Record keeping: regulatory requirements and HMRC
- Most chambers have some form of diary system which records your cases, fees, expenses and what has been paid.
- It is a professional obligation to keep proper records of your practice (rC87.2 and gC132 of the BSB Handbook). See also https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/regulatory-requirements/for-barristers/supervision/.
- There is a similar requirement to keep adequate records supporting fees charged or claimed (rC88).
- It is a good idea to set up some record system yourself – for example in Excel – to keep a note of the name and date of case, what the fee was, what expenses there were and whether the fee has been paid. This will allow you to keep track of your income and of the level of debt owed by your instructing solicitors.
- As far as tax is concerned, please see paragraph 60 of the Taxation Handbook at http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/media/301386/taxation_guidance_8th_edition__for_website_.pdf, as well as https://www.gov.uk/keeping-your-pay-tax-records/overview. In brief, you need to keep records of the documents which form the basis of your tax return either on paper or digitally for at least 22 months after the end of the tax year to which they relate. HMRC can fine you if there are missing records.