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HMRC internal manual

VAT Youth Clubs

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The meaning of association of youth clubs: General Policy

Unlike the term “Youth clubs,” there is no legal definition of the term “association of youth clubs”

Our policy is that an association of youth clubs should be comprised of members who themselves are youth clubs. The meaning of association of youth clubs was also considered in the tribunal World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (Lon/83/217).

HMRC believed that supplies made by the World Association to its member organisations in return for subscriptions were exempt because the World Association is an association of youth clubs. The World Association appealed against this decision.

It would of course benefit the World Association to be treated as a taxable person as it would be able to claim input tax whilst most of its supplies would be zero-rated.

The Tribunal concluded the World Association could not be described as an association of youth clubs as it did not provide recreational, educational, social or cultural activities wholly or mainly for young persons under the age of 21. Rather it held that these were advisory services to the National Organisations, who the tribunal considered may well be associations of youth clubs themselves, to facilitate and assist them in the furtherance of their objects.

Therefore, the supplies of advisory services that the World Association made to the National Organisations were deemed to be taxable.

It was not disputed by either party that a branch or body of girl guides or girl scouts in the United Kingdom was not a ‘youth Club’, or that the UK Organisation was not an ‘association of youth clubs’. However, the tribunal ruled that the World Association was not an ‘association of youth clubs’ within the meaning of these words as given in Item 6.