Nairn loses £185k green fee VAT repayment case

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick June 4, 2015 12:14

A private members’ golf club has lost a VAT repayment claim case about in which it called for the government to pay it back £185,000 in taxes.

Hundreds of golf clubs were due to be paid millions of pounds this April following a 2013 European Union ruling that VAT should not have been applied to their visitors’ green fees.

However, this is believed to be the first case where a golf club has failed to receive a windfall – and it is probably due to a technical misunderstanding with the law.

Nairn Golf Club in Scotland was seeking repayment of VAT on visitors’ green fees and, according to The Press and Journal, lodged an appeal to force HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to make a decision on its claims between October 2007 and September 2013, which amounted to more than £185,000.

HMRC disputed the case, stating that claims between 2007 and 2009 were invalid as they were outside of the set time limit and that the claims thereafter were also invalid ‘because there was no decision to contest’ for that period. This led to a tax tribunal hearing in Inverness earlier this year.

The club’s treasurer Bill Young, of accountant Ritson Young, insisted the claims were valid because they were amendments to an earlier claim made in 2009.

But the tribunal judge Anne Scott has now rejected the appeal.

She ruled the club had no appealable decisions for the period between January 2010 and September 2013, and struck out its claim for repayment of VAT.

The club’s appeal on claims for the period between October 2007 and December 2009 was also struck out.

‘The club had believed that when its claim for repayment of VAT in 2009 was suspended nothing else needed to be done pending a decision in a separate case which would give guidance on the way their claim should be handled,’ states the paper.

‘But the tribunal findings say that it is not uncommon for hundreds or thousands of cases to be suspended pending the outcome of litigation, and that the club should have protected its position by making protective claims. The club, it said, had simply misunderstood the law.’

Mr Young has said that it would have little effect on the club.

He said: “We were trying to reclaim money but HMRC does not want to give it to us.

“There is no disadvantage to the club.”

Update: The original version of this article stated that hundreds of golf clubs had been paid millions of pounds in VAT rebates by HMRC in April. This was due to be the case but it has now transpired that these ‘interim payments’ have been stalled by what KPMG has called ‘technical matters’


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick June 4, 2015 12:14
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  1. jon June 6, 05:18

    Very quiet on Golf Club Management about CASC regulations. Here’s a few of the points regarding CASC that make interesting reading (taken from

    4. The club has entered into profit making franchise arrangements with catering companies and/or sellers of sports merchandise since qualifying for relief. The separate commercial entities are not part of the club assessment for relief and have not been valued as separate businesses under a split valuation by the VOA.

    5. The club has delegated responsibility for training of adults and children on to a commercial operator attached to the club itself but who (for accounting purposes) is not technically part the club itself. The club has also obtained a sports grant as an amateur club and without consulting the grant giver, has passed this on to a commercial operator – not the club itself.

    6. The club regularly advertises its facilities to non-members in magazines and the local press. CASC registered clubs (with mandatory relief) enjoy a unique position where they can self-assess their tax position. The vast majority of high turnover clubs who receive mandatory relief have chosen not to submit Form CT600E to HMRC which accounts for profit-making (non-qualifying) non-member trading income at the club. In most cases, this high trading income is derived from a bar operating a full (public) premises type of licence.

    7. The club has drifted into charging annual fees that are significantly higher than the now recommended threshold of £520 pa. The club has a bar turnover in excess of £50,000. As new regulations approach, such clubs are already prevented from attaining CASC status.

    I wonder how many CASC golf clubs are actually following the rules?

    Reply to this comment
  2. philmac June 5, 00:15

    Which golf clubs have received money back ? Please name names,!

    Reply to this comment
  3. David John Wicks June 4, 15:42

    This has been going on for years has anybody got any money back?

    Reply to this comment
  4. jon June 4, 13:21

    Quite right too, HMRC should be applauded. Hopefully now they will go after them and make them repay all the coperation tax they have failed to pay and the local authority will reclaim all their business rates lost from their ridiculous CASC claim.

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