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HMRC internal manual

Business Income Manual

Meaning of trade: mutual trading and members clubs: mutual associations: specific activities: Chambers of Commerce: introduction and layout of guidance

Chambers of Commerce are local, independent, non-profit making and non-party political organisations. They are funded by membership subscriptions. There is a representative body, The British Chambers of Commerce to which most Chambers are affiliated. The British Chambers of Commerce maintains a website here.

The typical Chamber is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee.

Chambers exist in most towns and cities. Their articles usually say that the purpose of the Chamber is to protect and promote commerce and manufacture of the locality. Chambers vary in size; some count their membership in thousands and some have less than a hundred.

Chambers provide services and member benefits under a range of headings:

  • services to individual members (for example business training, information resources, networking and savings on essential overheads),
  • access to a range of suppliers of products and services including stakeholder pensions, healthcare, legal protection and digital certificates, and
  • association with the world-wide network of Chambers of Commerce enabling easier entry to the global marketplace and access to influential decision makers and opinion formers.

Over the years there has been a trend to become more commercially orientated. This has involved the development of income streams beyond membership subscription.

The following guidance covers:

BIM24755 Is the Chamber trading?
BIM24760 If the Chamber is trading, is that trade a mutual trade?