Zero-rate VAT on PPE for six months

3rd July 2020

The Treasury has announced a temporary suspension of VAT on the sale of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the period 1 May 2020 to 31 July 2020.

On 3 July 2020, it was further announced that the temporary scrapping of VAT on PPE has been extended until the end of October.

The three-month zero-rating of VAT will apply to all PPE as defined by Public Health England guidance.

This will include the following (which doesn’t seem to include basic face masks):

•    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

This will apply to all purchases by individuals, care homes and other organisations unable to reclaim VAT and will reduce their costs by 20% and comes on top of the removal of import duties on PPE.

Ordinarily, the government would not be able to suspend VAT in this way as VAT is governed by EU law, at least until Brexit on 1 January 2021.

However, the European Commission recently indicated support for member states to introduce temporary VAT reliefs to mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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