Tax & admin · 7 September 2018

Premier League referees claim tax victory against HMRC

60 referees were represented in the tribunal
A group of football referees in England has won a tribunal against HMRC to earn the right to be considered self-employed and therefore entitled to a lower tax rate.

HMRC had previously attempted to recover PAYE tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from 60 referees some of whom officiated games in the Premier League, Championship and FA Cup on the basis that they were employees of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

However, PGMOL successfully argued that the group of referees should have been treated as self-employed workers.

What is IR35?

IR35 was first introduced in 2000 as a way to combat tax avoidance through disguised employment. It dictates how freelancers and contractors are taxed when working for a client.

The rules allow HMRC to look through? an intermediary, such as a Personal Service Company (PSC), and consider whether it is appropriate for the individual to operate in PAYE and pay National Insurance contributions (NICs).

The tribunal decided the relationship between the referees and PGMOL lacked two key features of employment: mutuality of obligation (MOO) and control.

In relation to three seasons between 2013-2016, 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.


 
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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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