Dr John Curran highlights tax issues in aesthetics

09 Aug 2019

An official statement released by the British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) on behalf of foundering member of BCAM Dr John Curran, has highlighted the need for better understanding of tax-related issues within the aesthetics specialty.

Dr Curran clarified the current European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings on VAT within the statement and further explained, “It was the reasonably held opinion of our medical experts, and that of Counsel, that the use of the term 'purely cosmetic' in the body of the relevant law was purposeful insofar as it clearly sets out a binary interpretation of a treatment... it is either ‘purely cosmetic’ with no medical element (not exempt) or a treatment with at least some part medical purpose (exempt).”

However, a wide range of cosmetic dermatology treatments may too have a medical element to the purpose, which according BCAM, the HMRC has explained would have to be evidenced in the form of good medical records, including consent.

Dr Curran concluded, “I know of six clinics or individuals currently dealing with an approach by HMRC regarding medical VAT. As they approach tribunal stage it is likely an expert will be appointed to review notes to determine if there is a medical basis for treatment. This is where the case will stand or fall apart. I cannot state too strongly the importance of good medical record taking and, in particular, thinking hard about the purpose and highlighting the medical/psychological benefit of treatment.”


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