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HMRC internal manual

VAT Land and Property

Letting of sports facilities (Item 1m): the recipient of the supply

Where there is a single let of the facility for a continuous period of over 24 hours to the same person, and that person has exclusive control of the facilities throughout the period, the supply will be exempt regardless of the status of the person receiving the supply.

However, where there is a series of lets for ten or more sessions, one of the conditions which must be met in order for the exemption to apply is that the facilities are let to a school, a club, an association or an organisation representing affiliated clubs or constituent associations.

What is a club or association?

Clubs and associations may be unincorporated or incorporated associations, unincorporated or incorporated members’ clubs, employees’ or trade union social clubs, proprietary clubs or service messes. In its simplest context individual teams can be treated as clubs, provided that they conduct their affairs in the same manner. This would mean entering into formal agreements with the owner of the sports facilities, collecting subscriptions from members and so forth. It is also possible to allow committees and teams being part of the main club to individually be treated as clubs in their own right, provided that they conduct their affairs as if they were a club.

You can find more information about clubs and associations in VBNB VAT Business/Non Business, VBNB60000 Clubs and associations.

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What is a school?

A school is an institution that provides statutory education (primary or secondary) required by the Education Act 1996.

For example, the hire of a dance studio to a comprehensive school would qualify for exemption (provided the other conditions are met). But a dance studio hired by a ‘Dance School’, which makes supplies of dance tuition to members of the public in return for payment, would not qualify for exemption since a ‘Dance School’ is not an educational institution providing primary or secondary education.