VAT Tribunal’s decision may benefit sports clubs

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A decision of the VAT Tribunal last year may entitle some sports clubs to a VAT refund.  The case, involving Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club, concerned VAT charged on fees charged to non-members of a golf club.

Under the Value Added Tax Act 1994 membership fees of not-for-profit sports clubs are not subject to VAT, but fees charged to non-members are subject to VAT.  However, the VAT Tribunal ruled that HMRC had misinterpreted EU law and that the fees charged to non-members should not be subject to VAT.

Golf clubs – and other sports clubs – could, in principle, be eligible to claim VAT refunds.  However, HMRC has obtained permission to appeal the decision to the Upper Tax Tribunal and has indicated that in the meantime claims for VAT relief and refunds based on the Tribunal’s decision will be rejected.  However, not-for-profit sports clubs may wish to contact their professional adviser.

For further information, help or advice please contact Chris Hook on 0191 211 7929 or email [email protected].