00998

Community Amateur Sports Clubs
Monday 15th December 2003

Detailed Guidance Notes

Introduction

As you may have heard, the Government announced in September 2003 the very welcome news that sports clubs registered as Community Amateur Sports Clubs ('CASCs') will now be eligible for Mandatory Rate Relief. This is in addition to the package of potentially valuable tax benefits already available to CASCs. We believe that this development is very valuable for recreational cricket clubs because:

1.  rates can be and often are a significant cost to clubs
2.  rate relief for CASCs will be mandatory and hence any uncertainty over its availability will be removed
3.  it avoids clubs having to register as charities
4.  the registration process is exceptionally quick and easy.

Background

Schedule 18 of the Finance Act 2002 introduced legislation to allow amateur sport clubs to register as CASCs with the Inland Revenue and so access a package of tax benefits. Following on from that, the 2003 Local Government Act has introduced further legislation granting CASCs mandatory rate relief at 80% from 1 April 2004.

Criteria

For a cricket club to register as a CASC it must meet certain criteria. These criteria are available in detail on the Inland Revenue’s website on http://.indlandrevenue.gov.uk/casc, these are summarised below with comments as to whether we believe they are an issue for a ‘typical’ cricket club. There are essentially three criteria to be met.

1.    The club must be open to the whole community:
1 a.  Membership must be open to the whole community without discrimination. This also means that clubs cannot require an existing level of competence as a condition of membership.
1 b.  Fees must be affordable to the community at large.

2.  The club must be organised on an amateur basis:
2 a.     the club cannot distribute surpluses or assets to its members; they must be reinvested in the club for the purpose of cricket.
2 b.     members can only be provided with the ‘ordinary benefits’ of an amateur club, which are:
2 b 1.   sporting facilities
2 b 2.   reasonable provision of club owned equipment
2 b 3.   provision of coaching
2 b 4.   provision of/or reimbursement of, the costs of coaching courses
2 b 5.   provision of insurance cover
2 b 6.   provision of medical treatment
2 b 7.   reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses incurred by players and officials travelling to away matches
2 b 8.   reasonable provision of post match refreshments for players and officials
2 b 9.   sale or supply of food or drink as a "social adjunct" to the sporting purposes of the club.
2c.      the club’s constitution must require that any assets on dissolution of the club be applied for approved sporting or charitable purposes.

3.  The main purpose of the club must be to provide facilities for and encourage participation in cricket.

We believe that the majority of the above criteria will not pose a problem for recreational cricket clubs. The potential issues, we believe, are as follows:
3 amay require changes to the club’s constitution but is almost certainly the practice for the vast majority of clubs.
3 b.  will mean that clubs wishing to register as CASCs will not be able to pay players, except in the limited circumstances where the club makes small payments to some players "in order to encourage wider participation". If players are paid for non-playing duties, such as coaching or ground maintenance, this is also acceptable.
3 c.  will probably require a change to a club's constitution, although we are aware that many clubs have already introduced such a provision in order to stop the club being "asset-stripped" by outsiders.

In summary, we believe that clubs who do not pay players should be able to register as CASCs relatively easily.

Mandatory Rate Relief

Registered CASCs will qualify for 80% mandatory rate relief. We have been advised by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister that this will be effective on 1 April 2004 and that local authorities will include with their 2004-2005 rate bills information on CASCs.

Tax Benefits

Registration as a CASC also brings with it a package of tax benefits.  This tax package, together with our comments on the potential of each measure, is as follows:

1.  Tax benefits available to club:
1a. Exemption from Corporation Tax on trading income where such income is less than £15000 pa.
1b. Exemption from Corporation Tax on income from property (rental income, etc) where such income is less than £10000 pa.
1c. Exemption from Corporation Tax on interest receivable and gift-aid income.
1d. Exemption from Corporation Tax on chargeable capital gains.

2.  Tax benefits available to those making donations to CASCs
2a. Individuals can make cash donations to CASCs under Gift Aid
2b. Individuals can get relief from Inheritance Tax on gifts to CASCs
2c. Companies can get relief on gifts of goods and equipment
2d. Individual and companies can avoid a taxable capital gain on gifts of chargeable assets.

For the tax benefits to apply, the income gains and donations must be used by the club for its main purpose see 3. above.

Evaluation of tax benefits

Each club should assess the value of these tax reliefs based on its individual circumstances. In general, however, we believe that the provisions regarding corporation tax will not be of major benefit for most clubs since few clubs pay corporation tax given the £10000 nil rate band and the fact that clubs reinvest most of their surpluses back into the club. On the other hand, we believe the following reliefs could be of significant value:

1d.  means that clubs planning to relocate and reinvest in new facilities and facing a large potential Capital Gains Tax liability (ie because not all of the surplus is reinvested in club facilities) can do so free of Capital Gains Tax.

