Medicinal Equipment and Supplies –
Zero rate VAT relief guidance For help/advice on VAT
please email Corporate Accounting
on [email protected]
Room 253, Northcote House
VAT is not payable on zero-rated supplies, and an invoice for a zero-rated supply will not constitute a VAT invoice.
There are certain instances where medical equipment and supplies can be zero-rated for VAT purposes when bought by a
charitable organisation such as the University. In these instances a certificate should be obtained from the Corporate
Accounting team to declare its eligibility for relief. This certificate should then be provided to the supplier at the point of
purchase so that they know to class VAT as zero rated on the invoice.
The zero rating relief covers the following equipment only when purchased mainly for medical or veterinary research,
training, diagnosis or treatment:
o medical equipment;
o scientific equipment;
o computer equipment and certain software;
o video equipment;
o sterilising equipment;
o laboratory equipment;
o refrigeration equipment;
o Parts and accessories for use in or with any of the above equipment
o the repair and maintenance of qualifying goods.
Equipment is articles designed or used for a specific purpose. It will usually be durable, although certain disposable items, such
as syringes that are designed to be used once only, may still be equipment.
The following items are not equipment and do not qualify for zero-rating, even when supplied to, or for donation to, an eligible
body:
 bulk materials such as liquids, powders, sheets, pellets, granules;
 clothing (other than specialist medical equipment such as surgical masks, gowns and gloves); and
 consumables such as chemical reagents, fuel, ink, medicines, oil, paper, and cleaning and sterilising fluids. However,
medicines and chemical reagents may qualify for zero-rating under a separate relief when supplied to certain charities
(see below). Further information can be found in Notice 701/1 Charities.
Medical equipment is equipment that has features or characteristics that identify it as having been designed for a medical
(including dental) purpose or function, such as the diagnosis or treatment of patients.
This covers a wide range of goods, from simple items like bandages and tongue depressors, to complex machinery such as x-ray
machines and scanners.
General use items used to equip a medical facility, such as a television purchased for use in a hospital ward, are not medical
equipment.
Scientific equipment is equipment designed to perform a scientific function. This includes precision measuring equipment and
analytical equipment such as thermometers, weighing machines and spectrometers.
Equipment that is not designed to perform a scientific function, but merely works on a scientific principle, is not scientific
equipment.
As well as medical equipment there are also reliefs available for medical substances and medicinal products:
Note 1: A charity engaged in medical or veterinary research can purchase substances directly used for testing, or for mixing
with other substances in the course of that research, at the zero rate. A ‘substance’ can be natural or artificial, and can be in
solid or liquid form or in the form of a gas or vapour. If the substance is purchased in the form of gas the zero-rating will also
apply to the cylinder rental.
March 2013
Page 1 of 4
Note 2: A charity engaged in the treatment or care of people or animals, or in medical or veterinary research, can purchase
medicinal products at the zero rate.
A ‘medicinal product’ is a substance presented as a medicine, or an ingredient for a medicine, capable of being administered to
people or animals for a medicinal purpose. The zero rate covers medicinal products purchased by a charity for the purpose of
testing the efficiency of those products.
‘Medicinal purpose’ means:
 treating or preventing disease;
 diagnosing disease, or ascertaining the existence or degree of a physiological condition;
 contraception;
 inducing anaesthesia;
 otherwise preventing or interfering with the normal operation of a physiological function, whether permanently or
temporarily, and whether by terminating, reducing or postponing, or increasing or accelerating the operation of that
function, or in any other way.
