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HMRC internal manual

VAT Sport Manual

Supplies to non-members

The ECJ case of the Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club Limited (C-495/12) considered whether the exemption applied to golf green fees paid by players who were not members of the club in order to have access to Bridport’s golf courses. HMRC’S position was that the payment of green fees by a non-member to a non- profit making membership club was a taxable supply of services.  HMRC had taken the view that payments by non-members were additional income to the club.

The ECJ ruled that:

  • if the supply was provided by a non-profit making body, then the supply was covered by the exemption and it was immaterial whether the supply was being provided to a member or a visiting non-member.
  • green fees paid by non-members were not additional income for the golf club because they were part of its main income, necessary for golf to be played and they were therefore entitled to treat the income as exempt .

Item 3 to Group 10 was amended with effect from 1 January 2015 to remove the reference to membership schemes so as to ensure that any supply of services closely linked with and essential to sport  made to an individual is exempt.