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Community Amateur Sports Clubs: Interim Guidance

Introduction

1. This guidance is intended to help sports clubs and their supporters understand the new rules and take advantage of the new scheme announced in Budget 2002. The relevant provisions, set out in the Finance Bill, do not become final until the Bill has passed through all its Parliamentary stages. That will be around mid-July. The proposals could be subject to change during that process. We will issue definitive guidance in the summer, once the Finance Bill is passed.

2. Details of the legislation are set out in Schedule 18 of the Finance Bill 2002 and can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200102/cmbills/125/2002125c.pdf

3. The guidance set out below reflects the provisions of the Finance Bill on publication.

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How can we register?

4. We will not have the authority to register any clubs until the Finance Bill is passed in July. We will aim to post definitive information about the application procedure on the website at the beginning of July.

5. At present, we envisage that you will simply need to complete a short application form and send it to us with

  • a copy of your governing document constitution, rules or Memorandum & Articles of Association
  • a copy of your latest accounts
  • a copy of any prospectus, member's handbook, rule book etc, issued to members or potential members

If you meet the statutory requirements, we will issue you with a registration number and tell you the effective date of registration.

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What will be the effective date of registration?

6. The legislation, as it stands, gives the Revenue discretion to make registration effective from a date before the application is received. Normally, we will register a club with effect from the beginning of the accounting period in which it applies, provided it met the qualifying requirements throughout that period. Where a club has had to change its rules to meet the criteria, we would only register the club with effect from the date the new rules were adopted.

7. Exceptionally, where a club would have satisfied the requirements at 1 April 2002 and applies before 30 September 2002, we will register it with effect from that date even if its accounting period has ended between 1 April and 30 September. No registration will be effective before 1 April 2002.

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What kind of club can register as a CASC?

8. Sports clubs that are formally constituted and that meet certain requirements will be able to register.

9. The definition of a CASC is set out in the legislation. It is designed to give relief to clubs that:

  • are open to the whole community
  • are organised on an amateur basis
  • have as their main purpose providing facilities for, and promoting participation in one or more eligible sports.

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Open to the whole community

10. A club is open to the whole community if:

  • membership of the club is open to all without discrimination,
  • the club's facilities are available to members without discrimination, and
  • any fees are set at a level that does not pose a significant obstacle to membership or use of the club's facilities.

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Discrimination

11. Discrimination includes indirect discrimination and includes:

  • discrimination on grounds of ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs,
  • discrimination on grounds of sex, age or disability, except as a necessary consequence of the requirements of a particular sport.

12. This does not prevent a club from having different classes of membership depending on:

  • the age of the member,
  • whether the member is a student,
  • whether the member is waged or unwaged,
  • whether the member is a playing or a non-playing member,
  • how far from the club the member lives or
  • any restriction on the days or times when the member has access to the club's facilities.

13 If a club effectively discriminates by only accepting members who have already reached a certain standard, rather than seeking to promote the attainment of excellence by enhancing access and the development of sporting aptitude, then it does not have an open membership. So, a club selecting members on the basis of existing attainment would not come within the CASC requirements.

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Organised on an amateur basis

14. A club is organised on an amateur basis if:

  • it is non-profit making
  • it provides for members and their guests only the ordinary benefits
  • of an amateur sports club, and
  • its constitution requires any net assets on the dissolution of the club to be applied for approved sporting or charitable purposes.

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Non-profit making

15. A club is non-profit making if its constitution requires any surplus income or gains to be reinvested in the club. Surpluses or assets cannot be distributed to members or third parties.

16. This does not prevent donations by the club to charities or to other clubs that are registered as community amateur sports clubs.

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Ordinary benefits of an amateur sports club

17. The ordinary benefits of an amateur sports club are:

  • provision of sporting facilities,
  • reasonable provision and maintenance of club-owned sports equipment,
  • provision of suitably qualified coaches,
  • provision, or reimbursement of the costs, of coaching courses,
  • provision of insurance cover,
  • provision of medical treatment,
  • reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses incurred by players and officials travelling to away matches,
  • reasonable provision of post-match refreshments for players and match officials,
  • sale or supply of food or drink as a social adjunct to the sporting purposes of the club.

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Payments to members

18. A club is allowed to:

  • enter into agreements with members for the supply to the club of goods or services, or
  • employ and pay remuneration to staff who are also members of the club,

provided the terms are approved by the governing body of the club without the member concerned being present and are agreed with the member on an arm's length basis.

