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VAT charges and Club affiliation fees

The Canterbury Hockey Club case has recently been heard by the European Court and may have implications for the way in which you tax affiliation fees.

Canterbury disagreed with HM Revenue & Customs’ instruction to its National Governing Body, England Hockey, that VAT was due on its affiliation fees. We have been acting for England Hockey throughout.

Those bodies that have been charging VAT will need to assess whether the benefit to individual members of VAT exemption is outweighed by the consequences for input VAT recovery by the NGB.

However, those NGBs that have been exempting fees should also consider the implications of the Decision. In particular, the Court notes that some services supplied to member bodies may not be exempt- for example advice to sports clubs regarding marketing and obtaining sponsors. Further, services carried out in competition with commercial suppliers are not eligible for VAT exemption if their basic purpose is to obtain additional income.

If you think you may be affected by this, and for more advice on intelligent VAT planning, please contact Steve Chamberlain on 01865 261100 or email