For associations that participate in mind sports such as bridge, chess, checkers and go, the VAT exemption has been permanently canceled. The sport value-added tax exemption was not applicable, and now the State Secretary Philpreve (Finance) has decided that there is also no cultural heritage and that the associated exemption does not apply.
In 2017, the European Court of Justice ruled that activities and services around the Match Bridge cannot be exempted from VAT. There is no question of sport because of “a little physical element”. Philpreve’s predecessor, Snel, promised the House of Representatives in 2018 to investigate whether mental sports could participate in the cultural VAT exemption.
Possible exemption from cultural heritage
In a letter to the House of Representatives, Villeglebriff states that the end of the sporting VAT exemption also applies to “other activities that are still currently classified as (thinking) sports with a minimal material component, such as chess, checkers and go.” Since the term sport of the mind cannot be clearly defined, Secretary of State specifically refers to bridge, chess, drafts and go in his letter. The court indicated that a cultural exemption could be granted by a member state if the activity – in this case the bridge of competition – occupies such a large place in the country’s social and cultural heritage that it is part of that country’s culture. Can be considered. According to a previous court decision, member states are free to choose whether or not that is the case, and which of these cultural achievements the member states would like later to facilitate with the cultural exemption. So the exemption has its own character, and depending on the role the activity plays in a country’s culture, it can vary from one member state to another.
The question for the study was what policy framework would fit the exemption from cultural value-added tax in the Netherlands and whether there was an intangible cultural heritage as part of Dutch culture in the game of bridge, chess, checker and take off. Cultural value-added tax exemption relates to services that inherently contribute to the management and preservation of tangible cultural heritage. Cultural Heritage Management and Preservation means inventorying, disseminating, highlighting and preserving the cultural heritage for future generations. Services whose primary purpose is cultural activity, such as giving members the opportunity to pursue their hobby or otherwise spend their free time, are not included.
There is insufficient evidence
A complicating factor is that the concept of intangible cultural heritage has not been clearly defined. I found insufficient evidence that the aforementioned mental sports are related to the cultural heritage of our society. This leads to the conclusion that, on the basis of the established policy, there is currently no justification for applying the cultural VAT exemption to services for maintaining and managing activities such as bridge, chess, checkers and go.
There is talk with the sports federations about the possibilities of benefiting from the exemption as much as possible.