Guidance on when a shoot must register for Value Added Tax (VAT) was written and published by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) working in conjunction with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) as long ago as 2006.
The guidance makes clear that any business running a shoot which has a turnover in excess of the VAT registration threshold a year must be VAT registered. The value of all goods and services sold, including shoot days, should be taken into account in assessing turnover.
We held detailed discussions with HMRC which for a number of years has been taking a closer interest in the whole of the rural economy; as farms diversify there are more and more elements of farm-related business which fall into the realms of VAT.
BASC agreed to make the relevant information available to the shooting public and we provided comprehensive advice which makes clear when shoots should be registered and indicates grey areas where further professional advice should be sought.
Many shoots are not run as commercial businesses and of those that are, many will not reach the threshold. Clearly it is the larger commercial operations which are most affected.
However, it is important that everyone understands the tax rules. Leased shooting rights, for example, are taxable supplies and must be accounted for by VAT-registered landowners, while syndicate shoots run on a cost-sharing basis are not businesses, so are not required to register. The situation becomes more complicated when syndicates offer let days, since any activity deemed to be in the nature of a business will result in the whole shoot being treated as commercial and therefore liable to register and account for VAT on both members’ contributions and let day revenues. BASC does not provide details of its members to third parties, but will always make sure its members are informed about the law and their obligations.
The CLA, Countryside Alliance and Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust will provide links to the BASC website from their own internet sites.
If, having read the guidance notes, you conclude that you should be VAT registered, or there is something else amiss, it will be to your advantage to tell HMRC as soon as possible. To this end, HMRC has prepared a letter incorporating a simple questionnaire which you can use to confirm to them the VAT status of your shoot or to indicate whether you would like to be contacted to discuss any issues that may be in doubt. If you would like a copy of this letter, whether or not you are a BASC member, telephone us on 01244 573 030 or email us.
Angela Davies, Director of Business Management at BASC