Global Edition

UK VAT rate change highlights European contrasts

12.17am 28th November 2008 - Management Topics

Chancellor Darling’s decision to lower the rate of VAT on golf memberships and green fees at the UK’s commercially run golf clubs highlights some surprising difference in tax rates within the EU, writes Geoff Russell.

Leaving aside VAT rates charged at members owned facilities (which is 0% in almost every European country) the rate paid by golfers varies from 6.0& in Holland to an eye-watering 25% in Denmark.

According to figures provided by the European Golf Owners Association other countries were golf is lightly taxed are Sweden (6%), Finland (8%) and Slovenia (8.5%) while at the other end of the scale are Germany (19%), France (19.6%) and Italy (20%).

The low rate of tax in Holland is no accident – it is result of successful lobbying by the Dutch Golf Course Owners. They persuaded their government to treat golf as a healthy sport, quoting research that proved golfers extend their life expectancy by an average of 4 years.

“The reduced rate for VAT has had appositive influence on the development of golf in Holland,” says Lodewijk Klootwijk, director of EGCOA. “This healthy sport has showed not only an increased growth in players. Also is proven is that there has been a 50% increase in the staff employed at golf courses.”

European Golf Owners Association

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