Thursday, September 02, 2010

Disabled Sports Clubs 'Missing Out'

Sports clubs for the disabled are missing out on a multimillion-pound tax boost in the run-up to the Paralympics, London 2012 sponsor Deloitte has said.
Thousands of disability clubs were urged to switch to Charity or Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC) status in a bid to save themselves an average of £14,800 each per year in tax.

For smaller-level local clubs, the average CASC saving is around £3,700 annually, according to Deloitte, which provides London 2012 management consulting and financial support services. This is a missed opportunity as "relatively few" amateur clubs take this step despite cash being a "precious commodity, often in short supply," Heather Hancock, lead partner for London 2012 at Deloitte said.

British Paralympic Association chief executive Phil Lane said disability sports clubs need to be thinking about getting "in the best shape possible to make the most of the interest the Paralympic Games in London will generate".

Currently around 2,000 disability sports clubs are registered with Parasport, a website set up in 2006 by Deloitte and ParalympicsGB to provide information on disability sport facilities across the UK. It gets around 25,000 hits a month with half of those visitors using the "Find a Club" search. If just 10% more of these clubs registered as CASCs and a further 10% as charities, they could realise £7.5 million of tax savings between now and 2012.

Ms Hancock said: "Many clubs are not taking advantage of the financial reliefs currently available to them. The 2012 Paralympic Games in London represent a great opportunity to generate more support for disability sport and to boost participation at a local level.

"Disability sports clubs should ensure they're in the best financial position to take advantage of the increased interest. A significant revenue boost to disability sports clubs would help them increase participation levels by improving facilities, increasing the number of sports on offer and so on. More people with disability playing and getting competitive in sport is exactly the kind of long-term legacy benefit from hosting the Paralympic Games that we're all keen to see."

Mr Lane said: "I would urge clubs to see if being a CASC or charity would work for them, there is plenty of support and guidance available to make an informed decision and they can now access this through Deloitte Parasport."

The "vast majority" of amateur sports clubs would already meet the charity or CASC qualifying criteria but each club would have to consider which option is best for them. Extra administration work, such as preparing a trustees' annual report and accounts, will come with being a registered charity.

But Karen Potts, partner in the tax practice at Deloitte, said: "The administrative obligations for CASCs are less stringent, which means the scheme may be a preferable alternative to those clubs with a small organising committee or management. Whichever route is chosen by an individual club, the financial benefits of either charitable or CASC registration are clear and should be considered by all amateur sports clubs as a means of boosting available resources."

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