Guidance for Clubs Wishing to Apply for Charitable Status or to Claim Gift Aid

Applying for Charitable Status

The English Bridge Union has recently concluded discussions with The Charity Commission to provide a standard application process for those EBU affiliated clubs which wish to apply for charitable status as a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation).

This section of the EBU website contains all the resources and guidance that your bridge club will need to make such an application.

You will need to complete the Approved Governing Document (AGD) which is a variation of the EBU’s Model Club Constitution. This document will replace your club’s current constitution so be sure to study it very carefully and understand the implications of its content. You need to fill in the blank portions of the document appropriately as you will need to submit the completed documents with your application (see below). Please use the accompanying notes to help complete the AGD.


Gift Aid on Bridge Club membership subscriptions

Gift Aid is generally only available on payments made as gifts to a charity. Payments in return for benefits are not eligible unless the benefits are of token value, within specified limits. Many bridge clubs charge an annual subscription for membership in addition to table money. HMRC state that where the club is a charity and the membership fee simply gives the basic rights of membership and does no more than cover basic administration costs, it could regard the membership subscription as a gift qualifying for gift aid. Hence bridge clubs

  • 1. registered as a charity with the Charity Commission; or
  • 2. with a turnover of less than £5000, who can’t register with the Charity Commission but meet the requirements to be a charity

may be able to claim Gift Aid on the annual membership subscription for anyone who pays tax by registering with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The HMRC guidelines on this issue are detailed in Chapter 3.37 of Gift Aid Guidelines. We believe a number of bridge clubs, which are registered with HMRC as charities, are successfully claiming gift aid on their subscriptions and this is providing significant help towards the running costs of the club. The EBU is not in a position to provide detailed individual advice but we recommend that clubs considering applying to HMRC should ensure:

  • 1. they have read and understood the HMRC guidelines
  • 2. they are either registered as a charity with the Charity Commission or if they have an annual income of less than £5000 that they meet the charitable purpose and public benefit requirements of charity law

If clubs are in any doubt about the applicability of either of these principles to their situation, then we recommend they seek professional advice. If you need further assistance then please contact us on 01296 317200.