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VAT: HMRC reverses baby scan rulings

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Following the taxpayer win at first-tier tribunal in Window To The Womb HMRC has revised its guidance. Emma Rawson explains what businesses should do now. 

20th Nov 2020
Technical Officer Association of Tax Technicians
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As I reported in Baby’s first picture is VAT free, in Window To The Womb (TC07687) the FTT found that several different pregnancy scan packages were medical care, and therefore exempt from VAT.

Following that decision, HMRC issued Brief 17 (2020): VAT liability of private sonography services - to clarify its position on the VAT liability of similar scans.

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By seeroo
23rd Nov 2020 09:47

The reasoning here is flawed. There are many women who have had miscarriages who are not offered scans on the NHS until they are in pain and bleeding. Sometimes they won't do scans for bleeding so the only option is to pay for a private scan. The NHS reasoning being that if you are miscarrying then there is nothing they can do to stop it however this leaves women carrying unviable pregnancies for 12 weeks which could have been treated. You have to have had 3 miscarriages before the NHS will do early reassurance scans or investigations.

The scans offered from places like window to the womb are usually marketed as just to see your baby but they have the dual purpose of finding a heartbeat. If no heartbeat is found these women can then seek further treatment on the NHS. They wouldn't necessarily get a medical report but it's clear to see from the screen whether the pregnancy is viable.

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