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HMRC internal manual

VAT Relief for Disabled People Manual

Hearing aids and induction loop systems: cochlear implants

Cochlear implants supplied by a hospital to a patient in the course of medical care or treatment are exempt from VAT. This is on the basis that the appliance forms an integral part of the VAT exempt medical treatment. See ‘Notice 701/31 Health and care institutions’.

Medical equipment and appliances supplied to a disabled person for their domestic or personal use also qualify for relief under item 2(a) (see paragraph VRDP05100).

Domestic or personal use does not however include any use by, or in connection with, an in-patient of a hospital, clinic or similar institution. Where the cochlear implant is supplied to a clinic, or to a customer for use in the course of medical treatment or surgery, this is an onward supply by the clinic to their patient.

The supply of a cochlear implant to a patient in the course of medical treatment is either:

  • non-business activity when provided by the NHS; or
  • VAT exempt when provided by private health providers.