Golf clubs in the UK may soon be able to claim back VAT payments on green fees, dating back over four years, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). However, clubs should bear in mind that pursuing a back-dated claim could leave them owing more VAT to HMRC overall, according to Steve Simmonds, director of VAT service at Clement Keys.
In a lead appeal case brought by Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club, the ECJ ruled that, as a not-for-profit, member-owned organisation, the club should not be required to account for VAT on green fees - the costs for visitors or non-members to play the course . In effect, the ECJ’s decision, which is subject to a further hearing in the Upper Tribunal so is not yet set in stone, could mean that green fees charged to non-members become VAT exempt supplies.
Currently, only fees paid by golf club members are VAT exempt supplies but this ruling could require HMRC to amend legislation to include an exemption for non-member or visitor fees too.
If HMRC proceeds as expected, it will...
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