Advisers lucky enough to take clients for the odd 18-hole now and again may be pleased (as will the clients) by a court case which may make the rounds a little cheaper.
A decision, relating to VAT on green fees charged by members-only golf clubs on visiting golfers, has been referred by the Upper Tax Tribunal to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for an opinion.
The original case was brought by Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club, which argued that VAT on green fees, which are exempt from VAT for club members, should also be exempt for visiting golfers. HMRC disagreed and insisted that VAT continue to be charged.
The First Tier Tax Tribunal agreed with Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club that supplies to non-members of green fees should be exempt.
This decision was welcomed by golfers visiting members-only clubs because it introduced the prospect of their round being 20% cheaper.
However, HMRC responded by seeking permission to appeal to the Upper Tier Tax Tribunal, which a year after the First Tier Tax Tribunal decision, has now referred the case to the ECJ for an opinion.
Ruth Corkin, Head of VAT Services at accountants and business advisers James Cowper, said: "Although this decision is for members-only golf clubs, where those clubs cannot distribute their profits and are essentially run on a voluntary basis, I can see that it would have wider application to other sports clubs run on similar lines if they are charging fees plus VAT to visitors to play."
The ECJ is expecting to hear the case in the summer of 2013.
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