Michael Steed examines the concept of mutuality of obligation and assesses its significance as we head for the new off-payroll working rules in the private sector, currently scheduled for April 2021
It was the decision in Professional Game Match Oﬃcials Limited (PGMOL)  UKUT 147 (TCC) on employment vs self-employment for football referees that once again brought the issue of mutuality of obligation (MOO) to the forefront. The phrase mutuality of obligation has been in use for years; but what does it mean and how (if at all) has its significance changed over the years?
I am not going to use this article to discuss employment law issues, except to the extent that they help us understand the tax issues. Rather it will address MOO as a concept, just as relevant in employment law cases as it is in tax cases (see for example Clark v Oxfordshire Health Authority  IRLR 125).
The concept of mutuality of obligation