The judgment on Bridport has just been released. Great success in some ways. As many of you know the man, Mr Willcox, who gave evidence for Bridport originally clearly lied – and I stand by that – by describing the green fee players as individuals. He forgot the mention all their tasty corporate days with people like defence giant Agusta Westland. The members’ clubs claimed back all VAT on green fees. But sport is only VAT exempt if supplied to individuals. After various protests to HMRC and the Court, the Tribunal has now ruled that they can’t get VAT back on corporate days or green fees supplied by agents. The judgment is extensive and runs to 72 pages. Link below. Read it. The Berkshire was joined in on the case, with their £16 million of green fees since 1990 and corporation tax cheated in every year. They never pay any. Read their nauseating figures. In 2010 the club captain, a former MI 6 spy -seriously – reported that they had 5,963 visitors. Miraculously now it suits them they have said they had over 14,000 green fee players against total rounds of 47,000. Remember that’s for 36 holes. These clubs still persist in suggesting greenkeeping costs vary with the course usage and unfortunately HMRC simply won’t draw on expert evidence from the proprietary sector to explain the truth. We could all have given them the evidence they needed. BUT we are getting there.
Many of the clubs will have made false claims and included green fees to societies. Let’s hope one of the clubs has claimed the VAT back on the golf day from RCSL. No it’s not Roger, Charles, Syd and Larry’s golf day. It’s Revenue and Customs Sports League!! So the clubs have won their argument on unjust enrichment and they will get 90% of the VAT back on the individual green fees without having to pay it back to the golfers. And why? Because they are huge profit making concerns. And remember that the exemption is only for non-profit making organisations. How can the Berkshire say it is non-profitmaking when they now claim to have had over 14,000 rounds of green fee players against members’ rounds of 33,000. The relevant case on this is called Kennemer, a Dutch case, which talked about profit and motives. it is clear what the motives of these clubs is – profit to advantage their members. Because they want to pocket the VAT. Our case in Europe filed in December 2013 has now reached the Chairman of the Petitions Committee. I am going to submit the Bridport judgment as evidence that the exemption of VAT is being given to clubs that are obviously motivated by profit. These are findings of fact from a UK court and are clear evidence to the European Commission of the motives of these clubs and HMRC’s past failure to challenge their profit making status.
So yes, the clubs will get much of their VAT back. BUT your team at AGCO has done a damned good job in making sure they don’t get it back for all the corporate days and societies. As always EG and UKGCOA have resisted and obstructed our work. AGCO met the HMRC experts (at HMRC’s request) and AGCO attended the court to report back. Littlestone, Worplesdon, Finchley, Temple and other member-owned clubs are members of UKGCOA, so UKGCOA are actually representing member-owned clubs with huge VAT refund claims. They are so in the pocket of KPMG that it is a farce. Never mind. AGCO goes onward to the European Commission. We haven’t yet got the result of AGCO’s VAT tribunal heard 3 months before the Bridport case. And our appeal to the Information Commissioner is still awaited.
For anyone who wants to see details of the Brampton Park VAT scam do email me. That is a proprietary club, Stonecheck plc, masquerading as a members’ club called Brampton Park, running a VAT scam, fiddling their corporation tax and managing to get CASC status for a proprietary club. Needless to say one director is a solicitor, another an accountant and another a retired banker, presumably NAT WEST. HMRC has all the details. We will give HMRC another 6 months to clamp down on this scam or let’s all do it!
Vivien Saunders OBE