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Clarification on non contract footballers earnings

Non Contract footballers earning appearance fee and tax of expenses

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As a new Treasurer (non qualified Accountant) for a non league football club, I have been looking at how I can bring in expenses into the equation all correctly to put more into the player's back pocket without costing the club. All the players are employed on a PAYE scheme.

It is my understanding that once a player receives a regular payment for appearance, any expenses paid for travel to home games or training would be taxable as they are already profiting from playing. Expenses paid on a mileage basis for away games can be paid tax free though perhaps in lieu of appearance fee?

If a player was to only receive expenses on a mileage rate, that would be tax free however.

Also, the "trivial gifts" option could be a possibilty, obviously not performance related or in cash. Would this work in lieu of wages say once a month (store card/gift card)?

Hope someone can offer some guidance about the correctness of my assumptions please.

Thanks.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
11th Jul 2020 23:28

In theory, you can pay expenses to away games, possibly the classic temporary workplace. But if you're using these to simply replace the match fee with some tax free expense, I think you're going to find yourself stuck with the employees' tax bill plus interest and penalties at the first control visit. Bit of an own goal.

Do these players not travel together on the team bus?

Trivial benefits in lieu of wages ? Oh come on!! HMRC aren't stupid. It's just asking for trouble.

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By Tim Vane
12th Jul 2020 00:11

Every now and then HMRC has a bit of a crackdown on lower league and non-league football and rugby clubs as they know player payments are often not taxed properly and it is easy pickings for their enforcement teams. The last purge was a couple of years ago (mainly aimed at rugby clubs that time) so I'd say we're just about due another wave of investigations soon, although clubs going bust because of COVID may dampen their ardour. Either way, I would definitely advise against trying to get smart with player payment options.

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By Anonymous.
12th Jul 2020 01:04

UncleSpawn wrote:

As a new Treasurer (non qualified Accountant) for a non league football club, I have been looking at how I can bring in expenses into the equation all correctly to put more into the player's back pocket without costing the club. All the players are employed on a PAYE scheme.

The way you phrase the question and your suggested ideas do, I am afraid, make it clear that you are not sufficiently qualified in employee tax matters to advise.

As has been pointed out, the risks are high and it's not something you would want to make mistakes in.

By all means read the HMRC guidance and legislation about employment expenses but don't get involved in substituting expenses for wages.

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By Moo Cow
12th Jul 2020 09:01

Potentially a glimmer of hope for you would be have the players declare they are self employed. Using the 'badges of trade', this would apply to those players:

Who can't follow the managers instructions
Never have the full correct club kit
Substitute their alter ego (when they lose their head at get sent off)
Substitute their mate when too hung over to play

Good luck !

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Replying to Moo Cow:
RLI
By lionofludesch
12th Jul 2020 09:45

[chuckle]

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