Is Bridge a sport for VAT purposes? The ECJ's decision in English Bridge Union v. HMRC

Published 14 November 2017 | Authored by: Sarah Bruce

Is it sport if I'm not out of breath?

No, according to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in a recent judgment (English Bridge Union Limited v HMRC Commissioners1).

In order to be classified as a sport for VAT purposes and benefit from the VAT exemption for sports and physical education, the ECJ judgment states that an activity must involve a certain amount of physical activity. Unusually, the ECJ's decision contradicted the opinion2 given by Advocate General Szpunar earlier this year, which had concluded that the activity in question (a competitive card game) was likely a sport.

This article examines:

  • The background to the decision

  • Tribunal cases and the referral to ECJ

  • Implications for other sports

  • Impact for the English Bridge Union continue reading register here for free


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About the Author

Sarah Bruce

Sarah Bruce

Sarah Bruce is a Director in the Tax Team at law firm Walker Morris LLP.

Comments (1)

  • Jack Webster

    08 December 2017 at 16:07 | #

    Very interesting decision. I agree with the Court in this instance, but leaves interesting implications for esports and the lack of physical activity involved?


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