VAT COULD INCREASE WELSH ENTRY FEES
Rally4wales can’t avoid charging VAT in new road cleaning scheme
Entry fees for crews competing in Welsh Government-run forests could still rise, as the newly formed Rally4wales will have to charge VAT on its road clearing services for 2017.
A stalemate was reached between the UK motorsport governing body, the Motor Sports Association, and Natural Resources Wales – which runs the forests owned by the Welsh Government – over the costs of preparing and cleaning roads after rallying events had taken place.
The Rally4wales campaign was set up to take on the burden of clearing the roads, ensuring fees would only rise by government-fixed interest levels.
Now the costs have been questioned, with clubs seeking advice on VAT and how it will affect their entry fees. Due to the way clubs are structured, some will be able to claim the money back. The clubs that can’t will face an increase of as much as 20 per cent on entry fees. For a £300 entry fee, that would rise to £360.
Rally4wales founder Jamie Edwards said: “It has been a very challenging period for all parties as we have done a considerable amount of work trying to resolve and clarify where we and the clubs themselves will stand on VAT.
“There are a wide-ranging number of scenarios, but we are doing our utmost to ensure that the impact of VAT we must charge is minimised where possible. With VAT having not been a consideration on previous agreements this is clearly very new ground for the organising clubs and we are mindful of the close proximity of the 2017 season.
“We are pleased to have concluded our negotiations with the MSA over the contractual matters and we are now working hard to ensure that our initial repair plans for events running in early 2017 are signed off by Natural Resource Wales.”
VAT was not previously an issue as NRW was a government subsidiary. So as a land owner it was exempt from VAT on repairing its own land. With Rally4wales taking over the road cleaning, it’s deemed as a service and is taxable.
It’s been a year dominated by bad news for British rallying. Or so it feels like speaking to fans of the sport towards the back end of 2016.
There’s the Rally4wales saga and whether England and Scotland did badly out of the affair, with costs rising in forests countrywide. It feels like there’s less and less spectators in rallying and that coverage from general media seems to be in decline. Then there’s the lack of closed-road events in the UK, still, and the increasing plight of front-wheel-drive cars forced to compete at the back of the field, guiding them into ruts and damaging machinery already run on a shoe-string.
All these items capable of forming a Telenovela have all happened and are true. And it feels like I’ve been going on about them all year.
But the rally fan within me wants to remind you that, at least in terms of competition, 2016 had the makings of a classic.
Let’s start in Britain. The British Rally Championship relaunched with over a million pounds worth of machinery in action on some of the best stages in the country in Mid Wales. The British rallying community got out and supported the national championship, and if you’ve been following the championship’s social media feeds with its moments of the year, it’s been a good one. Competition-wise Elfyn Evans may have been a shade too quick, but his competition will have improved for this year.
Then there’s the BTRDA; the series featured cracking class battles throughout its well-supported categories, and the Gold Star returned to form with a battle down to the wire. The wise hand Charlie Payne came out on top, ahead of young charger Luke Francis’s Evo.
Speaking of young chargers, Garry Pearson took the Scottish championship down to the penultimate stage, and retired in heartbreaking fashion. The popular Jock Armstrong took his second title in a row.
And last but not least, arguably the best of all. Turn to page 17 and you’ve got a championship that changed its rules for the 2016 season, the Irish Tarmac Championship. No one could have predicted how popular it would be, but double figures in R5s is better than the couple of sporadic WRCS present in 2015. Credit to the organisers for making a decision I wasn’t sure about in 2016, but it certainly proved me wrong with four cars capable of winning the championship on the last stage no less.
And those are just some of the main championships, I’ve not even mentioned the strength of certain events like the Circuit of Ireland and Rally Isle of Man.
It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but when it comes to competition, 2016 was one of the best in a while.
Entries could rise by 20 per cent for Rally4wales events
Some events can avoid VAT rise depending on its structure