Do I have to pay VAT on items I buy if I'm blind or partially sighted?

For most of the items that you buy in your day to day life, yes, you will have to pay VAT on them.

However, if the item has been specifically designed for disabled people then you should be able to buy it without paying VAT.

VAT exemption is not just for people with sight loss; if you have any qualifying disability or long-term illness you won’t be charged VAT on products designed or adapted for your own personal use. For VAT exemption purposes, you’re disabled or have a long-term illness if:

  • you have a physical or mental impairment that affects your ability to carry out everyday activities, eg blindness
  • you have a condition that’s treated as chronic sickness, like diabetes
  • you’re terminally ill.

For some suppliers, such as RNIB, buying products without VAT is straightforward and we will quote prices with and without VAT for relevant items in our catalogues and on our online shop. For other suppliers, you will need to check with them first and you may need to fill out an exemption form that enables the supplier to sell you the item without charging VAT.

For further information, you can download the two factsheets we have produced:

You can also download a template of a declaration form which can be filled in and sent to a retailer when purchasing an eligible product:

Read more about tax allowances and exemptions that you could be entitled to.

For further information and advice please contact our Helpline on:


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