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VAT relief on footwear for older people

November 21, 2018


If you have a parent or elderly relative, who is disabled or has a long-term illness, you will perhaps be aware that they are eligible for VAT relief on certain products and services they may need. Products such as adjustable beds, stair lifts and wheelchairs all qualify, as does building work that is needed to adapt their home, such as installing ramps or widening doors. However, did you know that they can also claim VAT relief on specialist footwear?

What is VAT relief?

VAT is a tax which you pay as a consumer when you buy goods and services in the UK. In the UK, the standard rate for VAT is 20%. Individuals who are chronically sick or disabled can claim VAT Relief when they buy equipment which has been designed solely for disabled people and is for their own ‘personal and domestic use’.

This means that they pay the retail price without VAT included. Put simply, VAT relief or exemption allows chronically sick or disabled people to buy eligible items at 0% VAT and so saves them money. One of the products included within this list of eligible products is specialist footwear.

What is specialist footwear?

Specialist footwear is defined as footwear that has been designed and manufactured to be worn by people who are disabled, or who have a long term illness or health condition. Footwear such as extra roomy shoes, sandals, boots and slippers that have been specifically designed to fit people with swelling in their feet and ankles, which is often caused as a result of a disability or a long term medical condition. You can also buy shoes and boots that are especially designed for women who have diabetes. These are completely seam-free and means there is nothing to rub or irritate sensitive or vulnerable feet.

How do you buy without VAT?

Zero VAT rating works by the supplier not charging you VAT when you buy something from them. For example, when you order something via our website, you waive VAT on your purchase by