Protective equipment

HMRC Reference:Notice 701/23 (May 2011) View Change History
 

Contents

Foreword

1.Introduction

1.What is this notice about?

1.2 Who should read this notice?

1.3 What has changed?

1.4 What law covers this notice?

2.Protective boots and helmets for industrial use

2.1 How do protective boots and helmets qualify for zero-rating?

2.2 What is the difference between a shoe and a boot?

2.3 What are the European and British standards?

2.4 How will they be marked?

2.5 Are there any alternative standards?

2.6 What does ‘industrial use’ mean?

2.7 Who is the supply being made to?

2.8 Are accessories zero-rated?

3.Motorcycle helmets

3.1 How do motorcycle helmets qualify for zero-rating?

3.2 Are there any alternative standards?

3.3 Are accessories zero-rated?

4.Pedal cycle helmets

4.1 How do pedal cycle helmets qualify for zero-rating?

4.2 What are the European and British manufacturing standards?

4.3 How will they be marked?

4.4 Are there any alternative standards?

4.5 Are accessories zero-rated?

5.Children’s car seats and travel systems

5.1 What children’s car seats are reduced-rated?

5.2 Are carrycots with restraint straps reduced-rated?

5.3 When are children’s travel systems reduced-rated?

5.4 Is the reduced rate tied to any manufacturing standards?

5.5 How are vehicles with a fitted children’s car seat treated?

Your rights and obligations

Do you have any comments or suggestions?

Putting things right

How we use your information

 

Foreword

This notice cancels and replaces the March 2002 edition of Notice 701/23. Details of any changes to the previous versions can be found in paragraph 1.3 of this notice.

1.Introduction

1.What is this notice about?

This notice explains when:

  • protective boots and helmets for industrial use are zero-rated – see section 2;
  • motorcycle helmets are zero-rated – see section 3;
  • pedal cycle helmets are zero-rated – see section 4, and;
  • children’s car seats and travel systems are reduced-rated at a rate of 5% VAT – see section 5.

This notice and others mentioned are available on our Internet website at www.hmrc.gov.uk.

1.1.1 Is any other protective equipment reduced or zero-rated?

Not specifically. However certain protective clothing, headgear and footwear for young children may be zero-rated as young children’s clothing and footwear. Further information is in Notice 714 Zero rating young children’s clothing and footwear.

1.2 Who should read this notice?

You should read this notice if you are a:

  • manufacturer;
  • wholesaler;
  • retailer, or;
  • importer.

of the products listed in paragraph 1.1.

1.3 What has changed?

This notice has been updated to reflect the formation of HRMC.

Other main changes are:

  • section 2.5 which reflects the updating of standards and
  • section 5 which reflects developments in children's car seats and "lie-flat" travel systems.

1.4 What law covers this notice?

The VAT Act 1994, section 30 holds that goods and services specified in Schedule 8 to the Act are zero-rated. Schedule 8, Group 16 (as amended by SI 2000/1517 and SI 2001/732) specifies when protective boots and helmets are zero-rated.

The VAT Act 1994, section 29A (as inserted by the Finance Act 2001) holds that goods and services specified in Schedule 7A to the Act are reduced-rated. Schedule 7A, Group 5 specifies when children’s car seats are reduced-rated.

2.Protective boots and helmets for industrial use

2.1 How do protective boots and helmets qualify for zero-rating?

They are zero-rated when all the following conditions are met:

Condition


Description


Further information


1


The articles must be boots or helmets


paragraph 2.2


2


They must be manufactured to the appropriate European or British standard


paragraphs 2.3 to 2.5


3


They must bear a mark indicating conformity with those standards


paragraphs 2.3 to 2.5


4


They must be for industrial use


paragraph 2.6


5


They must not be supplied to persons for use by their employees


paragraph 2.7


Paragraph 2.8 explains when accessories are zero-rated.

2.2 What is the difference between a shoe and a boot?

The British Standards Institution defines a boot as having a minimum leg height of 90mm measured vertically from the insole at the back. The European Standard gives the minimum height of the upper (measured vertically from the insole at the back) of 103mm for a size 36 (UK 3) and below, through to a minimum height of the upper of 121mm for a size 45 (UK 11) and above.

Protective shoes that fall outside these specifications are not eligible for zero-rating, even if they meet the remaining requirements.

2.3 What are the European and British standards?

The protective boots and helmets must be manufactured to the standards:

  • imposed by the European Community Directive on Personal Protective Equipment (the PPE Directive); or
  • approved by the British Standards Institution.

The relevant harmonised European standards (ENs) and British Standards (BSs) are:

Description


Harmonised European standards (ENs) and British Standards (BSs)


Boots


EN 345:1992 and BS EN 345:1993 - Safety footwear for professional use.


EN 346:1992 and BS EN 346:1993 - Protective footwear for professional use.


BS 4676:1983 - Gaiters and footwear for protection against burns and impact risks in foundries.


