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Investing in the next generation: An overview of the new UK corporation tax relief for grassroots sport

Man holding money on sports field
Friday, 09 March 2018 By Leigh Thompson, Richard Baldwin MBE; FCA; CTA; B Com

The Finance (No. 2) Act 2017 introduced for the first time a new statutory tax relief for corporate contributions to grassroots sport in the UK.1

This article provides an overview of the new legislation and its impact on both the sports sector and wider corporate donors. The article also considers a number of potential future reforms to the relief which could further boost investment in grassroots sport through the tax system.

Specifically, it looks at:

  • Background: What is the significance of the relief and how has it come about?

  • The legislation: How does the relief work?

    • Section 217A – Relief for grassroots sport

    • Section 217B – Meaning of qualifying expenditure on grassroots sport

    • Section 217C – Meaning of qualifying sports body

    • Section 217D – Relationship with Part 6 Corporation Tax Act 2010

  • HMRC guidance on the legislation

  • Analysis: What does it mean for the sports sector and beyond?

    • Impact on NGBs

    • Impact on grass roots clubs

    • Impact on corporate donors

  • Possible future reform

    • Amend the definition of a "qualifying sports body"

    • Extend relief to allow for smoothing of grassroots expenditure over time

    • Raise the cap on direct payments

    • Enhanced tax relief for grassroots spending

  • Conclusion

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Written by

Leigh Thompson

Leigh Thompson

Leigh is a Policy Adviser at the Sport and Recreation Alliance, the umbrella organisation for the governing and representative bodies of sport in the UK.

His main areas of focus include sports betting integrity – principally providing support to the Sports Betting Group – as well as broadcasting, tax and fiscal policy and EU sports policy. He has a background in policy and regulation having held similar posts in other sectors prior to joining the Alliance.

Leigh holds degrees in Economics and Public Policy and recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Law. He has a keen interest in the legal and regulatory aspects of sport.

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Richard Baldwin MBE

Richard Baldwin MBE; FCA; CTA; B Com

Richard Baldwin MBE; FCA; CTA; B Com (Sports tax consultant)

Richard has specialised in the taxation of sport for almost 40 years. Until 2005 he was Tax Partner in Deloitte's London Office leading its sports tax practice. Since leaving Deloitte he spends most of his time advising clubs on tax particularly CASC and charity status. Much of his time is provided on a pro bono basis. He was awarded the MBE for his services to sport in 2013.
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