According to Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe, thousands of amateur sports clubs across the UK are missing out on a share of tax savings running into millions of pounds.
Under the Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) scheme set up under the Finance Act 2002, amateur sports clubs that meet certain criteria qualify for a number of tax advantages, including:
- 80% business rate relief;
- Gift Aid on donations (for every £1 received in donations, clubs can claim an extra 25p tax refund from the Government with an additional 3p per £1 available until April 2011);
- Corporation Tax exemption if a club's annual trading income is under £30,000 per year.
Deloitte produce monthly updates for the CASC scheme. They estimate 5,500 clubs registered with the scheme have saved around £60 million over the past seven years.
Sutcliffe said this about the figures:
"It's great we've signed up more than 5,500 clubs to the scheme and many sports clubs are reaping the benefits. But thousands are still missing out.
"Local sports clubs are playing a crucial role in the creation of an enduring sports legacy for 2012 and beyond. Being part of the scheme means that clubs will have more funds at their disposal to help increase participation in sports and recreation."
Clubs eligible for the scheme include those that encourage participation in a qualifying sport, are open to the whole community without discrimination, and ensure profits go back into the club and benefit sport.
Central Council of Physical Recreation Chairwoman Brigid Simmonds enthusiastically endorses the scheme:
"Thanks to the scheme, thousands of sports clubs have received a boost from the taxman. By registering as a CASC, clubs can keep the money they have raised in the community. That means it can be re-invested in kit, in coaching and in facilities - all for the good of local sport.
"In these difficult financial times, we urge all sports clubs to take advantage of this great opportunity to maximise every penny. Visit our website to find out how."
And senior manager of Deloitte's Sports Business Group Nick Jacobs said:
"The advantages of the Community Amateur Sports Club scheme are clear. The tax savings allow clubs to invest in better facilities which in turn should encourage more young people to take up sport. Taking advantage of the existing tax benefits for community sport is the first crucial step towards nurturing our sporting abilities and enhancing the nation's future sporting potential."
** Additional Information & Advice **
You can obtain more information about the CASC scheme, including the further benefits available and how to apply for registration, on the HM Revenue & Customs website or by calling 0845 30 20 203.
Alternatively, you may want to speak with a tax solicitor for specialist advice. You can find a solicitor for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.