BS 1870: Part 1:1988 - Safety footwear other than all-rubber and all-plastics moulded types.


BS 1870: Part 2:1976 - Safety footwear - lined rubber boots.


BS 1870: Part 3:1981 - Safety footwear - polyvinyl chloride moulded safety footwear.


Helmets


EN 397:1995 and BS EN 397:1995 - Industrial safety helmets.


EN 812:1997 and BS EN 812: 1998 - Industrial bump caps.


BS 4033:1966 - Industrial scalp protectors.


BS 5340:1975 - General purpose industrial safety helmets.


2.4 How will they be marked?

Amongst the markings on them will be one of the above EN or BS numbers and the European Community ‘CE’ mark and/or the British Standard ‘kitemark’. The ‘CE’ mark indicates conformity with the PPE Directive.

The EN for boots and helmets sourced in other EC countries may be prefixed by another country code such as ‘NF’ for a French manufactured product, or ‘DS’ for one of Danish manufacture.

2.5 Are there any alternative standards?

The VAT Act lists the current standards to which boots and helmets must conform to qualify for zero-rating. It also indicates that the scope of the zero rate will depend on any future amendments to those standards.

In some instances, particular boots and helmets may have been manufactured to a different specification to those laid down in the harmonised European Standards. These alternative specifications must satisfy the requirements of the PPE Directive and be approved by a ‘notified body’, which in turn has been approved and appointed by the authorities of an EC country. These boots and helmets will still carry the ‘CE’ mark, but also the notified body number.

2.6 What does ‘industrial use’ mean?

This has its ordinary and everyday meaning. Boots and helmets that meet all the other conditions for zero-rating but are not for industrial use, such as motorcycle boots, are standard-rated.

2.7 Who is the supply being made to?

You cannot zero-rate supplies of protective boots or helmets to an employer for the use by their employees. Supplies from a manufacturer to a wholesaler who in turn supplies them to a retailer can be zero-rated subject to the conditions set out earlier in this notice. Supplies from an employer to an employee can also be zero-rated, subject to the conditions set out earlier in this notice.

Before you zero-rate any supply you should…


By asking yourself does the…


establish your customer is not an employer purchasing boots or helmets for use by employees


- customer’s trading style suggest that the customer is an employer;


- quantity ordered suggest a bulk purchase by an employer for the use of employees;


- nature of the contract indicates a trade order - such as a number of pairs of boots paid for by one customer for delivery to individuals.


2.8 Are accessories zero-rated?

If you fit accessories such as visors or ear protectors as an integral part of a qualifying helmet, you can zero-rate the supply of the complete helmet. But accessories supplied on their own are standard-rated.

3.Motorcycle helmets

3.1 How do motorcycle helmets qualify for zero-rating?

They are zero-rated when they comply with one of the following standards:

  • British Standard (BS) 6658:1985 (it will be marked with a British Standard 'kitemark'); or
  • UNECE Regulation 22.05 (it will be marked with a UN 'E' mark - the first two digits of the approval number will be '05').

However, BS 6658:1985 covers protective helmets for all vehicles. Helmets that comply with that standard which are not motorcycle helmets are standard-rated.

3.2 Are there any alternative standards?

Helmets may also be zero-rated if they comply with a European Standard which offers a level of protection which is equivalent to (that is the same as, or better than) BS 6658:1985 and are marked with a certification mark which is equivalent to the British Standard 'kitemark'. However, at the time of writing, we are not aware of any such standard or certification mark.

For the avoidance of doubt, UNECE Regulation 22.04 is not equivalent to the British Standard.

3.3 Are accessories zero-rated?

If you fit accessories such as visors, ear protectors or communication systems as an integral part of a qualifying helmet, you can zero-rate the supply of the complete helmet. But accessories supplied on their own are standard-rated.

4.Pedal cycle helmets

4.1 How do pedal cycle helmets qualify for zero-rating?

They are zero-rated when both of the following conditions are met:

Condition


Description


1


The cycle helmet is manufactured to standards which satisfy requirements imposed by the European Community Directive on Personal Protective Equipment (the PPE Directive)


2


It bears a mark indicating conformity with those standards.


4.2 What are the European and British manufacturing standards?

The harmonised European standard is EN 1078:1997. The British Standards Institution has adopted this as BS EN 1078:1997.

4.3 How will they be marked?

Amongst the markings on the helmet will be the EN number and the European Community ‘CE’ mark.

The EN for helmets sourced in other EC countries may be prefixed by another country code such as ‘NF’ for a French manufactured product, or ‘DS’ for one of Danish manufacture.

4.4 Are there any alternative standards?

Some cycle helmets will have been manufactured to a different specification to the one laid down by the harmonised European Standard. These alternative specifications must satisfy the requirements of the PPE Directive and be approved by a ‘notified body’, which in turn has been approved and appointed by the authorities of an EC country.

