Do I have to pay VAT on items I buy if I'm blind or partially sighted?

Yes you will have to pay VAT for most of the day to day items you buy. However, if the item has been specifically designed for people with a disability, then you should be able to buy it without paying VAT. 

The items must be for your own private use rather than business use. So, for example, you shouldn’t pay VAT on:

  • white canes
  • CCTV reading aids
  • braille display units
  • braille embossers
  • specialist mobile phones
  • DAISY audio players
  • screen reading and magnification software for computers.

For some companies, such as RNIB, buying products without paying VAT is straight forward, as they will quote prices with and without VAT for relevant items.

However, some companies may require you to fill out an exemption form that enables them to sell you an item without charging VAT, so you might want to check with them before making your purchase.

Further information, on tax advice and VAT can be found on RNIB's tax allowances and exemptions web page.

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