2a. could be of significant value to clubs which receive funding from member donations. Under the provision of Gift Aid, a cash donation by a member (who is a high rate tax payer) to a CASC of £100 produces £128 to the club whilst only costing the donor £77. Put another way, if a member wishes to make an after-tax donation of £100, this would produce £167 to the CASC, an increase of a full 67%.

The principles of voluntary donation can also be utilised to benefit the club in respects regarding subscription and fund raising events as follows:

•    Subscriptions, though not eligible for gift-aid, may be set at a level which enables the club to do no more than break even, with a request for a voluntary donation on top which will attract gift-aid relief.

•    "Sponsorship" of individuals or the club, in sponsored events, eg running marathons, can be made under gift-aid.

•    Fund-raising events where the ticket price is set at a level to pay for the direct costs of the event with a donation suggested on top which will attract gift-aid; and

•    Auctions, where the Inland Revenue will accept that if the price bid for an item which has a readily ascertainable value, is in excess of that value, the excess can be treated as a donation. This donation will qualify for gift-aid relief (further details can be found in booklet CWL4, published jointly by the Inland Revenue and HM Customs & Excise – Fund-Raising Events; exemption for charities and other qualifying bodies).

2b.  could also be of similar value to clubs since donations from a deceased member’s estate to a CASC will be treated in the same way as gifts to charity and will attract relief from inheritance tax.

The tax reliefs available to CASCs are described in detail in a guide written by the accountants, Deloitte & Touche. This guide, "Community Amateur Sports Clubs – The Tax Options" is available on their website.

Registration Process

The registration process is detailed on the Inland Revenue website.  It is extremely simple and requires no more than the completion of two very brief forms (CASC 3 and CASC 4, examples of which are on the Inland Revenue website) and the provision of certain club documents.

Issues

There is one potential issue that clubs need to be aware of. There are provisions in the legislation covering de-registering as a CASC so that if a club ceases to comply with the criteria it could be de-registered by the Inland Revenue. In these circumstances the club is deemed to have disposed of its chargeable property and then immediately re-acquired it at the then market value, thus triggering a tax liability on any Capital Gain. This is an anti-avoidance measure introduced by the Inland Revenue but could have a potentially adverse impact. This provision could also affect clubs which are currently totally amateur but which have ambitions to access higher league levels since, if this resulted in a club starting to pay players, this would mean that the club would no longer qualify as a CASC. We believe that there may well be ways around this by splitting off the 1st team into a separate entity. This solution is not, however, guaranteed so certain clubs may wish to consider this anti-avoidance measure first.

Decision making process

Based on the above and taking into account a 'typical' cricket club we believe that the decision to register as a CASC can be distilled down to the following simple three step process:

Step 1 – Will the club materially benefit from converting to a CASC?

We believe that the answer to this should be yes if:

•    the club plays a significant sum of money in rates or would do if the current level of discretionary rate relief was withdrawn.

•    the club is planning to relocate or otherwise dispose of its current property and reinvest in new facilities at a significant capital gain; and/or

•    the club receives or can potentially receive significant donations from members or other individuals, either whilst alive or as part of their estate.

If the club believes material benefit will arise, then move on to Step 2.

Step 2 – Does the club accept the consequences of registration?

We believe that the answer to this should be yes if:

•    the club intends to remain as a CASC or accepts the anti-avoidance provisions.

If the club accepts the consequences of registration, then move on to Step 3.

Steps 3 – Can the club qualify?

We believe that the answer to this should be yes if:

•    the club does not pay its players; and

•    the club makes certain changes to its constitution to restrict the distribution of assets to its members and to ensure that assets on dissolution are applied for approved purposes.

If the answer to these three questions is yes then we believe that it is likely that the club will benefit from and should seriously consider registering as a CASC.

Summary

The ECB cannot make a blanket recommendation that clubs should register as CASCs since all club’s circumstances are unique. Each club should assess its own suitability for registering as a CASC and take independent advice if in doubt. We do believe, however, that the benefits available, particularly mandatory rate relief, mean that it is likely to be advantageous to very many clubs.

All recreational cricket clubs are strongly advised to consider this issue.

If your club is interested in registering as a CASC and gaining from Mandatory Rate Relief and other tax benefits, then please contact the Inland Revenue Sports Unit on 0131 777 4147.