Skip to main content

The Government has announced a change to VAT law that will allow the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be zero-rated between 1 May and 31 July 2020.

Under UK VAT law, the standard rate of VAT (20%) normally applies to the sale of PPE.

However, to relieve the financial burden of VAT for COVID-19 front line workers, sales of PPE supplies will now be zero-rated.

This move should be particularly beneficial for sectors that cannot recover VAT on such goods due to their VAT exempt status, such as care homes.

Products covered by the zero rate, include:

  • disposable gloves
  • disposable plastic aprons
  • disposable fluid-resistant coveralls or gowns
  • surgical masks – including fluid-resistant type IIR surgical masks
  • filtering face piece respirators
  • eye and face protection – including single or reusable full face visors or goggles.

The new zero-rate rules also apply to supplies made from existing stock, the Government has confirmed.

The rules change is part of a decision by the EU Commission to support temporary VAT reliefs (including zero-rates) directly linked to the efforts being undertaken to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

This means the UK now has more scope to review the VAT treatment of supplies linked to COVID-19.

Julian Borley

Director of VAT, Milsted Langdon

Julian Borley is Director of VAT at independent accountancy practice Milsted Langdon. He provides high-level VAT advice on a wide range of complex issues, helping businesses with VAT efficient transactions and structures. Julian has built up an extensive technical knowledge over more than 20 years’ specialising in VAT. His specialist advice has helped businesses to successfully argue against HMRC decisions, allowing them to achieve substantial VAT savings and compensation.