The Government has announced a change to UK VAT law to introduce a temporary VAT zero rate which comes into effect from 1 May to 31 July 2020. This is for the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), recommended for use in connection with protection from infection with coronavirus in guidance published by Public Health England. These changes apply to the whole of the UK.
Under current UK VAT law, the standard rate of VAT (20%) applies to the sale of PPE. However, the EU Commission has recently indicated support for temporary VAT reliefs (including zero-rates) directly linked to the efforts being undertaken to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. This means the UK now has more scope to review the VAT treatment of these supplies.
The temporary VAT zero rate will apply to all supplies of PPE which are made between 1 May and 31 July 2020 and which are recommended for use by Public Health England in its guidance dated 24 April 2020 titled ‘Guidance, COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)’. This includes supplies made from existing stock.
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 temporary zero rate will be introduced via a new Group 20 to Schedule 8 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994. This measure will take effect from 1 May, for three months, until 31 July. It is intended that the negative procedure statutory instrument will be laid before Parliament on 30 April.