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HMRC internal manual

VAT Protective Equipment

Protective equipment: Protective boots and helmets for industrial use: Origins of the relief

Under Purchase Tax, relief existed for certain types of protective boots and helmets. These reliefs were defined by the occupation of the wearer, for example miners or quarrymen. Protective boots and helmets were standard-rated from 1 April 1973 to 31 May 1974.

VAT zero-rating was introduced with effect from 1 June 1974 but it was felt to be impractical to limit the relief by occupation. Instead, the law was simply worded protective boots and helmets for industrial use. However, the accompanying notes indicated that the boots or helmets must bear the ‘kitemark’ of the British Standards Institution. These ‘BS’ numbers related to boots or helmets designed for heavy industrial activity.