The case was brought to the ECJ by a hockey club claiming they should not have to pay VAT on affiliation fees to England Hockey. The ECJ ruled that subscriptions paid to non-profit making umbrella sports associations should not be subject to VAT merely because the members were sports clubs rather than individual persons taking part in sports.
Crucially, the court’s ruling applies to all sports, including cycling. VAT Director Debbie Jennings, from accountancy firm PKF, said: “The case is good news for umbrella sports organisations who may no longer have to charge VAT and for sports clubs and associations who may no longer have to pay VAT on affiliation fees.”
A spokesperson for British Cycling explained that individuals taking out membership with British Cycling are not paying VAT on their fees, but clubs affiliated with BC are paying that VAT.
“At the moment we’re not sure how relevant it is to British Cycling, we’re taking advice from our VAT accountants,” he said.
HMRC could now be could be liable to re- pay 3 years+ VAT on affiliation fees to clubs and associations.