Maximising Owner Sponsorship

Under the VAT Scheme, receiving sponsorship income allows owners to register for VAT, enabling them to recover VAT on their racing activity.

The ROA / Tote Owner-Sponsorship Scheme provides a simple means by which owners can take advantage of this concession. Each year the scheme covers over 1,500 horses and the sponsorship agreements are lodged with Weatherbys.

With the cost of keeping a horse in training in the region of £18,500 to £23,000 a year, an owner can expect to reclaim around £3,700 to £4,000. This doesn’t take into account any VAT element on a horse’s purchase price, which can also be recovered.

VAT is recoverable on costs that are invoiced to the VAT registered entity for relevant supplies, and should normally be fully recoverable on the following:

  • Racehorse purchase
  • Training fees
  • Gallop fees
  • Veterinary fees
  • Farrier costs
  • Transport of the horse
  • Jockeys riding fees and retainers
  • Entry fees (BHA administration element only)

Livery yard fees and keep costs while a horse is at an owner’s premises may also be recoverable for the period immediately prior to a horse going into training and during temporary absence from the trainer’s premises.

Owners are reminded that there are a number of peripheral heads of expenditure where VAT may be recoverable. These are listed in A Guide to the VAT Scheme, available online at and include:

  • Travel costs of the owner when their horse is declared to run, and when visiting the horse at its trainer’s stable, and when travelling to buy or sell horses.
  • Reasonable costs of refreshments and meals (not including entertainment of others) associated to visits.
  • Entry costs where an owner doesn’t receive free admission, e.g. in the case of an extended racing partnership.
  • A 10% allowable apportionment of an owner’s telephone and/or mobile phone bill. Where applicable, installation, rental or purchase may also be included.
  • Charges from professional advisers, e.g. bloodstock agents and accountants.
  • It should be noted that all reclaims for refund of VAT should be supported by a proper VAT invoice.