Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) and adapted cars are VAT exempt. If you’re entitled to buy VAT-free goods, your supplier should not charge you VAT, so the price advertised by WAV converters and used WAV suppliers is exclusive of VAT.
You can buy a vehicle free from VAT if the following conditions apply:
For the VAT exemption to apply, a wheelchair user is defined as 'any disabled person who normally uses a wheelchair (electrically powered or otherwise) in order to be mobile'. Someone who only occasionally uses a wheelchair would not qualify for the VAT exemption.
HMRC acknowledges that in some circumstances a person with a disability may be unable to purchase or drive a motor vehicle themselves. So as long as the purchase of a car or WAV is primarily for the use of the disabled person and that all the qualifying conditions are met, a zero VAT rating will apply.
There is no VAT refund system and there’s no facility for HMRC to refund VAT to you if you’re charged VAT incorrectly.
Many people choose to use the Motability Scheme to lease their WAV. To find out more, take a look at our new WAVs and the Motability Scheme page. If you would prefer to own your vehicle outright, there are a number of options available to you. Some people who are buying a new or second-hand WAV have the money available and choose to pay for it outright. Most though would choose to buy their WAV with the help of a loan. You could look at standard car loans, but you may prefer to find a company that specialises in finance for WAVs and adapted vehicles. If you are buying a used WAV, some of the suppliers you will speak to are also authorised finance brokers.
Specialist WAV finance companies include:
Some of the benefits of choosing to finance the purchase of your WAV include:
WAV finance applications can be supported by including the details of any income you may receive in the form of disability or income support benefits. When you submit your application, these can be taken into consideration on their own or together with any employment or pension income.
Benefits that can usually be taken into consideration when applying for WAV finance include:
There are several insurance companies that specialise in WAV insurance. Many of the leading insurance companies struggle to fully understand converted vehicles due to the fact that the vehicle may be derived from a commercial vehicle, the suspension may have been lowered and seatbelt positions altered, which are all key elements when converting a standard vehicle to a WAV.
Specialist WAV insurance companies to consider include:
If one of the drivers of the vehicle has a disability or illness, any relevant medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive must be declared when you apply for vehicle insurance. Conditions that should be declared include poor eyesight, sleep apnea, epilepsy, strokes and physical disabilities.
Under the Equality Act 2010, vehicle insurers can't penalise you for being disabled. This means that they cannot refuse you coverage, increase your premiums or increase your excess because of a medical condition (if it was declared when the DVLA issued your driving licence).
Insurers are allowed to increase an insurance premium if they believe that the chance of you causing an accident has increased. However, they have to inform you of their reasons why and provide evidence.
Charitable Grants are available to some Motability Scheme WAV customers. Motability (the Charity) have several grant programmes to help support the independence of disabled people with their personal or other transportation needs.
There's also the Access to Work grant programme. If you’re disabled or have a physical or mental health condition that makes it hard for you to do your job, you could apply for an Access to Work grant.