Due to changes in HMRC CASC regulations we are now required to introduce a self-declaration system of participation – at least 50% of named members must participate 12 or more times a year. During the upcoming membership renewal process you will be asked if you intend participating at least 12 times in the forthcoming season. We will also ask those non participating individuals in Family Memberships to voluntarily remove their names from the membership database. More details as follows…

As you may know Reading Sailing Club is a HMRC registered Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC). This provides us with some valuable rate relief and preferential tax treatment.

HMRC have recently tightened the regulations around CASC status. This is due to twin concerns around high membership fees/costs restricting membership, and clubs generating significant (tax-free) income from non-sporting activities (e.g. bar revenues). While none of these issues apply to Reading SC, we are nonetheless caught up in this. Full details on CASC status, the benefits, and the recent changes to the HMRC regulations can be found document at the end of this email.

Following a review and guidance from the RYA , the committee has decided that we should retain our CASC status, and so retain the benefits.

The key change to the regulations that directly impacts members, is that HMRC requires all CASC clubs to comply with a 50% participating member rule. A participating member is defined as someone who takes part in 12 or more events/activities a year.

Therefore in order to retain CASC status, the club must be able to demonstrate that 50% of our membership participates in 12 or more events/activities a year. This requirement covers all membership classes (with the exception of group memberships /affiliated organisations), and specifically includes all individuals within a family membership.

So what counts as participation? Essentially it covers all the sailing activity (racing, training, pirates, free sailing etc..), as well as all the other activities necessary to support sailing (e.g. race duties, rescue boat), and work parties to maintain the club. Parents who attend their children’s training, pirates, free sailing sessions count as Shore Crew, since they help with the rigging de-rigging, and launch/recovery of boats. A full list can be found in the document at the end of this email.

So how does the Club currently match up against this requirement? On an initial assessment the committee believe the Family Membership Category is at most risk of not meeting this requirement. This is due to the inclusion of individuals within the membership (e.g. spouse/partners or very young children) who have no intention of sailing. This is a common issue for all clubs (not just sailing).

So what does this all mean for me? The committee’s objective is to comply with this new requirement as smoothly and efficiently as possible avoiding tedious and burdensome record keeping etc. Therefore, we will ask members to self-certify their intended level of participationfor the coming season at the time of renewal.

Therefore at membership renewal you will be requested to complete an online tick box form for the following:

  1. For all individuals, whether for the upcoming 2021/22 season they intend participating at least 12 times.
  2. Specifically for Family Memberships, if there are individuals who have no interest in sailing / participating, and therefore can be removed from the membership records.

The intent of the second question is simply to remove from our membership records those individuals who do not have any interest in sailing, but have been included (by default) within a Family Membership. Thus making it easier for the club to reach the 50% threshold. It does not of course mean that they are not welcome down at the club. We would ask that they are recorded as guests in the visitor’s book. Of course if they subsequently wish to take up sailing then we would willing add them back into our records.

It has also to be stressed that this participation requirement should not be seen as a mandate, or a condition of membership. It is well understood that some members, while wanting to sail, have very valid reasons why they cannot participate 12 times a year. We would still actively encourage such members to remain part of the club and participate as much as they wish. The 12 event requirement is after all not a blanket requirement, but a requirement that 50% of the club must meet in aggregate.