European Court of Justice VAT treatment on green fees judgement released

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has finally released its judgement on December 19th in the Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club case in which the taxpayer challenged the UK’s treatment of green fees charged by not-for-profit members’ clubs.

The judgement went in Bridport’s favour and this is the final decision in the Bridport case.

The issue in dispute was whether or not green fees charged to visitors should be treated as exempt from VAT. HMRC argued that green fees should be taxed whereas the golf club in this case argued that they should be treated in the same way as annual subscriptions, which are exempt from VAT.

The ECJ found that all supplies of the facility to play golf provided by non-profit making clubs must be exempt.

It is expected that HMRC will in due course issue a press release in connection with the case and we recommend that you await further guidance before contacting HMRC.

If you have any questions regarding the impact of this case please contact Iain Masterton, Senior VAT Manager, on 0131 558 5800 or email