V16.849 Charities—liability of routine domestic tasks
VAT Information Sheet 6/99, March 1999
This Information Sheet provides guidance on—
— the liability of routine domestic tasks provided by charities (or public bodies) on a not-for-profit basis; and
— the conditions which must be met to qualify for exemption.
“Welfare services” includes “the provision of care … designed to promote the physical or mental welfare of elderly, sick, distressed or disabled persons”. Before the 1998 VAT tribunal decision in Watford Help in the Home Service [Watford and District Old People's Housing Association Ltd v C & E Comrs (1998) VAT Decision 15660 unreported (Part V8)], Customs took the view that “care” meant “personal care”, that is, services such as bathing, feeding or dressing a patient. This view was based on a much earlier tribunal decision in Crothall & Company [ VATTR 20].
We excluded domestic help services, such as cooking or cleaning, from exemption because they were not in themselves “care” services.
2 Watford Help in the Home Service tribunal decision
In the Watford Help in the Home case the charity was providing an average of two hours domestic home help per week to over 200 clients. The services to 90 clients were provided under a contract with social services. The rest of the clients received supplies direct from the charity, although some had been referred to the charity by social services. The tribunal explained that social services' clients were classified as having needs in bands 1 or 2, which essentially covered severely disabled people who