Guidance

Community Amateur Sports Clubs: detailed guidance notes

Updated 15 June 2016

1. Introduction

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) Scheme was introduced in April 2002.

1.1.2 It allows local amateur sports clubs to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and benefit from a range of tax reliefs, including Gift Aid, where they meet the qualifying conditions set out below. The scheme is open to qualifying clubs established in:

  • the UK
  • any EU member state
  • Lichtenstein
  • Norway
  • Iceland

1.1.3 The legislation can be found in the Corporation Tax Act (CTA) 2010 Part 13 Chapter 9 and Community Amateur Sports Clubs Regulations 2015.

1.1.4 Once registered as a CASC, a club can’t apply to be recognised as a charity. To convert a registered CASC to a charity involves closing down (winding up) the CASC and transferring over the assets and activities to a new charity.

1.1.5 If your club is already a charity then CASC status is unlikely to be of any additional benefit. You may still apply for CASC status, but if your club meets the requirements of the scheme and HMRC registers the club as a CASC, then it would no longer be entitled to be a charity.

1.1.6 Find out more about setting up a charity.

1.2 Changes to CASC scheme in April 2015

1.2.1 In April 2015 a number of changes were made to the CASC scheme, there was also an increase in the tax exemptions for property and trading income. The guidance below explains what these changes mean for your club in relation to:

2. Become a Community Amateur Sports Club

2.1 Apply for CASC status

2.1.1 To apply for CASC status you must complete a CASC (A1) application form and provide certain documents to show that your club is suitable. The form must be completed by an authorised official or responsible person from the club. Once an application has been submitted you can’t withdraw it.

2.1.2 HMRC will review your application to check whether your sports club meets the conditions of the scheme. It’s important that your club is already meeting these conditions in practice. It’s not enough to explain what you plan to do once you have CASC registration. HMRC can’t be satisfied that your club is suitable unless it is already run in a CASC compliant way as described in this guide.

2.1.3 This guidance will explain what the conditions are for CASC status and also what it will mean for your club once you’re registered.

2.1.4 To be registered as a CASC your sports club must:

  • be open to the whole community
  • be organised on an amateur basis
  • have as its main purpose the provision of facilities for, and the promotion of participation in, one or more eligible sports
  • not exceed the income limit
  • meet the management condition
  • meet the location condition

2.1.5 HMRC can only register a club as a CASC if they can show that they:

2.1.6 If your club is registered as a CASC it is important to ensure that the club continues to meet these conditions or it could be deregistered.

2.2 Open to the whole community

2.2.1 If your club wants to be registered as a CASC you must be able to demonstrate that you’re open to the whole community.

2.2.2 To be open to the whole community a club must have:

  • a membership that is open to all without discrimination
  • facilities that are open to all members without discrimination
  • fees that don’t represent a significant obstacle to membership or use of its facilities

2.3 Open to all without discrimination

2.3.1 The term ‘membership’ refers to the people the club recognises as having accepted the rights and liabilities as set out in its governing document.

2.3.2 It’s up to a club to set out in its governing documents the rights of the members. Usually clubs allow members to attend general meetings and decide resolutions by majority vote. However a club may accept juniors as members without a right to vote until they reach the age of 18. This club would not be discriminating against juniors - membership is open to all even though juniors may have to wait until they are 18 to vote at annual general meetings.

2.3.3 Most members clubs in the form of companies are limited by guarantee and the terms of membership are usually clearly defined in their constitutions. These will usually say that when each member joins they’re entitled to a single vote at annual general meetings.

2.3.4 Companies limited by shares are different because voting rights are determined by the number of shares held. In the case of members clubs, HMRC would expect to see an equal shareholding for each member but this can be difficult to achieve where members come and go. It can be done by making sure that each member is allocated a single share and that this is reallocated upon leaving.

2.3.5 Most members clubs are unincorporated associations which unlike companies have no legal personality. In these cases membership rights are those which exist under the contract between members. Full membership is determined by the members’ rights. HMRC’s view is that membership of a club must mean full membership.

2.3.6 Clubs may have different classes of membership based on the age of the member, or whether the member is a student, is waged, is a playing member, or how far from the club the member lives. For example, a club may offer a class of senior membership at reduced rates to people over 65 which isn’t open to younger people. This is acceptable, provided that the senior members are not effectively excluded from the club’s activities, or prevented from becoming general members if they wish.

2.3.7 A club with limited facilities may have to regulate how many members it has, to enable it to carry out its objectives of providing facilities for, and promoting participation in, eligible sports. This is acceptable as long as the club can demonstrate that it has a fair and open membership process. If a club has a waiting list it should admit members from this list in chronological order only. For example, they should not select members from the waiting list on the basis of sporting ability or how much they will pay for membership.

2.3.8 There must be no discrimination when dealing with applications from potential members. A club must ensure that its membership procedures are open, transparent and objective. For example, they must not have unfair restrictions requiring applications for membership to be proposed and seconded by existing members or displaying applicant details for comment by members on club notice boards.

2.3.9 Some clubs offer honorary or free life memberships (or equivalent) to some members to thank them for serving a club for many years as a coach, committee member, umpire or volunteer. CASCs can offer honorary or life memberships if they continue to be open to the whole community. A CASC cannot restrict applications by new members on the basis that the Club has lots of honorary members and cannot accept any new members. HMRC will consider what criteria a club uses for granting honorary and free life memberships to ensure that a club is open to the whole community and it does not restrict the number of ordinary memberships available.

2.3.10 Clubs can’t restrict membership to only those prospective members who have already achieved a certain level of ability. The club should encourage participation in the sport at all levels and restrictions based on ability are not acceptable. For example, a golf club that restricts membership or access to facilities based on a prospective member’s handicap certificate would not be suitable for CASC status. Any club that required prospective members to complete a ‘trial’ to test their ability before accepting them as a member would also be discriminating and could not be a CASC.

2.3.11 Clubs which also, for example, insist on prospective members agreeing to carry out services to support the club would not be open to all and so would not qualify to be a CASC. In those clubs membership is only open to those who are prepared to carry out services for the club. When a club wants members to volunteer it can suggest, rather than require, that members who are able to, volunteer to do things at the club but membership must not be refused to applicants who refuse to volunteer.

2.3.12 The CASC legislation states that for CASC purposes the term ‘discrimination’ includes discrimination on the basis of:

  • ethnicity or nationality
  • religion or beliefs
  • sexual orientation
  • sex, age or disability

2.3.13 Discrimination isn’t limited under the CASC rules to those categories. Any form of discrimination of whatever nature would mean that a club does not meet the qualifying conditions.

2.3.14 Discrimination on the grounds of sex, age or disability isn’t permitted except as a necessary consequence of the requirements of a particular sport. Some sports are not suitable for certain groups of people. For example, motor racing may not be suitable for the very young, or a sport’s governing body may impose restrictions on the age of participation in a particular sport for safety reasons. Neither of these restrictions would be regarded as discrimination. However it would not be acceptable for a club to impose its own restriction, which isn’t a necessary consequence of the requirements of the sport. For example, if the members of a club refused to admit children, even if the sport was suitable for them to take part in, that would be unacceptable discrimination.

