An amateur sports club needs to meet the eligibility criteria before it can be registered as a CASC. But, after registration you can get:
- A percentage of the payments from Gift Aid donations.
- Certain types of tax reliefs from activities (e.g. income, gains, profits).
- Charitable rate relief on business rates.
You must register with HM Revenue and Customs to get the benefits.
Money must be spent on ‘qualifying purposes‘ to claim relief on the funds used to promote and provide facilities for eligible sports.
Note: Special rules apply when closing or deregistering a CASC. Only HMRC can remove a CASC from the register (called ‘deregistration’). But, you will be able to ‘close’ it if enough club members vote and agree.
Eligibility to Register as a CASC
You would need to provide facilities for eligible sports (according to ‘Sport England’) and encourage people to take part in them to register as a community amateur sports club (CASC) in United Kingdom.
New rules taking full force from the 1st of April 2015 dictate that at least 50% of the members must participate. The CASC must also be:
- Set up with a formal constitution (i.e. a governing document) and provide facilities in the United Kingdom, the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway (only one country).
- Managed by people that pass the ‘fit and proper persons test‘.
- Organised on an amateur basis, open to the full community, and have ‘affordable’ membership fees.
What is a Governing Document?
This type of document sets out the principle purpose and structure of the sports club. So, similar to the one used when running a limited company, the ‘memorandum and articles of association’ must:
- Set out how your club meets the eligibility criteria for registering as a CASC.
- State that the use of any remaining assets left after the closure of the club are for another registered CASC, related community sport, or charity.
Note: Registered CASCs must be open to the whole community, including people of all ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, sexes, ages, religions, beliefs, and ability. Exceptions apply where a certain level of physical ability is required to take part in a particular sport.
CASC Membership Fee Rules
The maximum charge for membership of a CASC is £31 per week. Any clubs that charge more than £10 a week need to provide financial help for people who are unable to pay (e.g. a discount).
CASC membership rules allow you to charge different fees for different types of club memberships (e.g. juniors, students). But, you must not discriminate against groups or any individuals.
‘Amateur Basis’ Organisation
All community amateur sports clubs need to be organised on an amateur basis, which means your CASC must:
- Not make a profit (unless reinvested in the club and spent only on promoting participation and providing facilities for eligible sports).
- Not pay more than £10,000 in total to all players in a year (not allowed before 1st of April 2015).
- Provide only the types of benefits associated with an amateur sports club (e.g. coaching, use of equipment, post-match refreshments).
- Only pay expenses for matches and tours where players take part in, and promote, the sport of the club (paying expenses was not allowed before 1st of April 2015).
Registering as a CASC (or charity)
The Charity Commission does not regulate CASCs. That is one reason why charities and tax rules do not apply to a registered CASC. So, you need to choose whether to register as a CASC or as a charity instead.
You can either use the online form or postal form CASC (A1) to register a club as a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC).
Note: Withdrawing an application to register a CASC is not possible once the process has been started.
Information Needed for CASC (A1)
Only the ‘authorised official’ or a ‘responsible person’ can fill in the application form. You need to provide details of at least two (2) other officials (including their National Insurance and telephone numbers) and:
- The name and the address of the sports club (and a correspondence address if different).
- The total number of members or subscriptions.
- Company or VAT references (where applicable).
- The details of a nominee or agent (if the club uses one).
- The bank details of the club and its income.
Some extra documents need sending within thirty (30) days of making an application. Send copies of:
- The club’s accounts from the last 12 months.
- Bank statements from the last three (3) months.
- The rules or articles of association.
Note: Send the information to the address written on the form and you should get a reply within a few weeks. Include a translation of any documents that are not written in English language.
If HMRC Refuse the Application
HM Revenue and Customs would give an explanation of the reasons behind a refusal and what needs to change. You can appeal against a decision made by HMRC within thirty (30) days if you believe it to be wrong.