Produced by Tolley

The following Value Added Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Doctors
  • Supplies of health and welfare
  • Exempt medical services
  • VAT liability of specific services
  • Laboratory pathology services
  • Clinical trials
  • Access to medical records
  • Certificates and reports
  • Psychologists’ services
  • Cosmetic services
  • More...


Supplies of health and welfare

Generally speaking, supplies of services consisting of medical care or health supplies are exempt from VAT. As a result, no VAT is charged on the services provided, but no input tax can be reclaimed on costs associated with the provision of these services. Normally only supplies made by registered health professionals can be exempt from VAT. A ‘health professional’ is anyone who is registered or enrolled as any of the following:

  1. medical practitioner

  2. optometrist or dispensing optician (see the Opticians guidance note)

  3. professional registered under the Health Professions Order 2001. These professionals include arts therapists, biomedical scientists, chiropodists, clinical scientists, dieticians, hearing aid dispensers, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, paramedics, podiatrists, physiotherapists, practitioner psychologists, prosthetists, radiographers, and speech and language therapists (will also include any medical care professionals added to the Order at a future date)

  4. osteopath

  5. chiropractor

  6. nurse, midwife or health visitor

  7. hearing aid dispenser

  8. dentist, dental hygienist, dental therapist, dental nurse, clinical dental technician, dental technician and an orthodontic therapist

  9. pharmacist (see the Pharmacists guidance note)

VATA 1994, Sch 9, Group 7, Item 1(a); SI 2006/1914; SI 2007/206; 2006/112/EC, Article 132(1)(b), (c), (e); De Voil Indirect Tax Service V6.204, V4.146; Notice 701/57; VATHLT2030

This means that therapists such as acupuncturists, psychologists, hypnotherapists and others who do not have statutory registers, will make supplies that are liable to VAT at the standard rate. However, psychiatrists are qualified medical practitioners and their services are therefore exempt from VAT.

Exempt medical services

If a person is included in one of health professionals listed above, then the person’s services will be exempt from VAT when the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. 1)

    the services are within the profession that the person is registered to practice, and

  2. 2)

    the primary purpose of the services undertaken is the protection, maintenance or restoration of the health of the person concerned

From a VAT perspective, ‘medical services’ are restricted to the services included in (2) above and this includes diagnosis of illnesses, providing

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