Might Freemasonry come within the definition of “religion”? Not just yet…

The Supreme Court having decided in  R (Hodkin & Anor) v Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages [2013] UKSC 77 that Scientology was a religion, the issue came up again recently in relation to Freemasonry – this time at a much lower level in the system. In this case, however, the First-tier Tribunal Tax Chamber took the view that it was not.


The United Grand Lodge of England is an unincorporated association of what might be termed “traditional” Freemasons. In United Grand Lodge of England v Revenue & Customs [2014] UKFTT 164 (TC) it appealed against HMRC’s decision of 6 April 2010 that its supplies to its members in return for their subscriptions were not exempt from VAT. The decision in dispute related to output tax accounted for since 1977 [para 98]. Continue reading