As accountants we learn the various concepts that ensure that accounts are correctly presented & we learn tax legislation that helps us to keep our clients compliant. Then something comes out of the blue which seems odd, but appears to be common. A case in point is sponsorship on clothing in non VAT registered sports clubs.
In reality what should happen is that the clubs buy clothing & sell sponsorship. There is an expense & there is income. But then a helpful sponsor volunteers to pay the clothing cost direct & so claim the VAT. But think about the implications:
- The accounts of the club could become misrepresented, with income from sponsorship being offset against the costs of clothing.
- As a result of (1) the sports club could be running at above the VAT threshold without realising.
- The organisation reclaiming the VAT has effectively purchased the sponsored clothing, eventhough they may not have been invoiced.
- Given the above the sponsoring organisation should then make a gift of the clothing to the club, where VAT will need to be declared . . . thereby closing the loop. However, it may not do so. Therefore, it may be under-declaring its VAT.
When something seems too good to be true, it often is!