A popular way of organising a shoot is through a ‘shooting syndicate’. Members have permission to shoot on their own properties, or sometimes over land owned by an unconnected party.
It is important to consider how a syndicate is structured, and to review it regularly, to avoid an unexpected VAT liability. There is no general rule as to whether VAT applies. It tends to be decided on a case by case basis.
Generally, VAT is not an issue where a group of individuals form, and contribute to cover the cost of, a syndicate. However, if a syndicate provides let days, this could be seen as converting the activity into a business and a VAT charge could apply. Where let days are provided, the total income should be carefully monitored so it does not exceed the VAT threshold (currently £77,000) during a 12 month period.
If a landowner, for example, grants shooting rights to a syndicate in return for a number of days shooting, this should not be regarded as ‘let’ days by the syndicate but should be treated as consideration given by the syndicate for the shooting.
Therefore, syndicates should regularly review their structures, and the number of let days provided, to ensure that the VAT threshold is not crossed. Now is a good time to be considering this ahead of the next season.