Surgery for 'purely cosmetic reasons' should be VAT chargeable, says MP

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Boob jobs, face lifts and tummy tucks should be taxed if the surgery is carried out for purely cosmetic reasons, an MP has suggested.

Former shadow minister Kevan Jones said the Government was losing money by not charging VAT on the surgery because the procedures were classed as medical.

He said that while he was not suggesting people pay for a genuine medical procedure, such as reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy, people should have to provide evidence if they were having the surgery because of mental health issues.

Labour MP Kevan Jones said there was an
Labour MP Kevan Jones said there was an "argument" that people had cosmetic surgery because of mental health issue (PA)

Mr Jones, who has previously raised concerns about the regulation of cosmetic surgery, told MPs during a debate on the Government's tax and spend proposals: "Clearly you will not pay VAT for a medical procedure, but what I would suggest is these are not medical procedures.

"I will not suggest for one minute you should be paying VAT if you need reconstruction surgery for example for women who have had mastectomies and other things.

"But if it's purely for cosmetic reasons, then as I read the regulations that should be VAT chargeable.

"But again, HMRC to me don't seem to be enforcing this."

He said there was an "argument" that people had cosmetic surgery because of mental health issues, but said if that was the case: "Well, I think you need to provide the evidence if that is the case."

Describing the cosmetic surgery industry as "huge", he said: "I just think that in terms of the amount of money that this industry is generating, whether it's not an area which the Government are actually losing revenue for."