19. So, a club would be able to pay members for services such as coaching or ground maintenance as long as the conditions above were satisfied. We would not normally expect a CASC to pay members to play. However, some small payments to some members for playing may be acceptable as long as the object of paying players is to encourage wider participation in the sport. A club which pays players simply to achieve competitive success will not meet the qualifying criteria.

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Main Purpose

20. The main purpose of the club must be to provide facilities for, and encourage participation in, one or more eligible sports. The club's constitution must make it clear that this is the club's main object. That does not rule out the club having social members, but we would expect the substantial majority of the club's activities to be directed at furthering the main object. Where a club's social activities are disproportionately large, that might call into question whether the club meets the main purpose requirement.

21. The club must be engaged in providing facilities and encouraging participation.

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Providing facilities

22. The club does not have to own the facilities for participating in eligible sports. For example, a club that regularly hires facilities at a Local Authority leisure centre to enable members to participate would be providing facilities. Similarly, a club that provides equipment and organisation, without providing premises, might be eligible.

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Encouraging participation

23. The club's emphasis must be on encouraging all members to participate regardless of their ability. So, a club that pursues a team sport might field a number of teams, ranging in ability from recreational and novice players up to a reasonably high competitive standard. This would be acceptable as long as the overall emphasis was on participation. A club that only allowed participation at an elite level with other members being spectators rather than players would not be acceptable.

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Eligible sports

24. Eligible sports will be defined by Treasury Order, initially by reference to the Sports Councils' list of recognised activities.

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Are CASCs charities?

25. A sports club that is registered as a CASC is not a charity. However, it is open to any sports club in:

  • England and Wales to apply to the Charity Commission ("CC") for registration as a charity
  • Scotland or Northern Ireland to apply to Inland Revenue to be accepted as a charity for tax purposes.

26. The CC will consider registering as charities those sports clubs that seek to encourage community participation in healthy recreation for the public benefit. The CC guidance on this can be found at Charity Commission website - Registering as a charity.

27. Although the Charity Commission have no jurisdiction in Scotland or Northern Ireland, we would expect the principles of this guidance to apply to Scottish and Northern Irish organisations applying to the Inland Revenue for recognition of their charitable status.

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The tax reliefs for registered CASCs

28. Sports clubs of the kind that are eligible to register as CASCs are treated as companies for tax purposes. Consequently, their profits may be chargeable to corporation tax - see leaflet IR46 for further details.

29. Sports clubs that are registered as CASCs will be able to claim the following tax reliefs:

  • exemption from Corporation Tax on profits from trading where the turnover of the trade is less than 15,000
  • exemption from Corporation Tax under Schedule A on income from property where the gross income is less than 10,000
  • exemption from Corporation Tax on interest received
  • exemption from Corporation Tax on chargeable gains
  • repayment of basic rate income tax on donations under Gift Aid

30. All of the exemptions depend upon the club having been a registered CASC for the whole of the relevant accounting period and the income or gains being used only for qualifying purposes.

31. If the club has only been a registered CASC for part of an accounting period the exemption amounts of 15,000 (for trading) and 10,000 (for income from property) are reduced proportionately. Only interest and gains received after the club is registered are exempted.

32. "For qualifying purposes" means for the purposes of providing facilities for, and promoting participation in, one or more eligible sports.

33. CASCs, of course, will also benefit from the new 10,000 nil rate band for corporation tax.

34. Where a CASC spends its income or gains in ways that are not qualifying purposes there are rules that restrict the CASC's exemption from tax.

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Claiming the tax reliefs

35. Where a CASC receives a tax return the relief can be claimed in the return. However, most clubs will not receive a tax return each year. If the club has received Gift Aid payments, it will be able to claim a repayment from Inland Revenue Charities.

36. If you think that your club is liable to tax, but it has not received a notice to file a tax return you should ask Inland Revenue to send you a return.

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Reliefs for donors

37. There is a range of tax reliefs to encourage individuals and companies to support CASCs.

  • Individuals can make gifts to registered CASCs using the Gift Aid scheme. The CASC will then be able to reclaim basic rate tax on the gift (at present 28p for each 1 given.) Membership subscriptions paid to registered CASCs are not eligible as Gift Aid payments. We will post further information on how to reclaim tax on Gift Aid payments in early July.
  • Individuals can obtain relief from inheritance tax for gifts to CASCs. Any bequest to a registered CASC would be exempt from inheritance tax, in the same way as a gift to charity.
  • Businesses that give goods or equipment that they make, sell or use get relief for their gifts. They do not have to bring any disposal amount into account, but can still deduct the cost, for tax purposes.
  • Gifts of chargeable assets to CASCs by individuals or companies are treated as giving rise to neither a gain nor a loss for Capital Gains purposes.