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If your sports club registers with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) you can benefit from various tax advantages, for example claiming back tax on Gift Aid donations, tax relief on the Corporation Tax you pay on income and capital gains, and non-domestic rates relief.
The CASC scheme is open to qualifying sports clubs in other European Member States or relevant territories as well as clubs in the UK.
To register, your club has to meet certain conditions. The HMRC CASC Unit decides whether the conditions for registration have been met. CASC status is only available to clubs involved in eligible sports as decided by the Sports Council.
This guide explains how your club can qualify as a CASC, and how to go about registering and deregistering.
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To register as a CASC, your club must be set up with a formal constitution (for example its rules or memorandum and articles of association). The club's written constitution must require the club to meet certain conditions, and the club must also be able to show that it actually meets these conditions in practice.
The conditions are that:
The club must also be able to show that:
The following sections explain what the conditions mean and what you'll have to do to satisfy them.
Your club is open to the whole community if:
When you're deciding who can join or how members can use the club's facilities, you mustn't discriminate at all, for example on the grounds of:
You can have different classes of membership that depend on:
As long as you're not discriminating, you can refuse or cancel membership in order to maintain:
You must set fees at a level that most members of the community can afford. They mustn't be an obstacle to membership or to the use of its facilities. If the sport is an expensive one, like sailing or polo, your club must show that it's done what it can to make it affordable for the majority of people.
Your club doesn't need to have its own facilities for members to use when they take part in eligible sports. If it hires facilities for its members it would still be providing facilities. So, if you regularly hire facilities at a local authority leisure centre so that your members can take part in an eligible sport - this would be providing facilities.
It might be possible for your club to register as a CASC even if you haven't got any premises and you just provide equipment and organisation. For example, a cycling club with no premises that organises social or training rides and open competitions is likely to qualify.
However it's not enough just to provide facilities. Your club's main purpose must also include encouraging all its members to take part in eligible sports, whatever their ability.
You'll find a list of eligible sports on the HMRC website.
HMRC will accept that your club is organised on an amateur basis if:
Your club will qualify as non-profit making if its rules say that:
The sorts of benefits a club can provide are:
If it meets certain conditions, your club can also:
To meet the conditions - the terms must be:
HMRC wouldn't expect a CASC to pay members for playing. But they may accept that the club can make some small payments for playing if the aim is to encourage more people to take part. If you are thinking of paying players, please contact HMRC for further advice. See contact details below in 'Contacting the HMRC Charities Helpline'.
Your club's rules must say that when it's wound up, its assets must be used for 'approved sporting or charitable purposes'. Approved sporting or charitable purposes means for the purposes of:
Your club should:
Anyone who will be involved in the day-to-day running of your club should read the guidance on 'Fit and Proper Persons'. This guidance explains the need for CASCs to ensure that their managers are suitable to hold such posts and, in particular, that they haven't been involved in tax fraud or disqualified from being an official or trustee.
If your club would like to register as a CASC you'll need to apply to the HMRC CASC Unit using the CASC application form. Send your completed form, marked CASC Unit, with the following information to HMRC Charities:
When it gets your application, the HMRC CASC Unit will decide whether your club meets all the conditions for registration. If all the conditions are satisfied the registration date will usually be backdated to the start of the accounting period in which you made your application.
If some of the conditions haven't been met, HMRC will write to your club to tell you.
Once registered, HMRC will include your club's details in a list of all registered clubs on their website.
Once your club has been registered by the HMRC CASC Unit, it will stay registered as a CASC. You can't ask for it to be deregistered. In limited circumstances HMRC Charities can deregister a club, for example where CASC rules have been broken.
Deregistration may have tax implications for your club.
For more information you can contact the Charities Helpline. Select option 4 for CASCs.