Hearing aids may not be able to restore your hearing to normal or cure your loss of hearing, but they can significantly improve your quality of life. Despite this, many people in the UK who could benefit from wearing hearing aids, don’t. It’s often the cost of hearing aids that put people off buying them. When discussing this topic, the key point is: are hearing aids tax deductible?
UK residents are entitled to receive free NHS hearing aids on a long-term loan basis. However, there can often be a long waiting time for them and the choice is limited. This is often the reason why many hearing aid wearers choose to buy their hearing device privately.
And if you are a sole trader, you could be eligible to receive tax relief on hearing aids against your business income.
For your hearing aids and hearing aid accessories to be tax-deductible, you need to meet certain criteria. The rules state that if your hearing aids are to be used entirely for your business, you can apply for tax relief from them. This means that if you need to wear a hearing aid just for your job, for instance, you work in a noisy environment and need help to be able to hear when on the phone, but your hearing is fine in your daily life, then the cost of your hearing aid is tax-deductible.
If your business is VAT registered, you can also claim back the VAT you paid on certain hearing devices and accessories. VAT (Value Added Tax) is a tax that you pay when you buy goods and services as a consumer – the standard rate is 20%. The law states that VAT should be regarded as included in the price unless stated otherwise.
Some VAT relief is available on certain goods and services for people with disabilities. This includes certain specialist equipment such as induction loops, tinnitus maskers or TV hearing devices. However, standard hearing aids aren’t VAT free. You don’t have to receive state benefits to be considered disabled for VAT relief. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have a hearing disability and purchasing goods and services for your personal use.
HM Revenue and Customs determine what equipment people with disabilities can get VAT free and how to claim exemption from paying VAT on these items. This is set out in VAT notice 701/7 (December 2014) – VAT reliefs for disabled people.
If your hearing loss is having a significant impact on your daily life, you could be eligible to claim for certain other benefits or concessions. These include:
For more information about these concessions and any other benefits you may be entitled to, visit the carers and disability benefits section on the government’s website.
While hearing aids have the potential to significantly improve your life, they are also a significant investment. But leaving your hearing loss to continue untreated could be just as costly. If you are worried about covering the cost of your hearing aids, speak to your audiologist or hearing care professional for advice on the options available.
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