Commentary

RCB/6/07 VAT—changes to the exemption for medical services from 1 May 2007

Part V16 Forms and other HMRC material

RCB/6/07 VAT—changes to the exemption for medical services from 1 May 2007

RCB/6/07 VAT—changes to the exemption for medical services from 1 May 2007

Revenue & Customs Brief, Issue 6. 30 January 2007

This Revenue & Customs Brief announces the implementation of changes to the exemption from VAT for medical services, following the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision in the case of Dr Peter d'Ambrumenil and Dispute Resolution Services (C-307/01). It follows on from earlier Business Briefs 29/03, 18/05 and 04/06.

The changes will take effect from 1 May 2007 subject to House of Commons approval. They affect certain services provided by health professionals registered on a statutory professional register who are registered for VAT. They will not impact on primary health care and core NHS services, which will remain free from VAT.

Background

The ECJ decision concerned the VAT exemption for health services provided by health professionals registered on a statutory professional register. The court held that this exemption is restricted to “medical care”, which it defined as those services intended principally to protect (including maintain or restore) the health of an individual. Medical services which are primarily for the purpose of enabling a third party to take a decision, many of which are currently exempt from VAT under UK law, are taxable. This means that VAT liability is dependent on the purpose for which the supply is made – referred to as the “purpose test”.

Business Brief 18/05 (BB/18A/05, Division V16.3) issued on 16 September 2005 announced a three-month consultation entitled “VAT: A review of the scope of the VAT exemption for medical services”.

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