One of our membership bodies, for a specific segment of small to medium charitable organsiations, came to us originally with a specific requirement. The membership body’s team started to receive some non-standard VAT queries coming from their members. They couldn’t wholeheartedly advise or direct the position and HMRC guidance didn’t simplify this or assist them.
We discussed their current offering and how best we could help the members and add value to the membership itself.
vatadvice.org became their VAT experts providing a helpline for members, through their membership. Members could email or call direct with their VAT queries and we would work with them on an individual basis.
The helpline was, and is, well utilised with on average about 4-6 enquiries a month. It gives members the confidence to know they have an expert on hand, that is not only there for them, but that understands their industry sector.
From the helpline we were able to spot trends and challenges shared by the group and developed a training webinar to give regularly to new and existing members – particular when there was any relevant update or new case ruling.
We were also able to provide meaningful content for their regular membership publication, whilst helping advertise the helpline as a membership benefit.
Whilst solving the initial challenge of providing a benefit to their members, we also were able to identify a potential issue and provide a VAT service to the membership body themselves. Working with their finance department we ensured their VAT status and treatment was correct – particularly in relation to the membership subscription charges – ensuring they were both compliant with an optimised VAT position. We are now on hand for any of their own VAT queries, as well as those from their members.