Revenue & Customs Brief 17 (2020): ‘VAT liability of private sonography services’ clarifies HMRC’s position on the VAT treatment of ultrasound scanning services for pregnant women following the First Tier Tribunal's decision in Window to the Womb (Franchise) v HMRC.

In Window to the Womb (Franchise) v HMRC [2020] TC 07687, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that pregnancy scans were medical care and therefore exempt from VAT. 

Supplies of certain health services provided outside hospitals and other institutions are exempt from VAT under Item 1 of Group 7 of Schedule 9 to the Value Added Tax Act 1994 where:

  • The services are provided by an appropriately qualified health professional (listed in paragraph 2.1 of VAT Notice 701/57), and
  • The services are medical care, the primary purpose of which must be the protection, maintenance or restoration of the health of the person concerned.

HMRC has accepted the FTT’s decision in the case.

Other providers supplying such services can similarly exempt their supplies where the facts demonstrate that the two above conditions are met.

  • It should be noted that the persons carrying out the scans must also be suitably qualified and registered.

Businesses that have accounted for too much VAT may correct this by following the normal VAT error correction procedure.

HMRC will consider properly evidenced requests for the correction of incorrect rulings. 

  • After an initial review, HMRC may ask for more information to ensure that the two conditions above are fully satisfied.
  • Evidence will be required to show: 
    • That the services were performed by appropriately qualified professionals.
    • Where services are provided by others, that they were under the direct supervision of professionals.
    • That the primary purpose test was met.
  • If you have a current appeal before the FTT, any Tribunal reference numbers must be given.

When seeking a written ruling, quote reference RCB 17 (2020) when writing to:

HM Revenue and Customs – VAT Written Enquiries
123 St Vincent Street
Glasgow City
G2 5EA


Health and welfare: VAT
Reduced rating, zero-rating and VAT exemption can apply to various services relating to medical care, health and welfare.

External links 

Revenue & Customs Brief 17 (2020): ‘VAT liability of private sonography services’

VAT Notice 701/57: 'Health professionals and pharmaceutical products'