Hockey VAT case boosts sports clubs

hockey club

Hundreds of sporting organisations are set to reclaim VAT from affiliation
fees paid to national bodies following a decision by the European Court of

The ECJ ruled in favour of Canterbury Hockey Club after it began proceedings
with the court in July. It objected to being charged VAT on fees payable to
England Hockey.

Steve Hodgetts, VAT partner at
Baker Tilly, said
that between 200 and 300 sports clubs are likely to benefit from the decision,
but it is difficult to quantify precisely how many associations are paying VAT
on subscriptions when they potentially should not be.

The exemption applies to services supplied to corporate persons and to
unincorporated associations, as well as those supplied to not-for-profit

Baker Tilly has received a number of enquiries from sporting clubs and
organisations, particularly as reclaims could extend back more than a decade.

‘All sports bodies should consider the impact on themselves and their
organisations. It has the potential to be corrected back to 1996 so it’s of
interest in retrospect, correcting the position,’ said Hodgetts.

Canterbury Hockey
brought the case five years ago, and is likely to be considered as the
test-case on the issue.

While sporting groups across the country are now expected to commence the
process of backdating VAT paid on fees, the total rebate is not expected to be a
significant sum.

HM Revenue &
is also now expected to issue further guidance on the matter.

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