HMRC have now released a Business Brief setting out their current standpoint following the European Court of Justice (CJEU) case concerning the Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club;

The basic position is that sporting services supplied by non-profit sports clubs to their non-members will no longer be liable to VAT at the standard rate but will benefit from VAT exemption.

There are opportunities for refunds by sports clubs but HMRC may fall back on ‘unjust enrichment’ to refuse claims. A major disadvantage is that the increase in VAT exempt turnover is likely to create problems in terms of irrecoverable input tax under the partial exemption provisions and there could also be Capital Goods Scheme implications where there have been capital projects in recent years.

Those affected will also need to review their VAT accounting from now on (HMRC have said that legislation will be introduced in January 2015) to make sure that it complies with the new rules.

For advice on this recent ruling or other VAT matters, contact Andy Branson on 01823 286096 or

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