Financial affairs, accounting and tax for the employed Bar

Generally, the financial affairs of employed barristers are much more straightforward than those of their self-employed colleagues.  However, barristers moving from the self-employed to employed Bar should consider retaining an accountant during the transition period, as these barristers may have to continue filing tax returns for a short period following the transition.

Barristers employed under a contract of employment will normally pay tax, national insurance contributions and student loan repayments through the PAYE system, meaning these deductions are taken from their salaries automatically.

The situation will be different for those employed “under a written contract for services which is for a determinate period (subject to any provision for earlier termination on notice” (see definitions in the BSB Handbook) who may well find that they are categorised as “employed” for regulatory purposes but “self-employed” for taxation purposes.

In addition, employed barristers’ Practising Certificate Fees are also generally paid by their employers (although this must be confirmed with the relevant employer in each individual case, as it will not always apply).

Insurance is also usually arranged through the employer, but individuals need to confirm this with the particular employer in question. Employed barristers are unable to obtain cover from the BMIF.

Most employers do not pay the Bar Representation Fee.