Football referees are self-employed

Many of you will be looking forward to the football season resuming, albeit behind closed doors. There has been an interesting tax case recently concerning the employment status of referees.

The Upper Tier Tribunal has rejected an appeal by HM Revenue & Customs concerning whether referees officiating at matches in the Championship and lower leagues were employees of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

Whilst referees in charge of Premier League matches are employees of PGMOL, those refereeing other matches have always been treated as self-employed.

A crucial determinant was the degree of control over the individual and whether there is “mutuality of obligations” (MOO) between the parties.

This means that the employer is obliged to provide work and the employee is obliged to perform the work provided. The Upper Tribunal decided that no such obligations were present.

MOO is a key factor in determining employment status and it is considered that insufficient weighting is placed on this factor when using the Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) software which is a cornerstone of the “off-payroll” working rules scheduled to be rolled out to the private sector from 6 April 2021.

Our sports business specialists at Beavis Morgan have a strong presence in the sector, advising sports clubs, individuals, service and management companies, as well as event organisers, governing bodies and a range of other sporting organisations.

Visit our Sports Sector page to find out more about our full range of business and tax advisory services tailored to the sector. Alternatively, contact Peter Drown  or your usual Beavis Morgan Client Partner to find out more about how we can help you and your business.

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