2.3.15 Clubs can refuse or revoke membership on non-discriminatory grounds, where the membership, or continued membership, of the person concerned would be likely to not be in the best interests of the sport or the good conduct and interests of the club. These are internal matters for the club. Such procedures should be open and transparent and include an independent appeals process. HMRC will not become involved in such internal issues. Provided the club has acted openly and followed its CASC-compliant constitution there should be no effect on the club’s CASC status.

2.4 Offering facilities without discrimination

2.4.1 A club must not discriminate between classes or categories of members, and it must make its facilities available, without discrimination, to all members. There is no difference between the terms ‘making facilities available’ and ‘providing facilities’. These terms are interchangeable. For example, where there are insufficient facilities such as tennis courts for all members to use at the same time, there must be no discrimination in allowing use, for example by giving the senior men’s team players preferential treatment. Similarly, a cricket club can’t restrict the use of its main pitch to the first team, forcing less skilful players to use pitches of a lower standard. The facilities of the club are those it is required to provide by its constitution.

2.4.2 The club can put restrictions on the days or times when different classes of membership have access to the facilities, provided the restrictions don’t effectively exclude those members from full participation in the club.

2.4.3 A club may provide facilities for single sex members, juniors or disabled people. If others are explicitly prohibited from playing in matches this is only acceptable if it is a necessary consequence of a requirement of the sport. This will often be because it is set out in the rules of the sport’s governing body. However there must be no bar to others joining and participating in other ways. For example, a women’s football club might also have men who coach teams and referee matches.

2.5 Does my club have costs that represent a ‘significant obstacle’?

2.5.1 When deciding whether a club has fees/costs that represent a ‘significant obstacle’ you must check:

  • whether the club charges membership fees over £1,612 a year
  • if the costs associated with being a member of the club are more than £520 a year
  • where costs associated with being a member are more than £520 a year, whether the club makes a satisfactory provision for those that can’t afford to pay more than this amount

2.5.2 If a club charges any member more than £1,612 a year for membership fees then it would not be considered open to the whole community. The club would not be eligible for CASC status even if they offered discounted or cheaper memberships to other members.

2.6 Does my club charge more than £1,612 a year for membership?

2.6.1 Clubs will need to check whether their membership fees cost less than £1,612 a year. If a club offers more than one type of membership it will need to make sure all of them cost less than £1,612 a year. For example, a club may offer a 12 month full membership, a 6 month membership and a 3 month membership - each of these memberships will need to cost less than £1,612 a year.

2.6.2 To calculate the annual cost of a club’s membership fee include joining fees and any other costs that are a condition of membership. For example, compulsory subscriptions that all members are required to pay. The calculation should only include costs that members are required to pay in order to join the club, not for example, the cost of mandatory equipment.

2.6.3 If a club offers some memberships that are shorter or longer than 12 months then they will need to check how much each of these memberships would cost over a 12 month period.

Example (A)
A club offers an 18 month membership costing £800.
The membership fee would be (12/18) x £800= £533.33 a year for the purpose of this test.
The same club also offers a 3 month membership costing £250.
The membership fee is (12/3) x £250 = £1,000 for this test.
Both of these memberships are under the £1,612 limit.

2.6.4 If a club offers family memberships or other group memberships it will need to work out the cost per member. For example, a family membership for 2 adults costs £900 a year with a joining fee of £140. The cost per member here would be £1,040 divided by 2 = £520. This membership is below the limit of £1,612 per person so the club would be eligible for CASC status.

2.7 Costs associated with membership

2.7.1 Once a club is satisfied that its membership fees are less than £1,612 a year it will then need to work out the costs associated with membership. The costs associated with membership (C) is made up of the most expensive membership (A) plus the costs of sporting activity (B). So A + B = C.

To work out the most expensive membership (A)

2.7.2 This is straightforward if a club offers one type of membership as that membership will automatically be the most expensive. However, many clubs offer a range of memberships so you will need to work out which one is the most expensive.

2.7.3 The most expensive membership should be worked on an annual basis. For example, if a club offers a 3 month membership for £120 they would need to work out how much this would cost over 12 months (£120 x 4 = £480).

2.7.4 If a club offers family memberships or other group memberships it will need to work out the cost per member. Once you’ve worked out how much all of your memberships cost (per person) on an annual basis you can then identify the most expensive membership (A).

To work out the costs of sporting activity (B)

2.7.5 The sporting activity costs are the costs that the members are required to pay in order to fully participate in the club’s activities for the year. These are the costs that are incurred in addition to the membership fee costs. When you calculate the sporting activity costs, include:

  • any additional charges for using the club’s facilities - for example pitch hire, flood lighting
  • fees charged to play in a match
  • any fees charged by the club for hiring specialist equipment (this includes any necessary safety equipment)
  • the cost to purchase or hire any specialist equipment that’s necessary to participate in the sport (when not provided free of charge by the club)
  • the cost to purchase or hire any clothing that the club requires the member to wear (when not provided free of charge by the club)
  • insurance costs needed for the member to participate in the sport

2.7.6 When calculating the cost to buy clothing or equipment for the purposes of this test you may use the lowest cost. For example, you can purchase a second hand set of golf clubs for £30 online.

2.7.7 You should calculate these costs on the basis that the member participates on 52 occasions a year (unless you are a seasonal club claiming the seasonal apportionment). Annex 4 gives more details.

2.7.8 Match fees should only be included on the basis that the member takes part on 52 occasions a year if there is a match every week. For example, if your club only holds matches on 40 occasions a year then the cost of playing in a match should be includes on this basis.

2.7.9 If your club is seasonal and chooses to apply the seasonal apportionment the costs should be calculated on the basis that the member participates at least once a week for each week that the club is open.

Working out the costs associated with membership (C)

2.7.10 The costs associated with membership (C) is worked out by adding together the most expensive membership (A) and the sporting activity costs for that year (B).

2.7.11 For most CASCs the costs associated with membership will be £520 a year or less for all members. If this is the case then the club does not need to do anything else because it is already affordable for the whole community.

2.7.12 If a club has a costs associated with membership that are more than £520 a year then it will be required to make provisions for those who can’t afford to pay more than £520 a year. If no suitable arrangements are made then this club will not be able to be a CASC because it isn’t open to the whole community.

Example (B)
A tennis club has several membership options available.
The most expensive membership is a 3 month membership that costs £100.
The club also charges a £20 joining fee.
The annual cost of the most expensive membership is £420.
As this is under £1,612 the club should now work out the costs associated with membership.

2.7.13 The club does not require any specialist equipment, clothing or insurance. Members must provide their own rackets. Members must book a court and this costs an additional £3.50 per booking. The club is open all year. This club should work out the costs associated with membership as follows:

Cost of most expensive membership £420
Match fees £0
Additional charges for facilities £3.50 x 52 = £182
Fees for hiring specialist equipment from the club £0
Cost to purchase or hire equipment Cost of second hand racket £5
Cost to purchase or hire clothing required by the club £0
Insurance costs required by the club £0
Total £607

2.7.14 The costs associated with membership are £607 a year, so the club will need to provide for any members who can’t afford to pay more than £520 a year.

Example (C)
A sailing club offers 12 month memberships for £120 a year.
There are no additional costs or other membership options available.
At the club members have free use of a boat owned by the club and there is no specific requirement for clothing or equipment.
All necessary safety equipment is also available for free hire from the club.
This equipment is basic and members can use their own boat or safety equipment if they wish.

