Clubs and associations

Produced by Tolley
Clubs and associations

The following Value Added Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Clubs and associations
  • Business and non-business activities
  • Business activities
  • Non-business activities
  • Subscriptions
  • Additional fees
  • Apportioning the subscription
  • Overseas members
  • Raising capital
  • Interest free loan
  • More...

This guidance note provides an overview of the main VAT treatment of supplies made by clubs and associations.

Broadly speaking there are three types of ‘clubs and associations’ which are:

  1. organisations that are non-profit making trade union, professional or representative bodies that make supplies to its members that are referable to its aims and available without payment other than a membership subscription

  2. non-profit making bodies with objects which are in the public domain and are of a political, religious, patriotic, philosophical or philanthropic nature

  3. club, association or organisation that provides facilities or advantages to its members in return for a subscription or other consideration

The VAT treatment of supplies made by these organisations is outlined below.

Business and non-business activities

Most clubs and associations make business and non-business supplies as part of their overall activities. This section provides an overview of the typical types of activities (these lists are not exhaustive).

Business activities

These include:

  1. providing specified benefits to members in exchange for the membership subscription

  2. providing additional benefits in exchange for payment

  3. providing supplies to non-members in exchange for payment

  4. charging admission to premises / events

  5. provision of catering, social and other facilities to members / non-members in exchange for payment

Non-business activities

These are usually activities that are provided free of charge or payments received for which nothing is offered in return. They include:

  1. free admission provided to non-members

  2. lobbying for public and / or charitable good causes or spreading political or religious beliefs. Please note that lobbying for members would be regarded as a business activity.

  3. providing free literature to non-members

  4. receiving donations that are given freely and the organisation provides nothing in return for the payment

Details of some relevant VAT case law on the VAT treatment of supplies made by clubs and associations can be found at VBNB75920.


Members often receive a number of different supplies when they pay their subscription to an organisation. If the organisation provides members with a 'substantive' benefit (see below) it will

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