As one of the UK's most respected suppliers of mobility scooters, TGA is heavily involved in voicing their great concern against the recent announcement by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs of a 10 import tax on all mobility scooters which has and will see prices rise dramatically in the UK.
For many years mobility scooters were classified by the World Customs Organisation under the term "carriage for disabled persons", however in 2001 this was changed to "motor vehicles for the transport of persons". Only this year has the mobility industry been made aware of this change and the cost implications of such a decision.
"This change in legislation is going to have a huge effect on our industry. Not only do we now have to pay a 10 import tax on everything coming into the country, but in addition we are being retrospectively charged import tax for the last three years, that no one including the Revenue seemed to be aware of." commented TGA's Managing Director David Stone. David continues, "This import code has many implications, and could result in de-regulation of all vehicles, making many scooters in use today illegal. In addition it must surely call into question the VAT exemption."
The effect this could have on the mobility industry and scooter owners could be catastrophic. Many suppliers will have to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in back tax to Customs, which could result in large numbers going out of business and the basic cost of a scooter will soar.
It is the aim of TGA together with many leading companies and industry organisations such as The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) to force this legislation to be reviewed fairly as quickly as possible. As an active member of the BHTA's panel of commercial owners, David Stone has been involved in several meetings to devise an action plan to resolve this issue. We will keep you updated on any developments and changes as we hear of them.
To clear up some of the confusion which has understandably arisen here are some of the facts:
A number of newspapers have inaccurately reported that these changes mean scooters can no longer be used on the pavements, and will no longer be zero rated VAT. Both of these statements are wrong.
This does not change how mobility scooters are classified by the Department for Transport. This legislation remains the same. Schedule 2 of the vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 states that "powered wheelchairs and scooters, along with other electrically propelled vehicles, are exempt from excise duty, but should display a valid 'exempt from taxation' vehicle excise license". The legislation refers to Class 3 vehicles only. These vehicles are still allowed on the pavement and road.
There is concern that the extra cost of import duty may increase the price of scooters. However, import duty only applies to scooters manufactured outside of the European trading areas. Import duty is also an integral part of the retail price and not something the buyer has to pay separately. This change in import tax should therefore not mean a blanket 10 increase in price as reported by the majority of the UK press.