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HMRC internal manual

VAT Protective Equipment

Protective equipment: Pedal cycle helmets: Origins of the relief

Young children’s cycle helmets have always been zero-rated under the general relief for young children’s clothing and footwear. Zero rating was allowed for cycle helmets which were both:

  • specifically designed and marketed for young children; and
  • had a maximum size of 59cm, when fitted with the thinnest of the lining pads provided with that helmet.

However, in order to encourage cycle use, improve road safety and correct the anomalous difference in treatment with motorcycle helmets, zero rating was introduced with effect from 1 April 2001 for all cycle helmets which met the provisions of the EC Personal Protective Equipment Directive.