The new extension underway at Kingscourt Harps AFC.

Kingscourt soccer club calls for VAT rebate on building work

A local soccer club is accusing the government of scoring an own goal when it comes to the expansion of community sport facilities.

The secretary of Kingscourt Harps AFC, Dominic Sheenan, is calling on the authorities to change the rules to allow sport clubs to claim VAT back on costs associated with installing new facilities.

Kingscourt Harps AFC is in the process of adding a second floor to its existing clubhouse and extending the changing rooms to make more space to host events such as blitzes, meetings and coaching courses. Works are expected to be completed by the end of September. The club also hopes to upgrade their playing pitch in the coming weeks.

The cost of the new extension they revealed is €340,000, including €40,000 in VAT.

Club secretary, Dominic Sheenan, said he would like the government to refund all amateur “grassroots clubs” any VAT payments on facilities.

He suggested the introduction of a policy or system whereby any VAT accumulated on new facilities, costing over €10,000, could be claimed back through club accountants annually when submitting end of year accounts.

“The government shouldn’t make money on clubs at grassroots level,” he fumed.

Budgeting for the new pitch, Dominic predicts, it will cost €250,000 with €30,000 of this going to the government in VAT.

Despite receiving some grants for upgrading facilities, for which the club is most grateful, Dominic says they are nearly devalued when the majority must be paid back in tax.

“We’re getting €150,000 the [Sports Capital] programme, but we’re giving back forty in VAT.

“Clubs are swelling, they need to add to facilities and improve facilities all the time to keep pace with the growth of participation.”

Considering the vitality of clubs such as Kingscourt Harps AFC to communities across the country, Dominic said he would “love for the government to get a hold of this and say ‘right, he has a point, we’re actually charging clubs like that a lot in VAT and it adds up to millions and millions’.”

The father of five said “every town is rampant in the country with drugs and kids, teenagers need that outlet.

“They need sport, to be active in sport and it’s great for kids to be involved and be part of a team.

“They need bit of fun too,” he contended.

The two local schools in Kingscourt have their own key to access the facilities during the school term.

“Every single day the schools use the pitch,” he said, adding that “every evening from 5.30pm until 10pm, the pitch is used.

“Clubs are trying to keep kids involved in sports,” he asserted.

“The government can’t give grants to every club and some clubs are good at fundraising and some clubs are not so good at fundraising.

“There’s only so much you can ask the community to give,” the Kingscourt native concluded.

In response to a query, a spokesperson form the Revenue Commission said: “VAT cannot however be reclaimed on goods or services used for... non-business activities. If an accountable person incurs costs that relate to both taxable and other activities, VAT can be reclaimed on the portion of costs, which are related to taxable supplies.”

They further clarified: “An accountable person, for this purpose, means an entity which supplies taxable goods or services in the State (ie goods or services that are subject to VAT under VAT Consolidation Act 2010) and is registered or required to register for VAT.”

The spokesperson added: “Sports bodies, which engage in the development of sport, are generally treated as not engaging in business activities, and are therefore not considered to be making taxable supplies.

“In addition, the provision of sporting facilities by non-profit making organisations is exempt from VAT under Irish legislation. As such supplies are not subject to VAT, there is no entitlement to deduct VAT on costs incurred in association with the provision of same.”