Search
Close this search box.

HMRC red-carded over Prem League refs’ employment status

The Government should write into statute a positive definition of self-employment after an employment tribunal found that HMRC should have treated professional football referees as contractors and not employees, IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) said. 
issue 168

The Government should write into statute a positive definition of self-employment after an employment tribunal found that HMRC should have treated professional football referees as contractors and not employees, IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) said. Contributor Andy Chamberlain, Deputy Director of Policy – IPSE’s.

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) successfully argued that a group of referees – some of whom officiated in the Premier League, Championship and FA Cup – should have been treated as self-employed.

HMRC had sought to recover PAYE tax and NICs from PGMOL, on the basis that the 60 referees should have been classed as PGMOL employees.

The tribunal found that the relationship between the referees and PGMOL lacked two key features of employment: mutuality of obligation, and control. Relating 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”.

The case was PGMOL v HMRC. Andy Chamberlain, IPSE’s Deputy Director of Policy, commented: “HMRC lost this case because, yet again, it misconstrued the concept of mutuality of obligation which it seems to assume is present in every engagement. The tribunal disagreed.

“That, combined with a lack of control by PGMOL over the referees, clearly indicated that this was not an employee-employer engagement. Unfortunately, we have again had to rely on the courts to make this determination.

“This comes on the back of HMRC having lost three out of four cases in the tax tribunal that also turned on a misunderstanding of key employment indicators.

“What this highlights is that the rules in this area are very complex, and if HMRC are struggling to determine who is employed and who is self-employed, then so too is everyone else.  

“The best way to address this legal uncertainty is to write into a law a positive definition of self-employment.

“This would send a clear signal about who is and who isn’t self-employed, and would mean that individuals wouldn’t have to rely on the courts to get a resolution.”


Receive more HR related news and content with our monthly Enewsletter (Ebrief)

Read more

Latest News

Read More

The HR revolution – a collaborative journey

20 June 2024

Newsletter

Receive the latest HR news and strategic content

Please note, as per the GDPR Legislation, we need to ensure you are ‘Opted In’ to receive updates from ‘theHRDIRECTOR’. We will NEVER sell, rent, share or give away your data to third parties. We only use it to send information about our products and updates within the HR space To see our Privacy Policy – click here

Latest HR Jobs

University of Oxford – Department of Politics and International RelationsSalary: £36,024 to £44,263 per annum

Jackson Hogg are delighted to be exclusively supporting an established manufacturing client based in Sunderland with the appointment of a Head of HR. £48,000 –

The HR Director (HRD) will be a key member of the UK senior management team, driving the business forwards through being accountable for the attraction,

The HR Director (HRD) will be a key member of the UK senior management team, driving the business forwards through being accountable for the attraction,

Read the latest digital issue of theHRDIRECTOR for FREE

Read the latest digital issue of theHRDIRECTOR for FREE