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[BCAB] VAT exemption on VoiceOver products Jackie Cairns (18 Oct 2012 09:50 BST)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on VoiceOver products Martin (18 Oct 2012 10:57 BST)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on VoiceOver products Jackie Cairns (18 Oct 2012 11:37 BST)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on VoiceOver products Vince Thacker (18 Oct 2012 12:55 BST)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on VoiceOver products R DAVIES (05 Dec 2012 16:55 GMT)
[BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box Agent Orange (05 Dec 2012 21:22 GMT)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box Neela (05 Dec 2012 22:17 GMT)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box Steven Bingham (06 Dec 2012 12:22 GMT)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box Agent Orange (06 Dec 2012 16:50 GMT)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box Barry Hill (06 Dec 2012 17:10 GMT)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box Neela (06 Dec 2012 18:00 GMT)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box Tyler, Steve (10 Dec 2012 09:27 GMT)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box Agent Orange (11 Dec 2012 12:54 GMT)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box Barry Hill (06 Dec 2012 07:12 GMT)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box Colin Phelan (06 Dec 2012 09:24 GMT)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box Neela (06 Dec 2012 09:46 GMT)
Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on VoiceOver products Jackie Cairns (06 Dec 2012 11:27 GMT)

Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box Agent Orange 11 Dec 2012 12:54 GMT

Hi Steve,

Thanks for taking the time to provide such a clear and helpful explanation.
This is indeed a complex area because, as you say, there is a very fine line
between products in the different categories such as mainstream but with
access built in from the get go, and mainstream but with an access component
developed specifically for VI users.  Certainly I agree that having access
to devices out of the box is by far and away the most preferable approach
and Tvonics, Panasonic TVs, the iPhone and other Apple products, are
excellent examples of this.  Whilst we may loose the VAT exemption for these
products in some cases, like you, I'm sure most would agree that the overall
benefits of equality of access, ease of use, availability of choice, etc,
outweigh any immediate reduction in price we might otherwise benefit from as
a result of a VAT exemption for a specific bit of adaptive kit.  In fact, in
the long term, pushing the inclusive design / accessibility built in agenda
may even result in an overall cost reduction for VI customers as compared to
current prices of adaptive kit, since the costs of production of the access
components will fall and will also be spread across the whole market thus
lowering the individual unit cost which we pay.  This of course implies a
cross-subsidy with non-disabled users paying part of the cost but on the
whole, this too is likely to be beneficial in the long term since many
non-disabled customers may find as they or their relatives age that they can
make use of the accessibility features built into their equipment, which
will save them the cost of replacement.

But going back to the original point, I still can not really see a
justification for certain Apple products such as the iPad benefiting from
the VAT exemption, whilst other products such as the Tvonics, or even other
products in the Apple stable such as the iPhone not benefiting.  This, I can
only conclude, is the product of the maxim that hard cases make bad law.
Not that I intend to rock the boat: if HMRC wish to give an VAT exemption to
VI customers buying the iPhone, that's fine with me.  But I wonder how long
it will last, or whether it would really stand up in the face of sustained
scrutiny.  As (hopefully) more and more companies follow Tvonics and
Panasonic's lead, this will need to be rationalised.

Thanks once again Steve to you and to all at RNIB who work so hard on our
behalf behind the scenes, together with industry, to seek improvements in
tech access: these products are a testament to this hard work and we should
all applaud the effort that goes into these successes.  Long may it
continue.

Kind regards

Phil

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces@lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Tyler, Steve
Sent: 10 December 2012 09:28
To: BCAB Discussion List
Subject: Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box

hi phil.

preface my following comment with this being a complex area, some regional
decision making by regional vat offices, and different types of product
(specifically assistive, mainstream but with some assistive tech built in,
mainstream but fully accessible part and parcel of the product).

in the case of tvonics:
* it is a mainstream product;
* RNIB chooses to sell it with assistive software loaded;
* some others do too or will load it on request;
* most mainstream outlets do not load it prior to shipping but could do;
* In any event a tvonics box bought via the mainstream can be loaded by the
user or some-one else with the assistive technology;
* and the assistive technology is free at the point of delivery.

So, it's a mainstream box with no price differential for accessibility
whether pre-loaded or self-loaded;   as a mainstream box with no price
differential for accessibility addition (ie, the box was not made for blind
or partially sighted people specifically, although a piece of software has
been developed for it) it would not carry a vat reduction.

This will become more common and is already the case in lots of similar but
not precisely the same areas.  For example, android products are mainstream
with talkback built in - talkback can be managed separately inside the
operating system with regard to implementation, upgrade, etc; the latest
range of panasonic products that have accessibility built in sold at a
specific price that come bundled with accessibility features - ie, although
accessible, it is a mainstream offering which draws no distinction between
who will use it and how it will be used.

We have been pushing access built in agenda for some time and are gaining
traction in this area;  this is one of the side-effects of course of
activity like that - but overall I think having accessibility available at
the point of sale or easily added after sale with no price differential to
the mainstream item is key to ensuring industry begin to deliver in earnest
to a market that, until now, has been viewed as niche or irrelevant.

steve

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces@lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Agent Orange
Sent: 06 December 2012 16:51
To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box

Thanks Steve, I agree with your reasoning.  Taking that same reasoning
further, it's strange perhaps then that the Tvonics set top box isn't also
VAT free given that it is only sold in its adapted form, ie with the speech
features included, by the RNIB.   In all other retailers such as John
Lewis,
the box is sold without the adaptations for visually impaired users.  On
this basis, I would have thought that it ought to qualify to be VAT exempt
when sold by the RNIB with the special adaptations, but not when sold
elsewhere without the special adaptations.

