Scottish golf clubs set for EU tax windfall

Scottish golf clubs could be in line for windfalls of thousands of pounds after an EU ruling on VAT. The European Court of Justice has ruled that current VAT exemptions should not be restricted to just members of not-for-profit clubs, meaning that golf clubs across Scotland could start reclaiming VAT from the UK treasury which was paid on non-members.

Alyn Smith MEP has welcomed the decision, saying it has provided much needed clarity on the issue and warned clubs who are entitled to a rebate, not to lose out.

Commenting, Mr Smith MEP said:

“This is a welcome decision from the ECJ and I’m glad common-sense shone through.

“It’s been a very difficult time for golf clubs across Scotland with the financial downturn resulting in many clubs losing members. This decision means that many Scottish golf clubs may now have claim to thousands of pounds of VAT paid out on non-members playing.”

The case was brought to the ECJ by Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club who are expected to lodge a claim worth £140,000. The VAT exemption will apply retrospectively, as well as to future charges with not-for-profit golf clubs having the choice to pass the 20% savings on to players or not.

Claims have already been submitted for at least 29 clubs with payments expected to range from £3,000 to £240,000.

Smith added:

“This ruling has the potential to help many clubs across the country and that can only be good for the game. This September we’ll see the pinnacle of golfing competition come to Scotland in the Ryder Cup, it’s sure to boost interest in the sport and this ruling not only has the potential to provide added funding for clubs, but also make golf cheaper for the public through VAT exemption for non-members. It’s a win-win.

“2014 is set to be Scotland’s year of sport and this ruling has certainly provided a good start. The Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games will be great sporting events but the legacy they leave will perhaps be more important. It’s just as much about ensuring more people get involved in sporting activity as it is about the events themselves.”