Updated HMRC guidance on zero rating for charity funded equipment for medical and veterinary uses

HMRC has published updated guidance (VAT Notice 701/6) as to what charity funded medical and veterinary equipment qualifies for VAT zero-rating.

This follows discussions with CTG and BUFDG (prompted by concerns that the guidance did not reflect all modern medical and veterinary equipment) which started in 2015 and led to HMRC endorsing an updated guidance note produced by the sector. This guidance has now been formalised.

The guidance now provides information on whether additional items are eligible for zero rating (and where relevant the context in which they used). Additions to the list  (4.11) include: specialist air control and air filtration systems; air showers; specialist animal cages; animal cage, rack and bottle washers; alcohol spray; bactericides; biocidal sprays; CD players; Computer tablets; data; digital cameras; DVD players; Howie-style lab coats; nitrile gloves; power supplies; printer cartridges; sharps bins; smartphones; sterilising wipes; syringes; and thermal imaging cameras. Please note, as this list is intended to act as guidance as to whether or not an item is eligible for zero-rating, many of the additions listed above are indeed ineligible. Please consult the table under Section 4.11 for full details.

The guidance also now contains a helpful qualifying notice emphasising that the list is not exhaustive. Given the pace of technological change, the guidance dictates that if an item does not appear on the current iteration of the list then the underlying principles set out in the Notice should be used to determine if the item is a qualifying one. The Notice concludes that in areas of doubt specialist advice should be sought.