Do any listers who work for RNIB have any thoughts or information on this?

With thanks, and kind regards

Phil

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces@lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Steven
Bingham
Sent: 06 December 2012 12:23
To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box

Looking at the HMRC site does not help at all. The VAT relief should only be
given in cases where a device has been 'specially adapted, or 'made'
specifically for the use of disabled people. So, I think it comes down to
the wording used in the advertising or specifications of the devices.
The user is also required to be able to prove their disability.

So it would appear to come down to whether or not HMRC are convinced that a
device has been specially made or adapted for the use of disabled persons.
As products such as the iphone and panysonic TVs are all made the same with
the adaptations built-in it is hard to say that they have been specially
made or adapted. So perhaps VAT relief should not be available at all.

Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces@lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Neela
Sent: 05 December 2012 22:18
To: BCAB Discussion List
Subject: Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box

What about the Panosonic TVs too Phil, that have voice guidance and
capability to turn on audio description?  I believe RNIB worked with
Panosonic to achieve this additional facility.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Agent Orange" <agentorange@talktalk.net>
To: <robindavies18@yahoo.co.uk>; "'BCAB Discussion List'"
<bcab@lists.bcab.org.uk>
Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:22 PM
Subject: [BCAB] VAT exemption on Tvonics set top box

>
> Robin, and other listers,
>
> This is very interesting.
>
> I can't help wondering why the distinction for VAT purposes between an

> iPhone on the one hand, and other voice over products such as an iPad
> on the other.
>
> Equally, I am baffled by the distinction between the Goodmans Smart
> Talk set top box which I understand is sold VAT free, and the Tvonics
> set top box on which VAT must be paid.  I am particularly interested
> in this difference as I am considering buying a Tvonics box and I
> can't ascertain from RNIB - despite having asked - why VAT is payable
> on it given that it comprises a special adaptation for the use of
> visually impaired people.
>
> Can anyone shed any light on the answer?
>
> With thanks
>
> Phil
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces@lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of R
> DAVIES
> Sent: 05 December 2012 16:56
> To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
> Subject: Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on VoiceOver products
>
> Hi
>
> I promised to update the list on this subject once I had visited the
> Apple store in Covent Garden, London and explored the possibility of
> VAT exemption for VO supported products. I had been informed that this

> store was the most familiar with VO support and serving blind and
> visually impaired customers.
>
> I visited them yesterday in order to purchase an I Pad and an I Phone,

> accompanied by my partner and my guide dog.
>
> The staff was wonderfully helpful and aware that VAT exemption applied

> for blind and visually impaired customers on all VO products with the
> exception of the I Phone. Why there was this difference was not made
> clear.
>
> We were taken to a quiet upstairs room so the VAT Exemption form could

> be completed and signed and no supporting documentation was requested.
> I did have my council registration card as a blind resident and proof
> of residence with me just in case. Mind you the 36 kilo guide dog on
> my wrist may have been proof enough!
>
> On discussing the lack of this benefit for the I Phone it was
> explained that the only way this could be done for this product was
> for Apple to take the hit as they would still have to pay the VAT even

> if it was waived for me.
> Only the store manager could agree to such a step.
>
> After discussing my RNIB  and BCAB memberships and my awareness that
> the RNIB held regular training sessions at this Apple store together
> with my joint purchase of both an I Pad and an I Phone it was
> eventually agreed to waive the VAT for the I Phone as well, an
> excellent outcome. However, there was then an additional step where
> the purchase had to be dealt with differently through the payment
> system and not as a VAT Exemption process.
> This apparently lodged the reduction, equivalent to the VAT due, as a
> charge against the store sales income somehow.
>
> So it seems clear that VAT exemption does apply for all Apple VO
> supported products, apart from the I Phone, and can be asked for.
> However, obtaining a similar or equivalent reduction for a new I Phone

> depends on the willingness and attitude of the local manager rather
> than a formal procedure or agreement with Customs and Revenue.
>
> I hope this is of help to any listers considering new Apple purchases
> and able to get to the Covent Garden store or any other Apple store
> with an active VIP client base.
>
> Regards
> Robin
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces@lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf of Vince
> Thacker
> Sent: 18 October 2012 12:56
> To: BCAB Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [BCAB] VAT exemption on VoiceOver products
>
> Sounds as if the Apple Store had this very well sorted out. You can
> get VAT exemptions on all sorts of things, but the procedure can be a
> lot more cumbersome.
>
> The rules are spelt out here....
>
> http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/vat/sectors/consumers/disabled.htm
>
> Vince.
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jackie Cairns" <jackie.cairnsplace@btinternet.com>
> To: <access-uk@freelists.org>; "'BCAB Discussion List'"
> <bcab@lists.bcab.org.uk>
> Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:50 AM
> Subject: [BCAB] VAT exemption on VoiceOver products
>
>
>> All,
>>
>> I had the opportunity of visiting the Apple store in Belfast
yesterday.
>> While there, I discovered that people who are registered as blind,
>> deaf or deaf-blind are entitled to receive VAT exemption on VoiceOver

>> products.
>> That is to say, the Mac range, iPad, iPhone, and iPod range.  This
>> does not include any accessories.  All you need to do is take some
>> kind of proof if your impairment is not obvious, and complete and
>> sign the VAT exemption form a store staff member will give you.  You
>> can then purchase your VoiceOver product there and then.
>>
>> This information was offered to me without my even thinking about
>> asking as I had absolutely no idea Apple products come under VAT
>> exemption.
>>
>> I thought you might like to know.
>>
>> Kind Regards,
>>
>> Jackie Cairns
>>
>>
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