This information leaflet, which sets out the current practice at the date of its issue, is intended for guidance only and does not purport to be a definitive legal interpretation of the provisions of the VAT Consolidation Act 2010.
Membership fees and annual subscriptions for members of member-owned golf clubs are exempt for VAT purposes, as are capital levies paid by members. With effect from the 1st January 2014 green fees charged by member-owned golf clubs to non members is also being treated as being exempt for VAT purposes. However, certain turnover such as income from bars and restaurants is liable for VAT.
All income of State/Local Authority and commercially owned golf courses is liable to VAT.
Golf facilities include driving ranges and par 3 golf courses, but not 'Pitch and Putt' courses.
2. Member-ship subscriptions
Individual membership subscriptions for member-owned golf clubs are exempt for the purposes of VAT, as also are the fees charged to Pavilion or Social members.
For VAT purposes a member is defined as a person who, having paid the annual subscription, is entitled to play golf on the course without further payment for at least 200 days per year.
3. Obligation to register for VAT
Where the total taxable income of a member-owned golf club exceeds the specified turnover limit/s, it is obliged to register for, and to charge, VAT at the appropriate rates. Taxable income would include income from bars and restaurants, income from the sale of golf equipment, clothing and accessories, and income from the hiring of function rooms.
Currently a turnover threshold of €75,000 for a continuous period of 12 months applies in the case of the supply of goods. A turnover threshold of €37,500 for a continuous period of 12 months applies (a) in the case of the supply of services and (b) in the case of the supply of goods and services where 10% or more of the turnover derives from the supply of services.
4. Election to register
A member-owned golf club can elect to account for VAT in respect of its taxable income when the turnover is below the specified limit/s. An application for such an election should be submitted to the local Revenue District.
5. State/Local Authority owned and commercial golf courses
5.1: State or Local Authority owned golf courses are required to register and account for VAT. If a Local Authority operates a number of courses the specified limit relates to the combined golf turnover of all its courses. While one VAT registration will cover all golf courses operated by a Local Authority, the body in question may opt for separate registration for each course if this is more convenient.
5.2: Commercial golf courses are required to register and account for VAT where the total turnover exceeds or is likely to exceed the specified limit/s . All income, including any membership fees, annual subscriptions and levies is liable to VAT.
5.3: Income received by such golf clubs, including from share issue, which confers an entitlement on purchasers to avail of the facilities of the club, is taxable.
6. Apportionment of inputs
Where a member-owned golf club is liable to VAT in respect of its taxable income it may deduct VAT on its inputs only in relation to its taxable activities. As the income of the golf club will be derived from both taxable activities (e.g. bar receipts) and exempt activities (e.g. membership fees), it will be entitled to apportion VAT incurred on its expenditure for the purposes of claiming input credit. Expenses directly related to taxable activities will be allowed full deductibility of VAT, while expenses directly related to exempt activities will not be allowed any deductibility. Apportionment will arise in the case of dual-use inputs where activities with an element of both taxable and exempt are involved.
7. Further Information
For further information on VAT and other Sporting Activities, please refer to VAT Information Leaflet 'Sporting Facilities'. Enquiries regarding any issue contained in this Information Leaflet should be addressed to the Revenue District responsible for the taxpayer's affairs. Contact details for all Revenue Districts can be found on the Contact Details page.
This leaflet is issued by
VAT Interpretation Branch,
Indirect Taxes Division,