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HMRC internal manual

VAT Business/Non-Business Manual

Clubs and associations: unrelated non-business activities

Some bodies take the view that every activity in which they engage should be regarded as a business activity. This is because they are deemed to be in business under section 94(2)(a) of the VAT Act 1994. This view is wrong.

Membership activity is separate from any other activities that a body carries out. A body that is in business insofar as supplies are made to its members may have other activities that are non-business.

A good indicator is that if a body’s subscriptions contain a donational element it is likely to have non-business activities. However, bodies whose subscriptions are fully taxable may also have some non-business activities. The most common non-business activities include:

  • free admissions to premises for non-members
  • promoting political beliefs or lobbying for a cause
  • providing free literature to non-members.

You will find full details about the business tests and the consequences of non-business in VBNB22000.