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VAT and Community Rugby Clubs

Rugby clubs should be aware that taxation will have an impact on their affairs, whether or not they are run as profit-making organisations. Your rugby club will have to register for VAT if the annual value of taxable supplies exceeds or is likely to exceed the registration threshold, which currently stands at £79,000. There are a number of exemptions from VAT available for certain types of supply. Those most applicable for your club are likely to be:

  • subscriptions and joining fees paid by active playing club members (social membership is VATable)
  • pitch and facility fees
  • equipment hire
  • coaching and refereeing provided to members.
  • perimeter advertising at grounds
  • any lotteries and raffles used for fundraising
  • competition fees

Normally VAT returns are due quarterly. However, if the club has an annual turnover of less than £600,000 it will be eligible for cash accounting which allows returns to reflect VAT only when payments are made to suppliers or payments received. It is important that the treasurer understands the complexities of VAT, particular to avoid paying it unnecessarily when club funds are limited enough, without giving money back to the taxman. More detailed information could be sought from your local tax office or a qualified account.

To help community rugby clubs understand the rules and regulations surrounding VAT, the RFU has produced an RFU Clubs VAT Guide for English Rugby Clubs (PDF 832kB) and support materials:
Appendix 1 – Rugby Club Activities VAT Analysis (PDF 252kB)
Appendix 2 – VAT Return Format (PDF 176kB)
Appendix 3 – Services purchased from outside of the UK (PDF 188kB)

Club Leaders has designed a free online module on VAT to give you general overview of how the VAT system works. It explains why VAT is relevant to your club, and outlines the VAT obligations that typically apply to sports clubs. To access the online module sign up for free:

Further support for clubs on tax, payroll and VAT is available from the RFU Legal Helpline, which offers immediate, independent advice on all aspects of your rugby club’s operations. The RFU Legal Helpline – telephone: 0844 561 8177 and quote Scheme Number: 81066.


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