Vat exemption on bras

I had a mastectomy in 2001, reconstruction in 2006 and wear a small prosthesis to balance up a bit. I got fitted for a bra at the local department store today, and when I asked for a VAT exemption form, they looked confused.
I’m sure that on previous visits they had filled in a form and deducted the VAT at the till.
I wonder if the law has changed a little, as the bra I was fitted with didn’t say ‘mastectomy’ on the label, but is, of course, significantly different from (and more expensive than) one which I would choose to wear.
I didn’t find much of use on the directgov site, except something that seemed to indicate that it is the product which is zero rated, rather than the person buying it. This contradicts the pricing in Nicola Jane and Amoena catalogues, where all bras and swimsuits are Vat-free to mastectomy patients, even if they are also suitable for ‘normal’ people. (Some of them have no pockets, just relying on padding or underwiring).
The store eventually found a form for me to fill in where I had to declare my disability, but I’d like to be clear on my rights before my next purchase. Does anybody know?

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if you google
value added tax act 1994 schedule 8 group 12
i get the option of a site

this form explains it is for :
individuals with disabilities who are buying a product that has been designed for people with disabilities to claim VAT relief.

I understand this to be with bras that they will need to be marketed as post surgery or mastectomy bras, I believe Nicola Jane and Amoena market all theirs as such, but stores may not. So a bra not labelled as such whatever the price will not be VAT free.

Hope this helps can’t do the link thing as don’t know how to do perhaps someone cleverer than me can do it


Thanks bboonie, that link helped although I now feel rather guilty. Wonder if I just imagined it being available before… some of those drugs are pretty potent!

I bought 2 on tues from m/s the vat was deducted at the till and they also give a pound to breast cancer fund how gud is that

There are 2 criteria to be met for zero rating and Marian explained it quite well.
For goods to be zero rated under the relief the item must be designed for a particular disability and the person buying must be suffering from the disability the goods are designed for.

So a mastectomy bra can be zero rated but only when sold to someone who needs it.

Anyone buying a bra from Amoena or Nicola Jane who has not had surgery would not be eligible for the relief.

thanks Elaine.
Just to be clear, the ones you got from M/S were labelled ‘Mastectomy’? The one I actually bought wasn’t, so it seems the law doesn’t apply.
I was vaguely aware of the M/S donations, but the fitters in our local M/S aren’t generally as good as the ones in the department store. I was just unlucky to have someone on the till today, on her first day, poor thing, who knew less about the rules than I thought I did. After 9 years, I’m pretty cool about these things as a rule, but still don’t like having to discuss it too much at the till.