Football referees win HMRC case over employment status

HMRC recently received the red card from the nation’s top referees. A legal definition around what it means to be self-employed is one step closer to reality.

Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) is responsible for match officials in English professional football. They recently won a court ruling against the taxman after successfully arguing that match officials should be considered self-employed in the same way clergyman are.

Taxman V Contractee

HMRC tried to recover PAYE tax and national insurance contributions from PGMOL on the basis that 60 referees should be considered employees.

A tribunal found the relations between PGMOL and the referees were missing two key elements – mutuality of obligation and control. Employment tribunal judge, Sarah Falk, concluded that “individual appointments to matches were engagements to perform the task of officiating at the match in question for a fee and not contracts of service.”

What could happen now?

The calls for a clear definition of self-employment in the current statute are increasing, following several cases that have recently been contested by HMRC.

What this case demonstrates is that this area is now so complex, not only are businesses and contractors having trouble deciding what constitutes self-employment but so too are the powers that be.

Protecting your business against the potential pitfalls using contractors can pose financially is more important now than ever. To find out more about how we can help, contact us.

Read more about this latest ruling and what the press has to say here:

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