VICTORY ON AFFILIATION FEES – WE CANNOT COLLECT THEM ANY LONGER – NOT LIABLE
I am delighted to report that we received the long awaited VAT judgment from the tribunal case we had in the royal Courts of Justice in March. It removes all liability for proprietary clubs to collect or be liable for the wretched affiliation fees. the tribunal ruled that they cannot be treated as disbursements. We have told EG this for 15 years and now the court has ruled in our favour. See the letter to the English counties. the relevant part about the affiliation fees is really pages 22 to 24 of the judgment. paragraph 87 of the judgment is clearly wrong and either HMRC will correct it or we will appeal it because we want to get VAT back on fees paid and ensure EG and counties cannot charge us for anything in the future without VAT receipts. the counties are not registered for VAT. The judgment should also completely blow away the county card scheme unless a golf pays direct. I am resolving that through Tim Brown, our Barrister, and Raymond Hill for HMRC. Sadly we did not persuade the judge to make a direct appeal to Europe re the 1999 Act. But what our case has now shown is that if clubs have to collect affiliation fees for a county and EG, your club member would have to pay VAT and the member at the members’ clubs would not. £24 for our people and £20 for them. With that ruling and the judge saying (probably correctly) that there is nothing he can do to refer this to Europe it strengthens our case direct to the European commission. I lodged that case 2 years less 2 days ago – 18th Dec 2013 – and it has now approached the top of the pile and is with the Chairman of the Committee. In that we are asking the commission to take infringement proceedings against the UK because of the VAT distortion in golf/sport. This judgment further assists. We may get counsel’s opinion from Tim Brown to support our case further. We already have one opinion from a barrister on another issue of the distortion.
SO DO NOT COLLECT OR DEAL WITH ANY AFFILIATON FEES FOR 2016. Now not our problem. I suggest that you copy this to members’ clubs who may also be thrilled to know that affiliation fees are going to have to be personally collected from golfers – not clubs.
I hope this brings cheer to you all. We are progressing onwards to Europe. I am also in high level discussions on other issues of our case and on the corporation tax treatment (i.e. forgiveness) etc of members’ clubs. Their win in the Bridport case is a double edged sword.
On the issue of funding – do remember that everything your committee and I do is entirely voluntarily. We have some £15,000 in the kitty towards barristers’ fees. Please ensure any contribution you want to make to VAT actions comes to AGCO and not the UKGCOA that really should now BACK OFF.
Vivien Saunders OBE