It is not necessary for sports clubs to be companies at all. In many instances they exist as unincorporated entities – for example, many amateur local football and cricket teams are unincorporated. However, there can be benefits to incorporation – the most obvious being the concomitant limitation of personal liability which is afforded to the people who run the club (as applies in general to all incorporated community and charitable ventures).
Registering as a Community Amateur Sports Club provides further specific benefits. In particular, CASCs can take advantage of various tax reliefs, including:
- Exemption from Corporation Tax on profits and income from property (where such income falls under the thresholds set by HMRC)
- Exemption from Corporation Tax on interest received and on chargeable gains
- Business rates relief
Similarly, donors to CASCs - whether individuals or corporate bodies - are entitled to take advantage of other tax breaks such as Gift Aid, Inheritance Tax reliefs on donations, and Capital Gains reliefs.
Registration takes place with the HMRC, which is the body responsible for administering and regulating CASCs.
Although a club does not have to be a company to become a CASC, many clubs choose to incorporate at the same time as applying to become a CASC if they have not already done so. In either case, the governing document of the club – be it articles of association in the case of a company, or a written constitution in the case of an unincorporated association – must include several important provisions in order for it to be eligible for CASC status. For example, provisions must be included which ensure:
- That the venture is, in its essence, a sports club, and has as its main purpose the provision of facilities for and promotion of participation in eligible sports;
- That the club must be open to all members of the community (though this may be limited by the adoption of certain criteria with regard to age and other factors);
- That the club is organised on an amateur basis;
- That the membership is able to elect a management committee;
- That the club must be non-profit distributing; and
- (As with many other charitable organizations) that, on dissolution, the assets of the club must be paid over to another club or charity.
A club which provides facilities for and promotes participation in more than one sport may also be eligible to register as a CASC, as may (under certain circumstances) a 'parent' club which has affiliated member clubs.
Although CASCs are not in themselves charitable organisations, it is entirely possible for an existing CASC to apply to the Charity Commission for registration as a charity. However, any trading activities which may be undertaken by the CASC - for example, the operation of a cash bar on club premises - may impede efforts to obtain charitable status. As such, advice should be taken as to whether or not registration as a charity would be in the best interests of the individual CASC.
We offer a service which is designed to make registration as a CASC as easy as possible. Ensuring that the constitution of a sports club is drafted in a manner which complies with HMRC requirements can be a daunting and complicated task. Our experience in this area means that we are able to do this in the shortest time possible while still providing a full and personalised package to meet the specific requirements of your organisation. Registration as a CASC often goes hand-in-hand with incorporation as a company, and to this end we also provide an 'all-in-one' service which makes the whole procedure quick and simple. Please contact us if you would like to learn more, or to obtain a quote.