HM Revenue & Customs has not changed its position in relation to the charging of VAT by golf clubs, to non-members, on green fees.
In Revenue & Customs Brief 25/12, HMRC has confirmed that it stands by the current guidance in Notice 701/45 Sport which is that VAT should be charged. HMRC's argument is that not to do so would allow golf clubs to undercut other commercial enterprises, which do have to charge VAT in similar circumstances.
The test case of The Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club case (FTC/74/2011) has been referred by the Upper Tribunal to the European Court of Justice, (ECJ), and is unlikely to be heard until well into 2013.
VAT Specialist's Andrew Needham said,
"The Tribunal has decided to refer the case to the ECJ which means that clubs that have entered a claim still have a chance that they will be paid out. In the meantime HMRC are maintaining their current stance and will not be paying any claims or accepting a change in the VAT treatment of Green Fees until such time as the ECJ has reached a decision I actually think HMRC have the better case but as it has now gone to the ECJ, I think there is now a better than even chance that it will end up in the taxpayer's favour."