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HMRC internal manual

VAT Trade Unions and Professional Bodies

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Trade unions and professional bodies: Background and law: UK law - current

The relevant exemptions are currently set out in “Group 9” of “Schedule 9” to the “VAT Act 1994”.

Item No.

  1. The supply to its members of such services and, in connection with those services, of such goods as are both referable only to its aims and available without payment other than a membership subscription by any of the following non-profit-making organisations-
(a) a trade union or other organisation of persons having as its main object the negotiation on behalf of its members of the terms and conditions of their employment;
  
(b) a professional association, membership of which is wholly or mainly restricted to individuals who have or are seeking a qualification appropriate to the practice of the profession concerned;
  
(c) an association, the primary purpose of which is the advancement of a particular branch of knowledge, or the fostering of professional expertise, connected with the past or present professions or employments of its members;
  
(d) an association, the primary purpose of which is to make representations to the Government on legislation and other public matters which affect the business or professional interests of its members.
  
(e) a body which has objects which are in the public domain and are of a political, religious, patriotic, philosophical, philanthropic or civic nature.

Notes:

(1) Item 1 does not include any right of admission to any premises, event or performance, to which non-members are admitted for a consideration.

(2) “Trade union” has the meaning assigned to it by section 1 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

(3) Item 1 shall include organisations and associations the membership of which consists wholly or mainly of constituent or affiliated associations which as individual associations would be comprised in the item; and “member” shall be construed as including such an association and “membership subscription” shall include an affiliation fee or similar levy.

(4) Paragraph (c) does not apply unless the association restricts its membership wholly or mainly to individuals whose present or previous professions or employments are directly connected with the purposes of the association.

(5) Paragraph (d) does not apply unless the association restricts its membership wholly or mainly to individuals or corporate bodies whose business or professional interests are directly connected with the purposes of the association.