Press Release: “Soft target” sports clubs should not bear brunt of HMRC scrutiny

The ATT has called for a widening of HMRC’s Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC) scheme and warned that local clubs must not be unfairly targeted in PAYE reviews.

CASCs1, introduced in 2002, provide a number of charity-type tax reliefs intended to support local amateur sports clubs. In order to qualify for these reliefs, clubs must meet certain conditions and register with HMRC. Revenue & Customs have launched a consultation2 seeking to amend these conditions for the purpose of better clarity. 

Yvette Nunn, President of the ATT, commented:

“We welcome this timely consultation process on the eligibility rules for CASC registration. A number of sports clubs are waiting to know whether their applications for CASC status will be accepted by HMRC; many more are wrestling with decisions on whether to pay players and how this might impact CASC status. A comprehensive review, that includes all sports clubs, will give clarity to both HMRC and the clubs in question.

“The sporting legacy from last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games depends on greater participation in sport at a community level, in which local clubs play a vital role. The reality is that many of these clubs depend on the voluntary work of committee members. The last thing those committees need is a PAYE enquiry that results in an unexpected tax bill equal to two-thirds of the club’s annual income3. We are not talking about large unpaid tax liabilities owed on the salaries of Premier-league professional players. Most of the PAYE problems for amateur clubs will centre on very modest payments to part-time bar and ground staff. Focusing on soft targets, like these clubs, is an inefficient use of resources and will undermine the tremendous work that volunteers do to ensure their clubs continue to thrive.

“Furthermore, we encourage HMRC to consider our following recommendations:

  • a moratorium on PAYE reviews 
  • consideration of how amateur sports clubs can ensure that they are tax-compliant 
  • a facility to enable clubs to bring their tax affairs up to date and meet any tax liabilities on a realistic structured basis 

“By giving amateur clubs a chance to tidy up their tax affairs and, if appropriate, apply for CASC registration, they will be given the opportunity to plan their future on a more secure basis and thereby achieve the objective of encouraging greater participation in community sporting activities.” 

Notes to Editors

  1. CASCs can benefit from various tax advantages, for example claiming back tax on Gift Aid donations, tax relief from corporation tax on income and capital gains, and non-domestic rates relief, however, there is no exemption from the operation of PAYE. For further details, see HMRC’s website at:
  2. Community Amateur Sports Clubs Consultation (Publication date: 3 June 2013; Closing date for comments: 12 August 2013), see here
  3. For The Daily Telegraph’s article on Sawbridgeworth Cricket Club, see here.

Techncial Team

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