VAT Relief for motor vehicles for people with disabilities
In 2001 the law changed to allow certain adapted vehicles to be purchased at "Zero-rate" VAT. So how does this apply?
A wheelchair user: Anyone who permanently uses a wheelchair (electrically powered or otherwise) in order to be mobile. In this context a mobility scooter is not recognised as a wheelchair and therefore is not eligible for VAT relief. However, owners who also use wheelchairs can sometimes qualify.
A person with a degenerative condition, such as multiple sclerosis, who only uses a wheelchair as and when required.
A stretcher user
What vehicles qualify?
To qualify the vehicle must:
Be designed or adapted for carriage of a wheelchair/stretcher user.
Have a carrying capacity of less than 12 people.
Be supplied to a wheelchair/stretcher user for personal use.
The individual does not need to remain in the wheelchair during a journey.
What adaptations are required?
A vehicle that is adapted will qualify if adaptations are permanent and they:
Allow the wheelchair/stretcher user to enter, leave and travel in the vehicle in the wheelchair or on the stretcher.
Enable a wheelchair/stretcher user you drive the vehicle.
Allow a wheelchair to be carried within the vehicle.
While not an exhaustive list the following are adaptations which allow wheelchair users to enter, drive or travel in qualifying vehicles:
A swivel seat
A hoist to lift a wheelchair into or out of a vehicle
Adaptations, which enable a wheelchair user to drive the vehicle, such as a push/pull brake and accelerator or other aids operating the primary driving controls
Infrared control unit that operate the secondary controls
To be regarded as permanent, adaptation should generally be welded or bolted onto the vehicle.
Examples of adaptations that do not make the vehicle eligible for VAT relief are:
A roof rack
What is personal use?
To qualify the vehicle must be for personal use and not for commercial or business purposes.
Vehicles purchased at zero rate may be used in a work capacity as long as this is incidental to their main use as a private vehicle. VAT relief is not available for vehicles used solely for business purposes.
The adaptations must be done before the vehicle is supplied to the customer, and is charged on the same invoice.
Previously, unless the driver/passenger travelled in their wheelchair/stretcher, the owner would have bought the vehicle and then had it adapted. This will now not apply.
Ideally it would be beneficial to make purchase arrangements with an adaptation company, which has the ability to make the arrangements for the customer to obtain VAT relief.