02 March 2015

Income-based FAQs about authorisation to practise

I am not practising as a barrister but wish to maintain my practising certificate.  What should I do?

If you were not practising as an employed barrister for the 2015/16 tax year with no earnings as a barrister during that year, but wish to retain your practising certificate for 2017/18, then you should select the band £0-£30k as your earnings.  

If you were not practising as a self-employed barrister for the 2015 calendar year with no earnings as a barrister during that year, but wish to retain your practising certificate for 2017/18, then you should select the band £0-£30k as your earnings.

What items should I include and exclude in my income as an employed barrister?

Do include the following:

  • Earnings from employment as a barrister or provider of reserved legal services
  • Earnings from partnerships & directorships where you are providing the same;
  • If you have left employment through redundancy you should include your pay/holiday pay in lieu of notice
  • Bonuses earned
  • Normal and enhanced Maternity (but exclude statutory maternity pay), Paternity Pay.

Please exclude:

  • Pensions paid to you
  • Any state benefits you receive
  • Statutory maternity pay
  • Any income that does not arise from earnings as a barrister including sitting as a judge, a council member, Member of Parliament, trustee.
  • Travel or other expenses reimbursed and travel allowances received.
  • Investment income and interest earned (e.g. dividends, bank account interest, rental income)
  • If you have been made redundant, you should exclude your redundancy payment (statutory and ex gratia payments). 

As a Self-employed barrister, what income should I include or exclude?

You should include your fees billed for the period, deducting VAT. In addition to the list above, please do not include:

  • Travel or other business expenses included in your invoices.
  • Pupillage income received Payments for fee invoices raised in the previous year

Should I include devilling as part of my income?

You should include your devilling income received as part of your total income. We would expect the senior barristers who employ devilling and make payments to juniors to deduct that part that is paid from their relevant fee income.

I sit as a part-time judge, do I include the fee income I receive from this as part of my declaration?

Any income you declare, should be on your practise as a Barrister only.  Therefore, you should not include any income from sitting as a Judge in your declaration.

If I have been paid in a foreign currency, how do I declare the income?

If you have no equivalent UK income statement, then you should use the earnings in the currency translated into sterling at the exchange rate on 31 March 2016.

What is the difference between net and gross income?

Net means after deductions of allowed expenses. This might be Net of VAT, Net of expenses, Net of chambers fees, or net of tax.  Gross income is before deductions. We want Gross fees after VAT which in most cases could be read straight from the financial accounts.

What about income that I have not been paid for?  

The correct method is to use income billed. This may be different from income earned (i.e. work done that may not have been billed for) or income paid (payments made for bills raised).

What evidence do I need to submit with my Practising Certificate Fee application?

None normally. You will only need to submit evidence of income if chosen for spot checking.

What can I use to verify my income as an employed barrister?

If you are employed in the UK, this may be P60 or P45s received from your employer. If you have other earnings, the evidence you could use would be similar to that that HMRC might need to validate income.

If not employed in the UK you may also use suitable combinations of the local equivalent tax summaries statements of earnings from partnerships, statements from accountants, or statements from your employers.