Sun 19 Jan 2020 5:38PM

Proposal: Memberships instead of tickets

CM Callum Macdonald Public Seen by 85

There's been some discussion about switching from the "we sell tickets" model, to use the "people buy memberships" model. This is how borderland is organised.

I'm not certain of the legalities and the tax details, I think @Alexxx is potentially our expert here. Maybe also @Franzi has some wisdom to offer, and @waldo may also have insights to share.

My intention is to start this discussion now, as it supports what I'm about to propose! Please feel free to edit this post to describe how this could work...


Alina, also known as Universe Sun 19 Jan 2020 8:30PM

Lovely. Yes definitely legal help needed. I assume the membership instead of a ticket has the benefit of not being taxable with VAT, which is a big bonus. I am only familiar with this in the UK. Deutschland could certainly be a different bureaucracy beast altogether ;)

VAT Liability of a Membership Subscription
The default position is that VAT is charged on any supply at the standard rate (20%). This is unless it can be argued that all or part of of the subscription should have a different VAT liability. The most likely alternative is for the subscription to be VAT exempt.

Subscriptions that can be treated as VAT exempt include those charged by professional bodies, learned societies, trade unions, political parties and philanthropic organisations. HMRC interpret these categories narrowly. For example they hold to a very traditional view of what constitutes a profession.



Franzi Mon 20 Jan 2020 7:44AM

I can do a bit of research! What comes to my head right away is the following areas: membership means that we are building a big big verein and we need to make all members part of our vereinsstructure and routines, legal/insurance: I am not sure if we are considered a public event if we only invite members (so that might be interesting for us)
Also, there was a reason last year from a finance & bookkeeping perspective wht we didnt wanted to do it. @Alexx do you have more details?


Saskia Mon 20 Jan 2020 10:13AM

We are talking a lot of 'obstacles' here. But can anyone explain to me what'd be the best argument FOR membership over tickets?

Reasons I can think about:
- we are a participatory event and a membership holds more symbolic and practical participation

  • Every Kiez Burn Participant is an automatic member of the Verein and hence gets to participate in Verein-Stuff outside of the event

  • we do things as the borderland does, obviously? Chr.

  • There might be positive results in terms of GEMA & taxes?

Are those all the arguments? I don't think so. Please enlighten me.


Saskia Mon 20 Jan 2020 10:14AM

COLLECTION THREAD - professional advice & input I collect(ed)

Alex (Wilde Möhre)
"Geht es dabei um die Art der Veranstaltung, also nichtöffentlich vs. öffentlich? Ich könnte mir vorstellen, dass man bei einer nicht öffentlichen Vereinsfeier die GEMA umgehen könnte. Denkbar wäre auch, dass die freiwillige Arbeit im Verein nicht angemeldet werden muss. Theoretisch müsste das gehen. Aber dabei sollte man sich wahrscheinlich von einem Steuerbüro helfen lassen. Wir als Möhre haben jedoch auch gute Erfahrung damit gemacht, alle Beteiligten als kurzzeitig Beschäftigte anzumelden. Für uns funktioniert das auf legalem Weg alles ganz gut."


CJ Yetman Mon 20 Jan 2020 1:30PM

What is the benefit of doing this, other than that's what Borderland does?


Franzi Tue 21 Jan 2020 6:34AM

@chmac yeah the budget piece might probably be right because this is usually the first thing we do (determining how much income we need to cover the event and week51 costs) but this is more an excel exercise the money doesnt have to flow that early. Meaning we can generate income later (with selling tickets) as long as the areas know what to work with.


Jeff Spirlock Tue 21 Jan 2020 10:51AM

Would having memberships vs tickets change the laws that apply to the event? Essentially once it is only memberships it is no longer considered an event open to the public in certain jurisdictions which can change the laws and permitting that apply to an event.

Personally I would set the minimum closer to 40.

I know Tiers aren't your proposal but what are the reasons people don't want tiered sales?


walto Tue 21 Jan 2020 9:27PM

I personally am strongly in favor of the proposal to sell temporary memberships instead of tickets, because:
* Language frames thinking: instead of buying a ticket, you buy a right to participate.
* We can start selling memberships earlier. I would argue this is a huge benefit, not necessarily for €€€, but because of the buy-in this creates + poses additional benefits for integration with the Dreams platform etc.
* Less taxes (lots of other Vereine do this thing too, where you pay membership to use the tennis courts or go hiking "for free" or ...)


Callum Macdonald Mon 20 Jan 2020 7:19PM

Would allow us to collect money before we know all the details of the date and location, which in turn allows for easier planning of some areas once we know how much money is available.


walto Tue 21 Jan 2020 9:23PM

they would be temporary memberships.

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