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This affects for-profit sports clubs which recharge affiliation fees onto its members.

A sport’s governing body, or similar, often charges an affiliation fee to individual clubs who make an onward charge to their members.  Where the clubs are non-profit making, the supply of this affiliation fee to their individual members is exempt from VAT.

However, if the club is a profit-making commercial club, then the supply to their individual member is standard rated.

The original concession aimed to put profit-making commercial clubs in a similar position to non-profit making clubs.  So they did not need to account for output tax on the fee charged.  It achieved this by way of concession, treating the recharge as a disbursement.

However, the concession goes beyond HMRC’s discretion and is being withdrawn with effect from 1 April 2018.

What Does This Mean?

This means that clubs need to make arrangements to charge VAT at the standard rate of 20% on these charges with effect from 1 April 2018.  Unless they meet the condition of a disbursement.

The withdrawal of the concession has no impact on the VAT treatment of affiliation fees by non-profit making sports governing bodies.

In their case, the charge they make for affiliation fees will continue to be exempt under the law.  If they are partly exempt for the purposes of calculating their recoverable input tax, such bodies should ensure that they continue to include affiliation fees in their exempt and total supplies in any appropriate partial exemption calculation.

If these changes affect your club, don’t leave this to chance, speak to your advisors or speak to us, our VAT and Tax advice is not as expensive as you think.


Want to know more? Call us on 0116 276 2761 or email

About the author

Jason Croke

Jason joined Haines Watts in 2009 to set up and run a specialist VAT/Indirect tax service. That service has now grown into a team covering not only the M1 corridor but also servicing other Haines Watts offices across the UK, as well as independent practitioner firms and book-keepers.

Jason has spent over 15 years working exclusively in indirect tax (VAT) with owner-managed businesses, corporate firms and not-for-profit charities as well as government agencies and overseas businesses. Jason particularly enjoys challenging HMRC decisions, representing clients in tribunals or during inspections. His experience includes matters concerning properties, partial exemption and European VAT matters. He’s equally happy with a VAT registration request too. That experience also extends to matters of import duty, duty coding, EU refunds, multi-jurisdictional registrations and seeking rulings from HMRC.

VAT and duty is a complicated subject, but Jason’s main strength is his ability to explain complex law and concepts in easy-to-understand, plain English enabling his clients to understand what the problem is, the solution and, crucially, why the situation has occurred in the first place and how to stop it happening again. It has often been said that Jason actually makes the subject of VAT sound interesting.

Away from work, Jason enjoys winter sports, hiking and mountain biking. In quieter moments he dabbles in reading law and European history and listening to all kinds of music which makes him first choice for a pub quiz! He also enjoys gardening, driving around the UK discovering interesting places and of course, spending time with his family.

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