02 March 2015

Income-based FAQs about authorisation to practise 2018/19

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

A:  You will need to complete the Authorisation to Practise renewal via MyBar.  If your status is as a self-employed barrister you will need to declare your income as a barrister in the year ending December 2016.  

If your status is as an employed barrister you will need to declare your salary as a barrister in the tax year ending March 2017.

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

A: Do include the following:

  • Gross earnings before salary sacrifice or pension deductions from employment as a barrister or provider of reserved legal services
  • Earnings from partnerships and 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 (but not redundancy or ex gratia payments)
  • 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.
  • Reimbursed expenses
  • Investment income and interest earned (eg dividends, bank account interest, rental income)
  • Redundancy and ex gratia payments. 

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

A: You should use the same gross fee income declared to BMIF in 2017. You must deduct from this any fees earned as an Arbitrator, Mediator or Umpire. Please do not include:

  • Reimbursement of travel or business expenses included in your invoices.
  • Pupillage income received

Q: Should I include devilling as part of my income?

A: 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 of the income that is paid to the juniors from their gross fee income computation.

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

A: No. 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.

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

A: For an employed barrister: 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 2017. For a self-employed barrister: you should use the information you provided to BMIF in 2017.

Q: What is the difference between net and gross income?

A: Gross fee income is before deductions of expenses but excluding VAT. Net fee income would be after deductions of expenses or chambers fees.

Q: What about income that I have not been paid for?  

A: This would not count as the correct method is to use income received only, as per information you would have provided in your BMIF return in 2017.

Q: What evidence do I need to submit with my PCF application?

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

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

A: We will consider a variety of different documentation types as evidence. The following list is not exhaustive and includes: the official tax documents such as P60 or P45, a contract of employment or letter from your employer. If you have other earnings, the evidence you could use would be similar to that that HMRC might need to validate gross income.

Alternative documentation may be used for those not employed in the UK including statements of earnings from partnerships, accountants, or employers.