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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Debt and return pursuit: VAT: liability for payment: members of unincorporated associations

An unincorporated association is an association of persons not in partnership and not registered under any Act of Parliament (e.g. the Friendly Societies Act 1992).

Regulation 8 of the VAT Regulations 1995 provides:

“Anything required to be done by or under the Act, these Regulations or otherwise by or on behalf of a club, association or organisation, the affairs of which are managed by its members or a committee or committees of its members, shall be the joint and several responsibility of-

(a) Every member holding office as president, chairman, treasurer, secretary, or any similar office; or in default thereof,

(b) Every member holding office as a member of a committee; or in default of any thereof,

(c) Every member,

provided that if it is done by any official, committee member or member referred to above, that shall be sufficient compliance with any such requirement.” 

The liability under Regulation 8 includes a responsibility to pay and account for tax properly. However, as a matter of policy do not attempt to bankrupt any member for the non-payment of association debts.

Although an association is not a legal entity separate from its members it may be wound up as an unregistered company under Part V of the Insolvency Act 1986 if its constitution and rules provide for it to be so wound up.