Checklist:
A brief checklist of allowable and unallowable items is included below, if the item is not included below, please do not hesitate
to contact the Corporate Accounting team for advice:
Eligible
for relief
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
See note
1
X
X
March 2013
Page 2 of 4
Goods
Air conditioners
Alarms, security or smoke
Alarm bracelets
Anaesthetic apparatus
Aprons, lead lined for x-ray protection
Aprons, other
Artificial limbs
Autoclaves
Bandages
Barometers
Bedpans
Bedpan washers, with sterilising steam cycle
Bedpan washers, other
Beds, highly specialised e.g. net suspension or medical
water beds
Beds, hospital - with tilting action or variable height
features
Blankets
Bunsen burners
Cameras, still
Cameras, video
Catering equipment
Catheters
Centrifuges
Chemicals
Clamps - medical
Cleaning equipment
Closed circuit television systems
Commode chairs
Computer disks and tapes
Computer keyboards
Computer mouse
Computer printers
Computer screens
Eligible for relief as:
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Goods for use of disabled person
Sterilising equipment
Medical equipment
Scientific equipment
Medical equipment
Sterilising equipment
Medical equipment
Goods for use of disabled person
Laboratory equipment
Video equipment
Medical equipment
Scientific or laboratory equipment
Medical equipment
Goods for use of disabled person
Accessory to computer equipment
Computer equipment
Accessory to computer equipment
Accessory to computer equipment
Accessory to computer equipment
Eligible
for relief
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
See note
2
X
X
X
X
X
March 2013
Page 3 of 4
Goods
Computer screen filters
Computer server
Computer stationery
Cotton wool
Curtains
Deep freezers
Dental chairs
Dental drills
Dental mirrors
Dental spittoons
Disinfectants
DNA sequencing
DNA primers
Drip poles
Drugs trolleys
Endoscopes
Electro-cardiographs
Eye test charts
Examination couches, adjustable
First aid kits - supplied as pre-packaged units
Forceps
Fuel
Fume cupboards
Gloves, surgical
Gloves, other
Gymnasium equipment
Hearing aids
Heart pacemakers
Hoists and patient lifting devices
Hypodermic needles
Ice making machines
Identification bracelets for patients
Kidney bowls
Laboratory animals
Laboratory benches
Laboratory glassware
Lockers
Mattresses, specially designed for the relief/prevention
of pressure sores
Medicine measures, graduated
Medicinal products
Microscopes
Nurse call systems
Occupational therapy materials
Operating lights
Overbed tables
Overhead projecting units
Pagers
Patient trolleys and stretchers
Physiotherapy equipment, specialised - other than
gymnasium equipment
Eligible for relief as:
Accessory to computer equipment
Computer equipment
Refrigeration equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Laboratory equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment or goods for
use disabled person
Goods for use disabled perso
Medical equipment
Refrigeration equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Laboratory equipment
Laboratory equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Scientific or laboratory equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Eligible
for relief
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Goods
Pillows, orthopaedic, specially designed and used for
neck or spinal injuries
Pillows, other
Pipettes
Radiography equipment
Renal dialysis units
Resuscitation equipment
Resuscitation dummies
Scalpels
Screens
Sphygmomanometers
Splints
Stationery
Sterilising solutions
Stethoscopes
Surgical gloves
Surgical gowns
Surgical masks
Suture needles
Swabs
Tape recorders
Television sets
Test tubes
Thermometers, clinical
Thermometers, other
Tongue depressors
Towels
Uniforms
Video cameras
Video tapes
Video players
Video monitors
Waste disposal bags, boxes, jars and sacks
Waste disposal machinery
Weighing machines
Wheelchairs
Wound dressings
X-ray films/plates
X-ray machines - medical
X-ray machines - other
X-ray viewers
Further information can be obtained from:
HM Customs & Excise website: www.hmrc.gov.uk
Notice 700 - The VAT Guide, All sections
March 2013
Page 4 of 4
Eligible for relief as:
Medical equipment
Laboratory equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment or goods for
use of disabled person
Medical equipment
Resuscitation training model
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Laboratory equipment
Medical equipment
Scientific equipment
Medical equipment
Video equipment
Video equipment
Video equipment
Video equipment
Scientific equipment
Goods for use of disabled person
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Medical equipment
Scientific equipment
Medical equipment
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Guidance on zero-rate VAT relief