Adaptations eligible for relief
E.g. hearing loops, hoists and lifters, chair and stair lifts, Braille and tactile signage, and additional low level handles and control panels for using doors, cupboards, elevators etc, on the assumption that only the disabled will use the additional controls. Adaptations to include Braille controls will also qualify.
Additional examples of equipment include the following:
- Zero-rating applies to some low vision aids including technical aids for reading and writing, which are designed exclusively for disabled persons.
- Induction loop amplifiers and loops can be zero-rated. Replacement parts and accessories designed solely to be used in the induction loop system are also zero-rated. There is no VAT relief for standard equipment such as microphones, mixers or speakers.
Zero-rating is available for existing kitchens for supplies to eligible charities of:
- equipment 'designed solely for use by a disabled person';
- the services of installing such items; and
- the services of adapting goods to suit the condition of a disabled person.
VAT should still be charged on appliances such as cookers, refrigerators, standard kitchen cabinet units and work surfaces.
Zero-rating is applicable to specially designed equipment such as cupboards which are accessible to wheelchair users.
Zero-rating applies to the supply to the University for making available to disabled persons by sale or otherwise for domestic or their personal use, of an alarm system designed to be capable of operation by a disabled person if they require immediate assistance in the case of illness, injury or similar emergency, and to enable them to alert directly a specified person or a control centre.
The alarm system must have some operational feature special to the needs of the disabled persons, such as a button that can be pressed as an emergency buzzer. It must link the disabled person to either a control centre or to other specified persons who will be able to help in the event of an emergency. The zero-rating does not extend to specialist emergency services for the general public, even if they may benefit a disabled person.
A supply of ordinary alarms, and alarms which activate lights, will not ordinarily qualify for zero-rating. However, if ordinary alarms are adapted to include lights for use specifically by deaf people, then this adaptation may qualify for zero-rating. Assuming for example, that strobe lights are installed to supplement the existing sounders, this would indicate adaptation.
Internal communications systems do not generally qualify for zero-rating. If however, a pager that has been adapted so that it alerts the disabled person when alarms ring, and other products that are specifically manufactured/adapted and marketed for the use of disabled persons, then such goods should qualify.
Where a computer system contains software which has been designed solely for the use of a specific disabled person as a tool to enable them to overcome communication problems, and is supplied to the University to make available by sale or otherwise to that person or to a specific group of disabled people for their domestic or personal use, then the software will be eligible for zero rating.
In addition, the central processor of such a computer will also qualify for zero rating if it has software installed which enables a disabled person to use the computer system or other software effectively, or to carry out tasks effectively when otherwise they could not.
It is our opinion that the definition of software as a tool to enable a disabled person to overcome communication problems has a wide meaning and includes the following items: speech synthesiser, Braille embosser, specialist software, installation and training.
Specialist suppliers will have the option of charging VAT according to the liability of the individual components or charging a composite VAT rate for the entire package based on the total VAT liability of their supplies over a given period.