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HMRC internal manual

VAT Relief for Disabled People Manual

Building alterations [items 8 to 13]: building alterations to bathrooms, washrooms, or lavatories in a disabled person’s private residence [item 10]

For zero-rating under item 10 to apply:

  • the supply must be to a disabled person (see VRDP11200);
  • the work must be carried out in that disabled person’s private residence (see VRDP11250);
  • the work must be necessary by reason of the disabled person’s condition; and
  • the work must qualify (see VRDP11050).

The principles were demonstrated in the Tribunal case of Mrs Linda Jean Brailsford (13472), which addressed the liability of goods and services involved in the provision of a dialysis room to house renal haemodialysis equipment. The Commissioners accepted that the supply of the renal haemodialysis equipment itself and of the services necessarily performed in its installation and operation qualified for zero-rating. Thus, only the tax on the supply of goods and services involved in the provision of the dialysis room was in dispute.

The Commissioners contended that the part of the extension to the house of Mr and Mrs Brailsford which constituted the dialysis room was not a ‘bathroom, washroom or lavatory’ and so did not qualify for relief under item 10 of Group 12. The Tribunal agreed and concluded:

“If the supplies of goods and services relating to the provision of the dialysis room within the extension to the house are to be zero-rated, they must fall within the term `bathroom, washroom, or lavatory` in item 10 of Group 12. None of those three words is statutorily defined, so that I must decide what each means. A `lavatory` is, in my opinion, a room in which is to be found a water closet, either alone or with some washing facilities. A `bathroom` is a room containing a bath and/or a shower. `Washroom` I take to mean a room containing personal washing facilities other than a bath and/or a shower….

Giving the words contained in the term `bathroom, washroom or lavatory` their ordinary meanings, I find myself unable to extend the meaning either of the entire term or of any of any one of its constituent parts to include a room containing a renal haemodialysis unit in isolation from washing facilities or a water closet; and there is nothing within item 10 itself which would permit me to extend the meaning”.