Category Archives: Financial affairs, accounting and tax for the self-employed Bar

Overdrafts, practice loans, mortgages and credit

It sounds old fashioned, but it is helpful to have a good relationship with your bank manager. It is important to make sure that your bank understands that you are a self-employed barrister. Some banks will require you to have a business account and will charge fees in relation to it. Banks may say that they require you to have

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Financial institutions used to dealing with barristers

Most high street banks should be used to dealing with barristers or self-employed individuals. One of the best ways to find a good bank or building society is to speak to other members of chambers and see if they have any recommendations or advice. The YBC’s Thea Wilson says: “In my experience, only the branches on Fleet Street have any

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Study loans and pupillage awards

Study loans are sadly not tax deductible and are not seen by HMRC as a business expense. Scholarships from the Inns are exempt from income tax. In relation to pupillage awards the Bar Council and HMRC have reached an agreement as to the taxation treatment of pupillage awards. There are two options: Option 1: The pupillage award in respect of

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Outstanding fees: fee chasing and collection

If your fees are seriously delayed your first port of call is your clerks or fee clerk. They will usually manage the chasing of outstanding fees for you. Where work is undertaken on contractual terms and solicitors refuse or fail to pay, the only remedy is to initiate court proceedings for recovery of the debt. The Bar Council’s website gives

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How long do you have to wait?

Prior to 2013 the Bar operated under non-contractual default Terms of Work. Barristers did not generally opt to use contractual terms and in those circumstances it was not possible for barristers to sue for their fees. Their only remedy in the event of non-payment was through the Bar Council’s Fees Collection Scheme. See http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/supporting-the-bar/fees-collection/. Barristers are now advised to establish clear

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Terms of payment

Chief Executive Carolyn McCombe observes:   “Most clerks regard fees as their preserve and may well be offended if a pupil or junior tenant appears to be critical of the fee.  However, it is obviously important that people understand the rationale of any fees, particularly if they are out of the ordinary. “The new costs budgeting regime has changed the

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Chambers financial administration: what do or should your clerks do for you?

When you become a tenant or join a new set of chambers it should be made clear to you how your clerks and fee clerks operate. If in doubt, speak to a junior tenant who has been in practice for a year, a former pupil supervisor or another member of Chambers you feel happy approaching. When a brief fee has

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Income expectations at the Bar

Income at the Bar can vary widely depending on your area of practice, whether you do privately paying or publicly funded work and whether you are employed or self-employed. In general terms Bar Council and BMIF records for 2014/2015 show the earnings of self-employed barristers to be lower than those for the employed Bar during the first 3 years of

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Financial affairs, accounting and tax for the self-employed Bar

The Bar Council has published a Taxation Handbook entitled ‘Taxation and retirement benefits guidance’. The Handbook, now in its 8th edition, aims to provide “guidance for Barristers and Clerks to support the efficient management of their practices”. It provides a wealth of detail, with chapters on – amongst other things – income tax, advice to pupils and barristers starting practice, chambers expenses,

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