These helmets will still carry the ‘CE’ mark, but also the notified body number. An example of an approved alternative standard is ‘Snell B95’.

4.5 Are accessories zero-rated?

If you fit accessories such as visors or ear protectors as an integral part of a qualifying helmet, you can zero-rate the supply of the complete helmet. But accessories supplied on their own are standard-rated.

5.Children’s car seats and travel systems

5.1 What children’s car seats are reduced-rated?

The following products are ‘children’s car seats’ and are reduced-rated at a rate of 5% VAT


Description


Safety seats


A safety seat is a seat designed:


(a) to be sat in by a child in a road vehicle;


(b) so that, when in use in a road vehicle, it can be restrained:


  • by a seat belt fitted in the vehicle;
  • by belts, or anchorages, that form part of the seat being attached to the vehicle; or
  • in either of those ways; and

(c) incorporating an integral harness, or integral impact shield, for restraining a child seated in it.


Booster seats


A booster seat is a seat designed:


(a) to be sat in by a child in a road vehicle; and


(b) so that, when in use in a road vehicle, it and a child seated in it can be restrained by a seat belt fitted in the vehicle.


Booster cushions


A booster cushion is a cushion designed:


(a) to be sat on by a child in a road vehicle; and


(b) so that a child seated on it can be restrained by a seat belt fitted in the vehicle.


Car seat bases


A base unit which is designed solely for the purpose of attaching a safety seat securely in a road vehicle by means of anchorages that form part of the base unit and which, when in use in a road vehicle, can be restrained in one or more of the following ways-


(a) by a seat belt fitted in the vehicle, or


(b) by permanent anchorage points in the vehicle, or


(c) by belts attached to permanent anchorage points in the vehicle.


The reduced rate applies to both ISOFIX (International Standards Organisation Fix) and non-ISOFIX bases.


5.2 Are carrycots with restraint straps reduced-rated?

The reduced rate also applies to protective travel systems such as “lie flat” car seat products which allow babies to safely lie flat whilst travelling in a car and are secured using a 3 point safety harness. These products can also be used with compatible pushchairs to form a pram system.

5.3 When are children’s travel systems reduced-rated?

There are currently two types of travel system. The following table explains their VAT treatment:

Type of travel system


VAT liability


A pram/pushchair and a safety seat that can be fitted together and both of the elements can be used independently of each other.


The safety seat is reduced-rated.


The pram/pushchair element is standard-rated.


A safety seat, a bare wheeled framework, and a pushchair/pram seat.


The safety seat can be attached to the wheeled framework and it can then be used as a pram. Alternatively the pram seat can be attached to the framework for use as a pram.


The framework is only of use when one of the other two elements is attached.


Any combination of the three elements may be supplied together.


When the supply consists of just the safety seat and the wheeled framework the whole supply is reduced-rated.


When all three elements are supplied together, the pram seat is standard-rated and the other two elements are reduced-rated.


When the supply consists of just the pram seat and the wheeled framework the whole supply is standard-rated.


When supplied separately, the safety seat is reduced-rated, the wheeled framework is standard-rated and the pram seat is standard-rated.


5.4 Is the reduced rate tied to any manufacturing standards?

No. However, the latest safety standard is UNECE Regulation 44.03. Car seats approved to this standard will be marked with a UN 'E' mark and the first two digits of the approval number will be '03'.

5.5 How are vehicles with a fitted children’s car seat treated?

If you supply a vehicle with an integral children’s car seat, or with one as an ‘optional extra’, your whole supply is standard-rated.

Your rights and obligations

Your Charter explains what you can expect from us and what we can expect from you. For more information go to Your Charter.

Do you have any comments or suggestions?

If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this notice, please write to:

HM Revenue & Customs
VAT Liability Policy Team
3rd Floor
100 Parliament Street
London
SW1A 2BQ

Please note this address is not for general enquiries.

For your general enquiries please phone our Helpline 0845 010 9000.

Putting things right

If you are not satisfied with our service, please let the person dealing with your affairs know what is wrong. We will work as quickly as possible to put things right and settle your complaint. If you are still unhappy, ask for your complaint to be referred to the Complaints Manager.

For more information about our complaints procedures go to www.hmrc.gov.uk and under quick links select Complaints.

How we use your information

HM Revenue & Customs is a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998. We hold information for the purposes specified in our notification to the Information Commissioner, including the assessment and collection of tax and duties, the payment of benefits and the prevention and detection of crime, and may use this information for any of them.

We may get information about you from others, or we may give information to them. If we do, it will only be as the law permits to:

  • check the accuracy of information
  • prevent or detect crime
  • protect public funds.

We may check information we receive about you with what is already in our records. This can include information provided by you, as well as by others, such as other government departments or agencies and overseas tax and customs authorities. We will not give information to anyone outside HM Revenue & Customs unless the law permits us to do so. For more information go to www.hmrc.gov.uk and look for Data Protection Act within the Search facility.

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