On 29th January 2016 HMRC published an update to their detailed guidance notes for Community Amateur Sports Clubs following the changes made to the scheme in April last year.
The update consists of the insertion of an extra paragraph, at 2.3.9, regarding Honorary memberships as follows:
2.3.9 Some clubs offer honorary or free life memberships (or equivalent) to some members to thank them for serving a club for many years as a coach, committee member, umpire or volunteer. CASCs can offer honorary or life memberships if they continue to be open to the whole community. A CASC cannot restrict applications by new members on the basis that the Club has lots of honorary members and cannot accept any new members. HMRC will consider what criteria a club uses for granting honorary and free life memberships to ensure that a club is open to the whole community and it does not restrict the number of ordinary memberships available.
At first glance this new clause may not be of much relevance to many golf clubs, however it may be worth checking the club’s rules on honorary memberships to ensure the criteria do not conflict with any of the parameters in Clause 2.3 – Open to all without discrimination.
CASC registered Clubs only have until 31st March 2016 to demonstrate that they meet all the requirements of the new rules to continue with their CASC registration or, if they do not, opt out without penalty. However, if HMRC find that a CASC has broken the previous rules they reserve the right to backdate deregistration and apply a charge.
Full details can be found in Section 6 of the updated detailed guidance notes.