Becoming a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC)
Applying for Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) status is something that amateur sports clubs should consider when deciding upon the most suitable legal structure for the club. In this article, we explore what CASC status is, who is eligible to apply for it, how to apply for it and the main benefits of it.
CASC status is separate from a sport club’s legal structure, but it is interlinked with a club’s constitution and governance, enabling CASC status to underpin how a club functions.
Becoming a CASC brings mainly tax benefits through specific tax reliefs, provided certain criteria are satisfied.
Which clubs are eligible to apply for CASC status?
Any amateur sports club can apply to become registered as a CASC, subject to fulfilling the necessary criteria. However, the two most common legal structures of registered CASCs are:
- Unincorporated associations; and
- Companies limited by guarantee.
What are the criteria for CASC status?
To achieve CASC status a club must satisfy the following criteria:
- Be open to the whole community without any form of discrimination.
- Be organised on an amateur basis, be non-profit making and provide nothing more than ‘ordinary’ benefits to the members of the club. Ordinary benefits may include sporting equipment and facilities, payments to players and coaches, travel and subsistence expenses, insurance cover and the supply of medical and food and drink facilities which are incidental to the sporting purpose of the club.
- Have as its main purpose the provision of facilities for, and the promotion of participation in, one or more eligible sport which Sport England recognises.
- Be established in the UK and have all of their facilities located in the UK.
- Show those who manage and are in general control of the club are ‘fit and proper persons’ in accordance with section 661B of the Corporation Tax Act 2010.
- Non-profit making means that any surplus income or gains must be reinvested in the club and the club’s assets may not be distributed to members or third parties. However, a club can earn up to £100,000 of income annually from non-member and property income which can lead to sponsorship and trading opportunities.
How do you apply for CASC status?
To apply to become a registered CASC, a club must complete a CASC (A1) application form and submit it to HMRC together with certain constitutional documents including its articles of association and club rules, which must be CASC compliant.
What are the benefits of CASC status?
There are a range of benefits available to registered CASCs which relate mainly to the tax reliefs that are afforded them. These reliefs, which are subjects to limits and conditions, include corporation tax exemptions, business rates relief and access to the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme.
Where can you get advice?
The CASC application process is designed to be straightforward, but applications often throw up issues around land ownership, legal structure and governance. If you intend to take advice on your sports club’s CASC application, it is likely to prove most cost effective to do this via a solicitor and accountant with good experience of advising businesses in the sports sector.
For further information, please email Philip Bowers or call 0151 906 1000.