A bridge too far? HMRC rules that bridge is a game, not a sport

In a decision that will have members of the English Bridge Union choking on their morning Jaffa Cakes, HM Revenue & Customs has ruled that bridge is a game, not a sport.

While you may consider that the English judicial system could spend its time on more weighty matters than the categorisation of popular pastimes, the distinction has important implications.

The English Bridge Union has annual competition entry fees of more than £600,000. If bridge is classified as a sport, not a game, then it would be able to reclaim the (not insignificant) VAT on those fees. Other pursuits, such as darts, croquet and billiards, have all benefited from being classed as sports for tax purposes, even if they are yet to feature at the Olympics…

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