Press release: Use tax system to widen investment in grassroots sports to produce more Team GB Olympic stars

The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) is urging the Government to use the tax system to help harness Olympic enthusiasm to give a funding boost for grassroots sports. 

Earlier in the year, the Government issued a consultation on the possibility of giving Corporation Tax relief on contributions to grassroots sports. This emphasised the potential for investment in grassroots sports to strengthen communities, create a more active and healthier country and nurture the development of future athletic stars.1

In its response to the consultation,2 the ATT suggests that consideration should be given to extending the proposed new relief beyond corporate contributors so that tax relief is similarly available to individual contributors whether self-employed, employed or retired and to contributing partnerships including large professional firms.

The Government has yet to publish the outcome of the consultation.

Ralph Pettengell, ATT President, said:

“The excitement generated by the Rio Olympics provides the ideal time for the Government to further develop its thinking about how tax incentives could be used to encourage contributions to grassroots sports. The consultation recognises that support for grassroots sports helps us become a more active and healthier country, strengthen community cohesion and offer young people the opportunity to develop valuable skills. If, in the process, we produce some future Team GB stars, that would be a bonus.

“This consultation could pave the way for a significant increase in private sector funding of grassroots sports. However, we think that the full potential of the concept will only be achieved if the source of the prospective contributions is extended. There is no obvious logic in confining the proposed tax relief to contributions by limited companies – which is what was suggested in the initial consultation. We think that the tax system could help the Government far more than it may envisage to achieve its goal of getting more people, young and old, actively involved in grassroots sports. However, the full potential of the initiative will only be realised if tax relief on contributions to grassroots sports is made available to all contributors whether they are limited companies, partnerships or individuals.  

“What we think is needed is a straightforward mechanism that will make it as simple as possible for prospective donors to support local grassroots sports clubs and to get tax relief in the process. As the consultation recognised, their contributions ‘will help to get more people, more active, more often’ – and they could also help to bring us the Team GB stars of 2020, 2024 and beyond.”

Notes for editors

  1. The Treasury’s consultation document can be read here: In the Foreword, the-then Financial Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke commented: “Investing in sport also helps strengthen our communities and inspire and engage our young people – and this is particularly true at the grassroots level. The achievements of Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Rebecca Adlington have all been made possible by investments of time, money, energy and expertise in the very early stages of their respective careers.”
  2. ATT’s submission can be read here.
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