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HMRC internal manual

VAT Charities

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Ambulance services

What is an air ambulance?
What is the VAT treatment for the supply of an air ambulance?
What is an “eligible body”?
What are “charitable funds” or “voluntary contributions”?
What about supplies of air ambulances to commercial organisations?
What about repairs and maintenance?

What is an air ambulance?

An air ambulance is a specially adapted helicopter or plane that meets all of the following conditions:

  • The front and sides bear permanently fitted signs indicating that the vehicle is an ambulance;
  • There is adequate door space for the loading of a patient on a stretcher;
  • There is seating to the rear of the pilot for at least one attendant; and
  • One or more stretchers that, with handles extended, measure at least 1.95 metres. Together with permanent fittings to hold stretchers in position.

Air ambulances are normally fitted out with other specialist equipment such as defibrillators and piping for oxygen.

What is the VAT treatment for the supply of an air ambulance?

The supply of an air ambulance with pilot can be treated as a single supply of “relevant goods” and zero-rated under Item 5, Group 15, Schedule 8 as long as:

  • The supply is being made to an eligible body; and
  • The supply is being paid for using charitable or voluntary contributions.

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What is an “eligible body”?

Legal Note 4 to Group 15 of Schedule 8 defines “eligible body”. Eligible bodies include:

  • NHS Trusts;
  • Primary Care Trusts;
  • hospitals whose activities are not carried on for profit; and
  • charities providing first aid and rescue services.

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What are “charitable funds” or “voluntary contributions”?

Full payment for the supply should be made directly by a charity or from voluntary contributions (such as donations from the general public).

The charity which pays for the supply does not have to be an “eligible body”.

NHS funds are NOT “charitable funds”.

A supply that is only part funded by charitable funds or voluntary contributions will not qualify for relief.

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What about supplies of air ambulances to commercial organisations?

These are standard-rated, and include supplies of an air ambulance to a charity’s trading subsidiary.

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What about repairs and maintenance?

Supplies of repair and maintenance of “relevant goods” are zero-rated under Item 6, Group 15, Schedule 8.