Brendan McGurk wins tax appeal on the medical care exemption

23 Nov 2023

Brendan McGurk successfully acted for the Commissioners in their defence of an appeal brought by Vision Dispensing Limited (“VDL”). VDL supplies services in connection with the online sale of contact lenses and this appeal was concerned with the question whether those supplies ought to be standard rated (as HMRC contended) or exempt on the basis that they involved the provision of medical care (as VDL contended). More particularly, VDL argued that it provided an online supply of exempt ‘dispensing services’ that were made in relation to the online supply (by another company in the group of which VDL was a member) of contact lenses. VDL needed to satisfy the Tribunal on two issues: (1) First, that its supplies constituted medical care and (2) second, that those supplies were wholly performed or directly supervised by appropriately medically trained persons. VDL failed on both grounds.

The appeal and the Tribunal’s analysis will be of wider relevance to suppliers of online services who seek to rely upon the medical exemption in schedule 9 of the VAT Act.

The Tribunal’s judgment is here.