Cost of most expensive membership £120
Match fees £0
Additional charges for facilities £0
Fees for hiring specialist equipment from the club £0
Cost to purchase or hire equipment £0
Cost to purchase or hire clothing required by the club £0
Total £120

2.7.15 The costs associated with membership are less than £520 a year and no provisions are needed.

Example (D)
A rugby club charges £250 a year for 12 months membership.
There are no joining fees and this is the most expensive membership offered by the club.

2.7.16 The club charges £2 for match subs but there is no additional charge for training at the club. The club provides all of the necessary equipment free of charge for members to use. There is no insurance required as this is covered by the membership fee. Members must purchase a club shirt if they want to participate in matches this is available at the club for £20. They must also wear rugby boots to play, which start at £20. The rest of the kit isn’t specialist (dark shorts, socks etc).

Cost of most expensive membership £250
Match fees £2 x 52 = £104
Additional charges for facilities £0
Fees for hiring specialist equipment from the club £0
Cost to purchase or hire equipment £0
Cost to purchase or hire clothing required by the club £40
Insurance costs required by the club £0
Total £394

2.7.17 The costs associated with membership are less than £520 a year and no provisions are needed.

Example (E)
A squash club offers a number of membership packages.
The most expensive is a 12 month membership costing £360, with a £20 administration fee for joining.
The club does not provide any equipment to members and there is no special requirement for clothing.
There are additional fees for playing squash at the club of £5 per hour and the club is open all year.

Cost of most expensive membership £360
Match fees £0
Additional charges for facilities £5 x 52 = £260
Fees for hiring specialist equipment from the club £0
Cost to purchase or hire equipment £10 for second hand racket and balls
Cost to purchase or hire clothing required by the club £0
Insurance costs required by the club £0
Total £630

2.7.18 The costs associated with membership are £630 a year, as a result the club will need to make a provision for any members who can’t afford to pay more than £520 a year.

Example (F)
A golf club offers a number of packages, the most expensive is a 12 month membership costing £846.
The club does not provide any equipment to members and they require golf shoes to be worn, costing £10.
There are no additional costs for playing and the club is open all year.

Cost of most expensive membership £846
Match fees £0
Additional charges for facilities £0
Fees for hiring specialist equipment from the club £0
Cost to purchase or hire equipment £20 for second hand golf clubs
Cost to purchase or hire clothing required by the club £10
Insurance costs required by the club £0
Total £876

2.7.19 The costs associated with membership are £876 a year, as a result the club will need to make a provision for any members who can’t afford to pay more than £520 a year.

Example (G)
Another club has a cost associated with membership of £400 a year.
It is open for 9 months of the year and has opted for the seasonal reduction.
The £520 limit is reduced to 9/12 x £520 = £390.
This club would need to make a provision for members on low or modest incomes.

2.8 What provisions do I need to make if the costs associated with membership at my club are more than £520 a year?

2.8.1 Some clubs that offer more expensive sports may have a ‘cost associated with membership’ that is more than £520 a year. To be eligible for CASC status these clubs will need to demonstrate that they have put in place arrangements that ensure that the club is open to the whole community - including those on low or modest incomes.

2.8.2 The law states that HMRC has to be satisfied any arrangements put in place to bring the costs associated with membership below £520 a year. There is no need to seek HMRC’s view on these arrangements. If your arrangements are the same or similar to those given below in the examples, you can assume they are acceptable. If your arrangements are different you can contact HMRC for confirmation they are acceptable.

2.8.3 Any club that has a ‘cost associated with membership’ of more than £520 a year will need to ensure that those who can’t afford to pay can still become a member and fully participate in sport at the club.

2.8.4 All arrangements need to be clearly advertised to the public. HMRC will not accept that an arrangement is acceptable if it can only be found in the small print of a membership form. HMRC would expect the provisions to be advertised widely to members and to anyone who may be considering membership. For example a club could advertise on their website, application form, clearly display the information on a noticeboard, or in a newsletter etc.

2.8.5 There is no set income limit to define who is a member who can’t afford to pay more than £520 a year. It is expected this should apply to members who are on a low or modest income. It is up to the club to decide what provisions it makes for members - the important point is that these provisions reduce the costs to £520 (or less) a year whilst still allowing the member to fully participate in the sport.

Examples of acceptable provisions

Example (H)
A club has a cost of membership over £520 a year.
It is open for most of the year and has not opted to use the ‘seasonal reduction’.
The club has decided to offer a fixed price annual membership of £520 a year for those who can’t afford to pay more.
Included in this is free access to equipment and insurance.
Those members taking advantage of this reduced memberships will not incur any other additional costs.
They advertise the fixed price membership on their application form and website.
Those who want to take advantage of the reduced price membership must apply to the secretary of the club and demonstrate that the full cost of membership would not be affordable to them.

2.8.6 HMRC would accept this as a reasonable provision for those on low or modest incomes and this club would be eligible for CASC status.

Example (I)
A golf club has a cost of membership that is £800 a year, this is mainly made up of an annual membership fee of £770.
This club decides to offer a 4 day membership to all members for £450 a year.
This new membership allows the member to play on 3 week days and either a Saturday or a Sunday.
As this membership is available to all members the club will not need to ask members for evidence that they can’t afford the full price membership, this is an acceptable provision for those on a low income.

2.8.7 Alternatively this club could offer free membership to those who can show they can’t afford to pay more than £520 a year. Members who took advantage of this would then be charged £10 per round each time they played, which could be on any day of the week. The club could also provide a number of second hand golf clubs for members to hire for no cost. The club’s website and notice board invited applications from those who can’t afford the full price membership and they were considered by the management committee.

2.8.8 When considering whether this is acceptable HMRC would look at the cost of participating once a week - which in this case would give an annual cost of membership of £520 a year.

Example (J)
A club has opted for the seasonal reduction.
Due to the weather the club is actually only open for 6 months a year and therefore must offer a costs of membership that is no more than £260.
This club allows a 5 day annual membership (including one weekend day) for £250.
This membership is available to all members.

2.8.9 For those members who can’t afford their own equipment the club has some available for hire. Usually members have to pay to hire the equipment but those who can’t afford the cost can complete a short application form to demonstrate that they can’t afford to pay more than the £260 charged for the annual membership. The club allows these members to hire the boat as many times as they like for no cost.

Provisions which would not be adequate for CASC status

2.8.10 To protect those people who can’t afford a membership cost that’s more than £520 a year, HMRC won’t accept any clubs:

  • that refuse reasonable applications for a reduced cost of membership when the applicant has clearly shown they can’t afford the full cost of participation
  • who only offer discounted memberships at times that would prevent some members from participating - for example, if the only discounted membership available was restricted to weekday mornings - as a rule of thumb HMRC would expect the membership to allow playing outside of typical working hours and on at least one day at the weekend
  • that don’t clearly show they offer reductions for those on low or modest incomes - for example, only mentioning the provisions in the club rule book or hidden somewhere in the small print in the terms of membership - all provisions should be clearly advertised to those considering whether to participate in sport at the club
  • who set a limit on the number of members requiring a provision to bring the cost of membership under £520 a year - clubs can’t limit these members and can only close membership when the club is full to all types of members

2.9 Organised on an amateur basis

2.9.1 A club is organised on an amateur basis if it:

  • is non-profit making
  • only provides the ordinary benefits of an amateur sports club for members and their guests
  • has a governing document that requires any net assets on the dissolution of the club to be applied for approved sporting or charitable purposes

2.10 Non-profit making

2.10.1 The term ‘non-profit making’ is used for various purposes within tax law - for example, in VAT the term is used to determine eligibility for certain reliefs. But there is a specific definition in relation to the CASC scheme.

