The Revenue Commissioners are currently studying the ECJ judgment on Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club in England. In that case, the ECJ decided that levying VAT on green fees paid by non-members to play at member-owned clubs was not in line with EU law. The UK and the Republic are both governed by the same EU VAT Directive. Until now, VAT has been levied on green fees paid by non-members in member-owned clubs, while membership fees have been VAT-exempt.
As a result of the ruling, member-owned clubs can, in theory, apply to the Revenue for a VAT refund on green fees paid by non-members for the past four years. Depending on the year, the rate of VAT paid would have been either 9 or 13.5 per cent. The 9% rate applied since mid 2011.
Revenue is currently preparing guidance for clubs on the issue. It will not apply to commercially-owned courses.
Deputy Griffin is to seek further clarification on the matter from the Minister for Finance.