VAT for builders

3. Work for disabled people

You may not have to charge VAT on alterations you make to a disabled person’s home, or certain equipment you supply for their personal use.

Who qualifies as ‘disabled’

To be zero-rated for VAT, the work you’re doing needs to be for someone with a:

  • physical or mental impairment that has a major long-term effect on their ability to do everyday activities
  • condition that the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness (eg diabetes)
  • terminal illness

Someone who’s temporarily disabled or incapacitated, or elderly and frail but not disabled, doesn’t qualify. However, you may be able to charge reduced-rate VAT at 5% on mobility aids, heating and security work for people over 60.

Alterations

Work on a disabled person’s home that can be zero-rated includes:

  • building a ramp
  • widening (but not building) a doorway or passage
  • installing, extending or adapting a bathroom, washroom or lavatory to suit their condition
  • installing, repairing or maintaining a lift used to help them move between floors
  • preparation and restoration of the immediately surrounding decor

Find out more about alterations that can be zero-rated for VAT.

Equipment designed for disabled people

You don’t have to charge VAT if you supply, install, repair, maintain or adapt certain equipment specifically designed for disabled people if it’s for personal use in their home. This includes:

  • adjustable beds
  • hoists
  • chair and stair lifts
  • sanitary devices
  • alarms
  • parts and accessories for qualifying equipment
  • the cost of adapting something for a disabled person

Find out more about zero-rated goods and services for disabled people.

There are different rules for equipment paid for or arranged by the NHS or any other hospital or nursing home.

Evidence of eligibility

You’re responsible for making sure that your customer is eligible for zero-rate VAT, and you should be able to prove this from your records.

You can do this by getting your disabled customers (or a parent, guardian, doctor or another responsible person if they’re not able) to sign a declaration containing information that shows they’re eligible.

A declaration must be separate (or clearly different) from any order form or invoice for goods or services.