2.10.2 A club is non-profit making if its constitution:

  • requires any surplus income or gains to be reinvested in the club
  • doesn’t permit any distribution of club assets in cash or in kind to members or third parties

2.10.3 This does not prevent a club making donations to charities or to other clubs that are registered as CASCs. A club which meets this condition will not necessarily be non-profit making for other purposes.

2.10.4 HMRC considers all the facts to decide whether a club meets this requirement. For example, it would not be acceptable for a privately-owned club or business to draw up rules to meet this requirement. HMRC requires detailed evidence to show a club is run as a members’ club whose rules require it to be non-profit making. The CASC scheme isn’t suitable for proprietary clubs and businesses.

2.11 Club only provides ordinary benefits of an amateur sports club

2.11.1 A club should only provide the ordinary benefits of an amateur sports club for members and their guests. These are:

  • the provision of sporting facilities
  • reasonable provision and maintenance of club-owned sports equipment
  • the provision of suitably qualified coaches
  • provision for reimbursement of the costs of coaching courses
  • insurance cover
  • the provision of medical treatment
  • the reimbursement of necessary and reasonable travel and/or subsistence* expenses incurred by players, match officials, coaches, first aiders and accompanying individuals** travelling to away matches
  • reasonable provision of post-match refreshments for players and match officials
  • the sale or supply of food or drink as a social benefit which arises incidentally from the sporting purposes of the club

*Subsistence means food, drink and temporary living accommodation.

**An accompanying individual is someone who accompanies a person who has a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 and is a player or match official.

2.12 What are necessary and reasonable travel and subsistence expenses?

2.12.1 Travel and subsistence expenses are only reasonable when the purpose of the match or sporting event are the promotion of and participation in eligible sport(s).

2.12.2 ‘Reasonable’ in this context also means that clubs should not provide excessive levels of benefits. For example, it would not be reasonable for a club to hire cars for each first team player to travel to away matches. However it would be reasonable to provide a mileage allowance or to cover the cost of travel on public transport. Similarly it would not be reasonable to reimburse first class travel costs if standard class transport was cheaper and available.

2.12.3 A CASC may only reimburse subsistence expenses when the journey is longer than a ‘reasonable daily journey’. A ‘reasonable daily journey’ is a journey where the total travel time (starting at the club base) to and from the match or sporting event is less than 4 hours. The club base is the address the club has registered with HMRC.

2.12.4 When calculating the journey length HMRC expects clubs to base this on the route and method of transport actually used by the members. If a journey takes longer than usual (due to cancellations or bad weather) HMRC will accept that it is reasonable for the club to make subsistence payments based on the time the journey actually took - the club should keep a record of the delay to demonstrate that the additional subsistence payment was still necessary and reasonable.

2.12.5 As a guide, HMRC will usually accept any amounts paid that are within the benchmark rates to be reasonable as long as they are necessary and have been incurred for the purpose of promoting participation in eligible sport.

2.12.6 Some sports governing bodies produce guidance on members’ expenses in relation to maintaining amateur status for the purpose of that particular body. Such rules should not be confused with the CASC conditions. They can include items which would not be acceptable as ordinary benefits and reasonable expenses for a CASC.

Examples of reasonable expenses

Example (K)
A rugby club based has a match which is more than 4 hours away from the club. The total travelling time will be 10 hours and a whole team, plus coach and manager will be travelling to the match. The club hires a coach to make the journey and makes a subsistence payment to each person of £10 (which is within the benchmark rates for a 10 hour day).

Example (L)
A football club arranges for its members to participate in a tournament which is 2 and a half hours away by train. The club agrees to reimburse the cost of the standard price ticket and also provides a £5 payment to each member to cover the cost of lunch.

Example (M)
A cricket team are attending a match which is an hour away. It agrees to reimburse those members who travelled by train for the price of the standard price train ticket. Those who used their own car received HMRC’s approved Mileage Allowance payments. The club does not provide any subsistence payment because the match is within reasonable daily travel.

2.13 Tours

2.13.1 Tours are likely to be costly for the club. If a club wants to fund a tour it must be able to demonstrate that the cost incurred is proportionate with meeting its main purpose of providing facilities and encouraging participation.

2.13.2 In most cases HMRC expect members to pay for their own expenses when they travel on a tour with the club. However, not everyone could afford to travel if they had to pay their own expenses so HMRC accept that payments in these circumstances would be acceptable to allow all members to fully participate as long as the main purpose of the tour was to promote participation in sport and not to have a holiday. HMRC will not accept that a luxury/expensive tour was arranged mainly for the purpose of promoting participation. Clubs that wish to contribute to the cost of a tour should ensure that the members are using reasonable standard class accommodation and transport.

2.13.3 To accept that the main purpose of the tour was to promote participation in sport HMRC normally expect to see evidence of matches played, training and other activities that serve to promote participation happening throughout the tour. HMRC accept that members might not be able to participate in sport on the days they travel if the journey takes more than 6 hours. On some tours it may not be practical to participate in sport every day. For example, a tour for junior members or tour for a club that promotes participation in a physically demanding sport. In all other circumstances HMRC expect there to be meaningful participation in the eligible sport. For example, a 30 minute training session followed by a day of sightseeing would not be acceptable.

2.13.4 Tours should be encouraging participation more widely in the sport so HMRC would expect clubs to promote and arrange tours that catered to all members, including juniors and beginners. A tour that was only for the club’s first team would not be accepted as promoting participation in the sport.

2.13.5 In some cases a tour may not involve a long trip overseas, these rules also apply to shorter events. For example, attending 3 day sporting event in another city in the UK that required an overnight stay.

2.13.6 If members want to fund a tour/holiday themselves they are able to do this but they should not donate this money to the CASC first. Gift Aid would not be due on the payment because it would be considered a payment for the holiday and not a qualifying gift. Once the CASC has received funds from the members it is required to spend this money on qualifying purposes within the CASC rules.

Examples of tours

Example (N)
A group of football clubs organise a tournament in Spain with games and other activities planned to take place over a week. As well as tournament matches, 2 promotion events are held each day, a coaching session to improve beginners’ skills, and another is a taster session to encourage non-participants to play. The matches and other events are timetabled so that every CASC member will play or participate in 2 events per day for each full day away from home.

Example (O)
A similar tournament is run by a group of tennis clubs on a knock out basis and there are no plans to use any spare time for those knocked out for tennis related events or to return home early. This tour does not ensure that there is substantial and meaningful opportunity for all players to participate in sufficient matches or promotion events during the trip. It would not be deemed acceptable under the new rules.

Example (P)
A sailing club arranged for its members to take part in an amateur regatta in France that took place over 6 days. The journey to the regatta took 5 hours and the members spent the second part of the day preparing the boats and taking part in a short classroom-based training exercise. The regatta involved taking part in one race each day and the remainder of the day was spent in training, the most inexperienced members sailed with a coach that was hired for the duration of the regatta. On the final day the members travelled home after the last race.

