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Bridport: VAT on ‘green fees’ and articles 133 & 134

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In HMRC v Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club Ltd, the CJEU held that ‘green fees’ charged by non-profit making member’s golf clubs fell within the VAT exemption conferred by article 132(1)(m) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC. Whilst the decision primarily focused upon the sporting exemption, the court considered the permissible restrictions which member states may seek to impose in relation to the exemption pursuant to articles 134 and 133(d). The CJEU affirmed that member states have no power to differentiate between recipients of services which were essentially identical. The judgment also suggests that article 133(d) does not stand alone but must be viewed in the context of the whole of article 133; it therefore has a far narrower meaning than many had previously considered.

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