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

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 and you have a qualifying disability or long term illness then you should be able to buy the item without paying VAT.

You can qualify for VAT exemption if:

  • you have a physical or mental impairment that affects your ability to carry out everyday activities, eg blindness
  • you have a condition that's treated as chronic sickness, like diabetes
  • you're terminally ill.

For some companies, such as RNIB, buying products without paying VAT is straightforward, 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 it's a good idea to check with them before making your purchase. If the company do not have their own form you can download a template from the HMRC website (they can also provide accessible versions on request).

Further information, on tax advice and VAT can be found on RNIB's Tax advice webpage.

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