2.14 Sale or supply of food and drink

2.14.1 Where a club sells food and drink, this should be a social benefit which arises incidentally from the sporting purpose of the club, for example when a bar is open for post-match refreshment. Examples of incidental sale or supply would include the sale of:

  • food and drink in a cafeteria to members of a multi-sports club as part of their participation in the sporting experience
  • confectionery and snacks etc from a tuck shop to members of a gymnastics club as part of their gym session
  • drink to members of a club in the bar before, during and after games and training
  • food and drink to non-members in the bar after watching a game and being invited in for a drink by a member
  • food and drink to visiting players and spectators using the bar after a game when invited to do so by members
  • food and drink as part of a social event designed to encourage participation in the sport or to generate more regular sporting participation by club members

2.15 Payments to players

2.15.1 For HMRC to accept that a club is organised on an amateur basis they must not pay players more than £10,000 in a 12 month accounting period. There’s no limit on the number of players that a club can pay for playing as long as the total amount paid to all players is less than £10,000 a year.

2.15.2 Where an accounting period is shorter than 12 months the £10,000 limit should be proportionately reduced. For example, a club with a 10 month accounting period would only be allowed to pay players up to £8,333 a year.

2.15.3 If a club is registered midway through an accounting period the limit should also be proportionately reduced. A club registered midway through a 12 month accounting period will have a limit of £5,000 for the remainder of that accounting period and then a limit of £10,000 for the next 12 month accounting period.

2.15.4 A CASC can’t make payments to a player that plays for another club. Also any cash or benefits provided by third parties connected to the CASC will still count towards the paid player limit.

2.15.5 To work out how much your club can pay players you must also include the value of any non-cash benefits. HMRC expects clubs to follow the benefits code to work out the value of any benefits they offer to paid players. The value of the benefit is worked out on the ‘cash equivalent’ of the benefit - this is usually the cost to the club less any amount made good by the paid player. In some cases there could be a scale charge (for example car benefits), so to work out the amount of the cash equivalent in each case you’ll need to look at the instructions for that particular benefit.

2.15.6 Amounts paid to players must be agreed on an ‘arm’s length’ basis, or on a basis that is in the club’s favour. Any payments made to a player more than would be expected if agreed on an ‘arm’s length’ basis, would not be an allowable payment to a player. This would mean that the club was not organised on an amateur basis.

2.15.7 ‘Arm’s length’ means that the arrangement should be entered into by both parties as if they were acting independently of each other, in their own self-interest and as if they were in no way connected.

2.15.8 CASCs can only pay players for playing in an eligible sport. HMRC accepts that this can include payments made to a player for:

  • training for the purposes of playing an eligible sport
  • travel for the purposes of playing or training for an eligible sport (this does not include allowable travel and subsistence payments for away matches or tours)

2.15.9 Certain people connected to the club can’t be paid to play for the club, these are:

  • managers or officers of the club
  • those who are connected to a manager or officer of the club

2.15.10 Managers are the people who have general control over the club and management of the administration of the club.

2.15.11 People who are connected to managers include:

  • a spouse or civil partner
  • a relative - parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister
  • a spouse or civil partner of relatives
  • relatives of spouse or civil partner

For the full list of connected persons see Section 1122 of the CT Act 2010.

2.16 Paying members for good and services

2.16.1 Payments to members for non-playing services don’t count towards the £10,000 limit. Clubs may enter into agreements with members to supply goods or services to the club, or employ members. This means that clubs can pay members for work done on a self-employed basis, or as staff for the club, provided that the arrangements are the same as if the people doing the work were unrelated to the club. Examples would include catering services, bar work, coaching and ground work.

Example (Q)
A cricket club pays a member for his services as a groundsman. The rates of pay are no higher than the local commercial rate. Providing the club can show evidence of having sought quotes from elsewhere and isn’t paying in excess this would be acceptable for a CASC.

Example (R)
An amateur football club pays 2 members who also play for them in a local league. They are paid for coaching and development roles with the club’s junior squads which are open to all, regardless of ability. They are not paid for playing in the league matches and the rates paid reflect the duties performed. This is acceptable for a CASC.

2.17 Prizes and competitions

2.17.1 Clubs may want to arrange prize competitions where the nature of both the competition and the prize is such as to promote participation in the sport. This is allowed where the value of prizes is in keeping with amateur participation in the particular sport, and would not prevent a club from being registered. Competitions with prizes of sufficient value or of such frequency to attract professionals are not acceptable for a CASC.

Example (S)
A golf club holds a series of competitions for members throughout its season. Although individual events may be limited by gender or golf handicap, all members are able to participate in some of the competitions. Prizes of golf equipment, for example bags, shoes, balls or £50 vouchers redeemable at the club shop are awarded. This is acceptable.

Example (T)
A bowling club organises various competitions during the season for club members with cash prizes subsidised by a brewery. All members are able to enter the competitions and there is no handicap applied which would give most members an average chance of winning. The effect is that a small group of the best players will often win the prizes and so derive significant benefit from these arrangements. A club that subsidised a section of its members in this way would be unlikely to qualify as a CASC.

2.18 Use of assets on dissolution

2.18.1 A club’s constitution must provide for any net assets on the dissolution of the club to be applied for approved sporting or charitable purposes. The ‘net assets’ of a club means what is left after paying debts and meeting other legally payable liabilities.

2.18.2 ‘Approved’ in this context means approved by the members of a club in a general meeting, or approved by the members of the club’s governing body. The governing body for the club means its management committee. ‘Sporting or charitable purpose’ in this context means one of the following. The purposes of:

  • the governing body of a sport for the purposes of which the club existed, for use in the related community sport - this is restricted to ‘community sports’ because most governing bodies have wider purposes than the community amateur clubs they represent
  • another CASC - this means the purposes of a registered CASC - some clubs allow for distributions to other sports clubs with similar objects to their own, but which are not registered CASCs, this isn’t acceptable - a club with similar objects might fail the CASC requirements for other reasons such as its dissolution clause
  • a charity - this means the purposes of a charity as defined in the Taxes Acts

2.18.3 A club can have a dissolution clause that provides for repayment of any unspent grant to be made to a grant-making body, where this was a condition of the original grant. Once the contractual obligation to repay any unspent grant had been met the residual surplus must be applied for approved sporting or charitable purposes as outlined above.

2.18.4 Examples of unacceptable provisions for CASC eligibility are:

  • a provision for the assets to be divided amongst the members
  • no provision at all for the assets on dissolution
  • a provision for assets to be given to non-charitable or not-for-profit organisations other than another registered CASC or charity

2.19 Provide facilities for or promote participation in an eligible sport

2.19.1 The main purpose of the club must be clearly stated in its governing document, or constitution, and must be to provide facilities for, and encourage participation in one or more eligible sports.

2.19.2 Eligible sports are those on the list of recognised sports which is maintained by the National Sports Councils.

2.19.3 HMRC can’t consider applications from clubs whose sport isn’t listed by a National Sports Council. The ‘National Sports Councils’ are UK Sport, Sport England, Sport Scotland, the Sports Council of Wales and the Sports Council of Northern Ireland. Any requests for new activities to be added to the list should be addressed to the appropriate National Sports Council.

