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HMRC internal manual

VAT Registration

HM Revenue & Customs
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Entity to be registered: clubs and associations: clubs registered under the Friendly Societies Acts

A club or society providing benefits for workmen in connection with a workshop, factory, dock, shop or warehouse may qualify as a shop club or thrift fund (as defined in the Shop Clubs Act 1902). It normally conforms to the definition of a working men’s club for the purposes of the Friendly Societies Acts and may be registered under those Acts.

If the club is certified as a shop club by the Registrar of Friendly Societies, the employer may require a workman to join it as a condition of his employment.

Before a registrar can certify a shop club he must be satisfied that

  • it affords to workmen benefits of a substantial kind to which the employer as well as the workmen contribute
  • it is of a permanent character and not a society which divides its funds periodically
  • a workman who leaves his employment may continue his membership of the club if he wishes to do so (subject to the loss of his right to participate in the management of the club by voting or otherwise)
  • not less than three quarters of the workmen desire the establishment of the club.

If you feel that you need to confirm the status of the club, you should call for copies of the constitution, the rules, the articles and memoranda of association and the certificate of registration under the Friendly Societies Acts. The terms and details of these documents will spell out the way the club is organised and who is entitled to do what and to what property. This should allow you to make an informed decision about what sort of club it is.

These clubs fall within the definition of club or association under the VAT Act 1994, section 46(3) and registration should be in the name of the club under status ‘7’ (other).