textile materials that has 2 ‘velcro’-type straps attached to its underside.

The article is intended to prevent the user developing pressure sores. It provides a relieving effect on the seat bones and improves the comfort of the user.

Images:

Wheelchair cushion
Wheelchair cushion
Wheelchair cushion inside anti-slip cover
Wheelchair cushion in cover

Classification (Combined Nomenclature (CN) code)

Code 3926 90 97.

Reason

Classification is determined by general rules 1, 3(b) and 6 for the interpretation of the CN and by the wording of CN codes 3926 , 3926 90 and 3926 90 97.

Classification of the article under heading 9404 (articles of bedding and similar furnishing) is excluded because pneumatic cushions are excluded from this heading within the meaning of note 1 (a) to Chapter 94 and, consequently, pneumatic cushions of plastics are classified under heading 3926 (see also the Harmonized System Explanatory Notes to heading 9404, last paragraph, (b)).

Classification under CN code 8714 20 00 as parts and accessories of carriages for disabled persons is also excluded, because the article is not identifiable as being suitable for use solely or principally with carriages for disabled persons within the meaning of note 3 to Section XVII. Considering its objective characteristics, the article can be used on many seats and chairs as well as on seats of wheelchairs.

For example, the article is not designed for use with a specific seat, because it has no specific means by which it can be attached that would identify it for use with a specific seat. The anti-slip cover and the ‘velcro’-type straps can be attached to many different types of seats. There is therefore nothing to identify the article as being designed for use with a specific type of seat (see also the HSEN to heading 8714, first paragraph, (i)).

Moreover, classification under CN code 8714 20 00 as parts and accessories of carriages for disabled persons is excluded because the article is neither indispensable for the functioning of the wheelchair, nor does it adapt the wheelchair for a particular operation or increase its range of operations or enable it to perform a particular service connected with its main function which is enabling a handicapped person to move (see judgment of the Court of 16 June 2011, Unomedical, C-152/10, ECLI:EU:C:2011:402, paragraphs 29, 30 and 36). A wheelchair operates in the same way as it does without the cushion. The cushion merely makes the wheelchair more comfortable and endurable for the user.

Although the article consists of different components (the cushion of plastics and the cover of textile materials), the article is to be classified as if it consisted of the cushion of plastics because the cushion gives the article its essential character within the meaning of general rule 3 (b). The textile component is merely a cover that protects and keeps the essential component in place. The article is therefore to be classified according to its constituent material under CN code 3926 90 97 as ‘other articles of plastics’.

Contact details

Tariff Classification
Customs Directorate
10th Floor South East
Alexander House
21 Victoria Avenue
Southend-on-Sea
Essex
SS99 1AA

Email: tariff.classification@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

This regulation shall enter into force on the 20th day following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

It is not considered a change in UK practice.

This tariff notice is published for information purposes only.

Published 14 May 2018