2.20 Main purpose

2.20.1 A club must promote participation in an eligible sport and also provide facilities for playing the sport. A club does not necessarily have to own premises to ‘provide facilities’ - it may, for example, hire premises. Other clubs which simply organise opportunities for members to participate in the sport may qualify. For example, small football clubs may hire or borrow facilities provided by the local authority. Some cycling clubs have standing arrangements to meet at a particular time and place for club rides. This would amount to providing facilities.

2.20.2 The provision of facilities itself does not amount to the promotion of participation in sport. Clubs must also encourage all members to participate regardless of ability. It’s not enough to provide facilities to enable a small number of members who are sports enthusiasts to take part. The emphasis must be on encouraging as many members of different abilities as possible to take part.

2.20.3 Most clubs are able to meet this condition as they are structured in a way that caters for all abilities. For example, a club might field a number of teams ranging in ability from novice players to a high standard. This is acceptable as long as the overall emphasis is on participation. A club that only allows participation at an elite level, with other members being spectators rather than players isn’t acceptable.

2.20.4 Some clubs have the main purpose of providing social leisure facilities. If this is the case they will not be able to register as CASCs, because these clubs are principally places for people to meet for social purposes even though some sporting activities take place.

2.20.5 Some social clubs provide sporting facilities and establish teams that help some members to participate in sport, but this isn’t enough to be a CASC. A club must be able to demonstrate that it has the promotion of participation in eligible sport as its main purpose. For example, many pubs run Sunday league football teams. This encourages participation in sport, but this isn’t the main purpose of the pub, which is to sell food and drink. Therefore this would not qualify as a CASC.

2.20.6 Certain clubs are structured in ways that make it difficult for them to qualify as a CASC. Sometimes there are a number of separate clubs all using the same grounds and club house. Where there is a separate body running the facilities on behalf of the clubs this body will struggle to demonstrate that it is itself promoting participation in sport.

2.20.7 The club that provides the facilities must also fully satisfy all the conditions itself to be registered as a CASC. It can’t simply provide the facilities for the other clubs. It must also be a sports club that actively encourages participation for all its members. The fact that it also allows other clubs, whether registered or not as CASCs, to use the facilities as well doesn’t prevent it from being a CASC as long as its main purpose is to provide facilities for its own members and to promote participation for these members.

2.21 Social membership threshold and the meaning of participation

2.21.1 To meet the main purpose test a club must ensure at least 50% of the members are ‘participating members’. To be a participating member they must participate in the sporting activities of the club on a number of occasions that is equal to or more than the club’s participation threshold. The participation threshold is based on the number of weeks in the club’s accounting period but there are reduced thresholds for members who join or leave a club at a time other than the start of an accounting period.

2.21.2 For family or other group memberships each individual member will be counted separately for the purposes of this test.

2.21.3 Where a club that originally fulfilled this requirement finds that over half of its members no longer participate in sport then the club will need to take action to encourage existing members to participate or recruit new members who will actively participate. Clubs could also consider restricting the number of social memberships available to ensure the threshold isn’t exceeded.

2.21.4 Examples of ‘participating in the sporting activities of the club’ are:

  • participating in an eligible sport organised by the club
  • being a match official for an eligible sport for the club
  • coaching club members in an eligible sport
  • providing first aid to people playing an eligible sport for the club
  • being an accompanying individual for the club
  • driving a club vehicle, or a vehicle hired by the club, to transport those persons listed above
  • preparing or maintaining club sporting facilities or equipment for use in an eligible sport
  • being an officer, or a committee member of the club
  • undertaking a relevant training course

2.21.5 Clubs will need to keep sufficient records to allow them to work out whether they have met the requirement to have 50% of their members participating in eligible sport.

2.21.6 Examples of records you could keep include:

  • a signing-in book for members to use when they participate at the club
  • records of training courses attended
  • records of membership participation in matches (whether as a participant or as a volunteer preparing facilities or driving the club vehicle)

2.21.7 This isn’t a complete list and HMRC is willing to consider other types of evidence as long as the club can show that it is a reliable record of participation. If a club is forced to cancel a planned event due to circumstances outside of their control they should keep evidence of the circumstances and if necessary, contact their sport’s governing body or HMRC for advice.

2.21.8 You may want to use the tables below (which are taken from the Community Amateur Sports Clubs Regulations 2015 - to work out what their participation threshold is. A sports club that is open all year should use the following table.

Number of weeks in the club’s accounting period Participation threshold (number of days)
4 or fewer 1
5 to 8 2
9 to 12 3
13 to 16 4
17 to 20 5
21 to 24 6
25 to 28 7
29 to 31 8
32 to 35 9
36 to 39 10
40 to 43 11
44 or more 12

2.21.9 Some clubs may have members that join or leave at some point during an accounting period. Some of these members may have a reduced participation threshold, this will depend on how long they have been a member during that accounting period. To work out if they are a participating member you should use this table to calculate what the member’s participation threshold is:

Number of weeks of membership Participation threshold (number of days)
4 or fewer 1
5 to 8 2
9 to 12 3
13 to 16 4
17 to 20 5
21 to 24 6
25 to 28 7
29 to 31 8
32 to 35 9
36 to 39 10
40 to 43 11
44 or more 12

2.21.10 Clubs that offer seasonal sports will have the opportunity to reduce their participation threshold for all members. The new lower threshold will be based instead on the number of weeks that the club is open during the accounting period. A club is considered to be open during any given week if any of the facilities provided by the club are made available to members for any part of the week.

Example (U)
A sailing club is open 26 weeks in an accounting period, they choose to use the seasonal reduction. The members of this sailing club will be participating members if they participate on at least 7 occasions in the period.

Example (V)
A cricket club with a 12 month accounting period has worked out that they are open for 40 weeks a year. They have decided to use the seasonal reduction and as a result its members will need to participate on 11 occasions in the accounting period to be a participating member.

2.21.11 If your club elects to lower the participation threshold you should use the following table to work out your threshold.

Number of weeks the club is open Participation threshold (number of days)
4 or fewer 1
5 to 8 2
9 to 12 3
13 to 16 4
17 to 20 5
21 to 24 6
25 to 28 7
29 to 31 8
32 to 35 9
36 to 39 10
40 to 43 11
44 or more 12

2.22 The income condition

2.22.1 CASCs can earn up to £100,000 a year from non-member trading and property income, known as the ‘relevant threshold’. There’s no limit on the amount of income clubs can generate from members (apart from property income from members which also counts towards the £100,000 cap).

2.22.2 ‘Property Income’ for purposes of this test means gross income* (or receipts) from a UK property business or an overseas property business. For example, this would include income received from renting out the club’s grounds or clubhouse.

2.22.3 ‘Trading income’ for the purposes of this test means turnover* (or receipts) from a trade or activity other than a trade which would be chargeable under Chapter 2 of Part 3 of CTA 2009, whether or not that trade or activity is carried on wholly or partly in the UK

*This means the total amount of money received by the club, not the profit generated after deducting expenses.

2.22.4 The relevant threshold is £100,000 in accounting periods lasting 12 months and will be proportionately reduced in shorter accounting periods. For example, a club with a 6 month accounting period would have a relevant threshold of £50,000. If the income from non-member trading and property exceeded £50,000 in that short accounting period they would fail the income condition.

