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HMRC internal manual

VAT Relief for Disabled People Manual

Goods supplied for the use of disabled people [item 2]: exceptions to 'domestic and personal' use

An important precondition for relief in item 2 of Group 12 is that the goods must be supplied (or made available by an eligible charity) for a disabled person’s domestic or personal use.

Domestic or personal use

This term was considered in the Tribunal case Portland College (9815) where ‘domestic or personal use’ means that:

“the user must be a specific person or persons to have the use of what was supplied”. It did not extend to “all persons who care to use the equipment even if all such users are handicapped”.

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General use

An item of equipment, such as a stair lift, installed or made available in a public building, such as a museum, for the use or convenience of all disabled persons who might be using the building, would not qualify for relief under Item 2 of Group 12, because the charity is making an asset available in a public, non-domestic building for the general use of those who might need it.

However, we may consider a stair lift provided in a non-domestic building by a charity to be for personal use if the lift is restricted and made available only to disabled people in the building. For example, allowing only a key holder to operate the lift may allow personal use by specific people.

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Business use

The phrase ‘domestic or personal use’ also precludes business use. This means that if, for example, a self-employed blind person purchases a Braille embosser for a computer which he uses in his business, then that purchase cannot be zero-rated.