2.22.5 HMRC would not register a club that doesn’t meet the income condition. If your club is already registered and you think you might exceed the threshold, HMRC would expect your club to take steps to reduce the level of non-member trading and property income earned by your club. One way that you could do this is to set up a trading subsidiary which is owned by the CASC. Alternatively you could choose to reduce the income received from non-members and property to ensure your club meets the income condition.

2.22.6 If a registered CASC has income that exceeds the relevant threshold and refuses to take steps to meet the income condition then they will be deregistered from the CASC scheme, they will lose all CASC reliefs and may face a tax charge based on the value of the club’s assets.

2.23 Trading subsidiaries

2.23.1 If a CASC is considering setting up a trading subsidiary it should consider seeking professional accountancy and legal advice. You could also consider contacting your sport’s governing body who may be able to provide further advice and assistance.

2.23.2 If your club is already a registered CASC with high levels of non-member trading income and/or property income and you don’t want to be deregistered you may want to consider setting up a trading subsidiary. Any income that is generated by a trading subsidiary will not count towards the club’s income threshold.

2.23.3 A trading subsidiary should be owned and controlled by the CASC. The trading subsidiary can trade but will not be entitled to any CASC reliefs.

2.23.4 Trading subsidiaries owned by CASCs are liable to pay tax on trading profits in the same way as other non-CASC businesses.

2.23.5 Trading subsidiaries owned by CASCs may be able to benefit from corporate Gift Aid on a donations made to the CASC. Donations made under corporate Gift Aid can reduce the profits chargeable to CT.

2.23.6 For VAT the trading subsidiary will be treated in the same way as a normal commercial enterprise.

2.24 The management condition

2.24.1 This condition for eligibility as a CASC was added by the Finance Act 2010 Schedule 6 Part 3. The condition is met where a club’s managers are fit and proper persons. ‘Club’s managers’ mean people who have the general control and management of the administration of the club. This might include committee members.

2.24.2 Where the management condition has not been met, HMRC has some discretion to treat it as having been met in some circumstances, where any failure to meet the management condition has not prejudiced the purposes of the club. HMRC may apply this discretion if it considers that either the:

  • manager isn’t able to influence the application of the CASC’s funds
  • circumstances are such that it is ‘just and reasonable’ to treat the management condition as being met

2.24.3 The fit and proper person test is the same as that used in relation to charities.

2.25 The location condition

2.25.1 The location condition for eligibility as a CASC was added by the Finance Act 2010 Schedule 6 Part 3 to make it clear that the CASC scheme is open to qualifying sports clubs in other EU member states and relevant territories.

2.25.2 This condition is met where a club:

  • is established in a member state or relevant territory
  • provides its facilities in a single member state or relevant territory

2.25.3 The meaning of ‘relevant territory’ is the same as that used for charities in paragraph 2(3)(b) of the Finance Act 2010 Schedule 6 Part 3.

2.26 Do you have a suitable governing document?

2.26.1 HMRC must be satisfied that a club already meets the conditions of the CASC scheme before it can register them. This means that the club should be acting in a CASC compliant way, run by its members with a CASC compliant governing document.

2.26.2 HMRC has the discretion to specify any date for registration, even a date that is before the date of the application. HMRC can register a club from the beginning of the accounting period in which the application was made as long as the club can satisfy HMRC that the scheme requirements were met throughout that period. If a club has changed its constitution to meet the eligibility criteria, HMRC will only register a club as a CASC from the date that new rules were formally adopted by the club’s members.

2.26.3 If a club acted as a CASC in practice but did not have a suitable governing document the application would be refused. For example, if a club is already acting in a CASC compliant way and there are no other problems with the application, except that they need to make amendments to their governing document, HMRC will usually write to the club explaining that they can’t be registered at this time. If the members agree to make changes to the governing document HMRC could register the club from the date the members agree to adopt the revised rules.

2.26.4 HMRC has drafted some examples of clauses that meet the legal requirements. If a club decides to adopt these model clauses in its governing document then they will also need to make sure that no other part of the governing document conflicts with them. If you have any concerns about your governing document you should contact your sport’s governing body for advice.

2.26.5 If you are already a registered CASC then you only need to amend your governing document if it does not meet the requirements. It isn’t necessary to an already acceptable governing document to include the exact wording in the model clauses.

3. The benefits of becoming a CASC

3.1 Tax reliefs

3.1.1 Registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to certain tax reliefs Exemption from Corporation Tax (CT) on:

  • UK trading profits if the turnover from that trade is less than £50,000 a year (£30,000 a year before 1 April 2015)
  • UK property income if the total income from property is less than £30,000 a year (£20,000 a year before 1 April 2015)
  • interest received
  • chargeable gains

3.1.2 If your club is only registered part way through your accounting period then these reliefs will be reduced based on the number of months that you have been a CASC.

3.1.3 To be eligible for these reliefs your club must use all of its income and gains for qualifying purposes. This means that you must use your money to promote participation and provide facilities for your eligible sport. If you don’t use all of your income and gains for qualifying purposes then you may have to pay tax.

3.2 Other benefits

3.2.1 CASCs also benefit from:

3.2.2 There are no specific VAT reliefs for CASCs (unlike charities). CASCs are therefore not eligible for the charity VAT reliefs on purchases of goods and services.

4. Donating to a CASC

4.1 Individual donations

4.1.1 Individuals can make donations to CASCs through Gift Aid.

4.1.2 Gift Aid is only available on gifts and can’t be claimed on membership subscriptions or any other payments for goods or services.

4.1.3 Once registered with HMRC a CASC can submit Gift Aid claims to HMRC for donations that are eligible.

4.1.4 In order to operate the Gift Aid scheme, CASCs need to keep records to show how much has been received from each donor who has made a declaration. CASCs must keep sufficient records to show that their tax reclaims are accurate. In other words, they must keep records that enable them to show:

  • an audit trail linking each donation to an identifiable donor who has given a valid Gift Aid declaration
  • that all the other conditions for the tax relief are satisfied

4.1.5 If a CASC does not keep adequate records it may be required to pay back to HMRC the tax reclaimed, with interest. It may also be liable to a penalty under the Self Assessment rules.

4.2 Gift Aid small donations

4.2.1 The Gift Aid small donations scheme allows eligible CASCs to claim a ‘top up’ payment on cash donations of £20 or less. You don’t need to know the identity of the donors or collect Gift Aid declarations, which makes it easier to claim on donations like street collections.

4.3 Non-qualifying expenditure

4.3.1 Non-qualifying expenditure is expenditure that isn’t incurred for the purposes of:

  • promoting participation in eligible sport
  • providing facilities for eligible sport

4.3.2 If a CASC incurs non-qualifying expenditure then some of the relief it is entitled to may be restricted, or removed completely. To work out how the exemptions are reduced you should use the following formula.

Reduction in exemptions =
relevant Income and relevant gains x non-qualifying expenditure ÷ income receipts and chargeable gains

Relevant income and relevant gains (RIRG)

4.3.3 This is the total amount of exempt income and gains in the accounting period.

Non-qualifying expenditure

4.3.4 This is the total amount of non-qualifying expenditure in the accounting period.

Income receipts and Chargeable Gains (IRCG)

4.3.5 This is the total amount of income and gains in that year and includes non-taxable income received from members.

Example (W)
A CASC incurs non-qualifying expenditure of £5,000.
They need to work out how much CT relief will be restricted.
They have RIRG of £35,000 and IRCG of £60,000.
The RIRG is made up of £30,000 trading income which is exempt from CT and £5,000 of donations made under Corporate Gift Aid.
The IRCG is made up of £30,000 trading income, £5,000 of Gift Aid and £25,000 income from members.
The reduction in their exemption is worked out as follows: £35,000 x (£5,000/£60,000) = £2,916.67.
The CASC will have a CT liability and will need to complete a Self Assessment return.

5. Leaving the scheme

5.1 CASC status

5.1.1 CASC status is intended to be permanent. A CASC can never ask to be deregistered and an application can’t be withdrawn once it has been sent in to HMRC. The only exception is for those sent in for clearance under the incorporation process although if HMRC refuses to register a club the application is, in effect, cancelled.

5.1.2 It is important that you make sure that CASC status is right for your club before submitting an application. Once you have sent in an application form HMRC must consider whether your club meets the conditions and if it does then HMRC must register your club as a CASC.

5.1.3 Once you’ve applied to be registered as a CASC and your application is accepted your club will remain a CASC until:

  • your club is closed/wound-up
  • HMRC deregisters your club because it no longer meets the conditions
  • the members have voted to close the club and transfer the assets and activities to a registered charity

6. If a CASC no longer meets the conditions

Between 1 April 2015 to 1 April 2016 all registered CASCs need to consider whether they meet all the new eligibility rules introduced on 1 April 2015. The conditions for being a CASC are explained in Chapter 1.


If a registered CASC doesn’t meet the new rules they have until 1 April 2016 to make any changes needed.


Some clubs won’t be able to make the changes needed to keep their CASC status, or the club’s members may decide that they don’t want to make the changes required. These clubs should write to HMRC as soon as possible explaining that the Club doesn’t meet the new conditions of being a CASC. See Charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs for our address.


If HMRC is satisfied that your club has always been compliant with the CASC rules (before the changes on 1 April 2015) then the club’s deregistration date will be 1 April 2016. There will be no deregistration or exit charge on the club.


If a club has not met the CASC rules for many years (eg, they have never been ‘open to all’) then HMRC will backdate deregistration to the appropriate date and a charge to CT may apply (loss of any CASC reliefs and a deregistration charge based on the assets held by the club).

6.1 Deregistration

6.1.1 Where it appears that a club isn’t entitled to be registered as a CASC, or is no longer entitled to be so registered, HMRC may terminate the club’s registration. HMRC may choose the date for deregistration. HMRC must notify the club accordingly of the decision. In practice HMRC will write to the secretary of the club. There’s no other provision for a club to be removed from the CASC register. A club can’t simply ask to be removed.

6.1.2 If a club that has been registered as a CASC subsequently wants to become a charity, it can’t do so without winding up the club and transferring the assets and activities to a charity.

6.1.3 When a registered CASC is deregistered by HMRC a charge to CT may arise in respect of the club’s property. This is because the CASC rules deem the club to have disposed of its property and reacquired it at market value on the date of deregistration. There’s no tax exemption available for any chargeable gain that arises.

6.1.4 Where the proceeds of any previous disposals have contributed to the base cost of that property for chargeable gain purposes any gains arising from those disposals will come into charge.

6.1.5 For this reason it is important for club members to fully understand what CASC status means before applying. For example, if there’s any chance that they may want to sell off the ground for development in the future and share the profits between them, then CASC status isn’t a suitable option.

6.1.6 Before applying for CASC status clubs should also consider whether they will be able to meet the conditions of the scheme in the future. For example, where the first team is promoted to a higher league and players are paid for playing in excess of the £10,000 limit, the club would fail to satisfy the CASC conditions. The club would be deregistered and a charge to CT could arise on any club property. Therefore CASC status may not be a suitable option for clubs where members are aiming to become professional or semi-professional.

6.1.7 HMRC can deregister a club from any date of its choosing so it would be possible to choose the date of original registration so that the club would be treated as if it had never been a CASC. Any tax refunds or exemptions arising from the clubs CASC status would be withdrawn. In practice this is only likely to happen where a club has deliberately set out to deceive by providing false information in its application. A club can appeal against this decision.

6.1.8 CASCs that have always been fully compliant with the rules prior to 1 April 2015 will be given 12 months from the 1 April 2015 to meet the requirements of the new rules. If any of these CASCs are still unable to meet the new conditions after this time they will be deregistered with effect from 1 April 2016.

6.2 Closing a CASC

6.2.1 The members of a CASC can vote to close a club as long as they do this by following the terms of their governing document. If the members decide to close the club they must ensure that the club applies its ‘net assets’ for CASC approved sporting or charitable purposes. The ‘net assets’ of a club means what is left after paying debts and meeting other legally payable liabilities. The club must also contact HMRC as soon as possible to inform them of the decision to close so that the club can be deregistered.

6.2.2 HMRC may ask the club for information and/or documents to make sure that the net assets have been transferred to one or more of:

  • the governing body of a sport for the purposes of which the club existed, for use in the related community sport - this is restricted to ‘community sports’ because most governing bodies have wider purposes than the community amateur clubs they represent
  • another CASC
  • a charity

6.2.3 HMRC may also issue the club with a CT return. This needs to be completed and returned even if the club has no tax to pay.

6.2.4 Before closing, a club may repay of any unspent grant to the grant-making body, where this was a condition of the original grant. Once the contractual obligation to repay any unspent grant had been met the residual surplus must be applied for approved sporting or charitable purposes as outlined at 6.2.2.

6.3 Appeals

6.3.1 Clubs may appeal against HMRC’s decision on registration or termination. The normal rules for tax appeals apply. An appeal must be made in writing to HMRC within 30 days of the notification and must state the grounds of appeal. This decision can then be appealed to the Tribunal.

6.3.2 The Tribunal may reverse a decision on registration or termination. It may put the club back on the register, change the date of termination, or pass the matter back to HMRC for reconsideration. The usual appeals provisions apply as they do to any tax appeals.

6.3.3 CASCs can appoint tax advisers to deal with HMRC regarding their tax affairs.

7. Can a CASC become a charity?

7.1 CASC or charity status

7.1.1 A registered CASC can’t apply to be recognised as a charity. This is set out in the Charities Act 2011 (CA 2011). However, it is open to any sports club which isn’t a registered CASC to apply to the Charity Commission or other charity regulator to be registered as a charity as an alternative to CASC status.

7.1.2 Clubs that are considering whether to apply for charitable status shouldn’t apply for CASC status. Where HMRC is satisfied that a club is entitled to be registered as a CASC they have no option but to register upon receiving an application. This would mean that the club would no longer be entitled to be a charity under CA 2011.

7.1.3 If a registered CASC later decided it wanted to become a charity it would need to:

  • set up a new charity
  • register the new charity with the Charity Commission
  • apply for recognition as a charity for tax purposes with HMRC
  • wind up the CASC and transfer assets and activities to the charity
  • inform HMRC that the CASC was closed so that HMRC could deregister the club

7.1.4 There are also different rules for what type of club can become a charity, for further information contact the relevant charity regulator.

7.1.5 When considering whether to apply for CASC status or Charity status you should also be aware that the tax reliefs available to Charities are different from those available to CASCs.