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Taxation Handbook

Purpose: The Bar Council’s Taxation and Retirement Benefits Guidance (the ‘Handbook’) is intended to provide practical and reliable assistance to every member of the profession, whatever their seniority or area of law.
Scope of application: Barristers and Clerks
Issued by: The Taxation Panel
First reviewed: 01/07/2014
Last reviewed: 01/05/2017
Status and effect: Please see the notice at end of this page. This is not “guidance” for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4.

Making Tax Digital 

From April 2019 all barristers who are VAT registered will have to change the way they make their VAT returns.

Download a briefing note on the new requirements from the Bar Council.

Download an FAQs from the Bar Council.

HMRC support available for those having difficulty meeting their tax liabilities

Barristers may wish to be aware of the recently launched Business Payment Support Service (BPSS). This is a service introduced by the government to help self employed people and businesses who may be having difficulties in meeting their tax liabilities. It covers most taxes and duties including VAT, Corporation Tax, PAYE, National Insurance and Income Tax. Normally this will involve agreeing a “Time to Pay” arrangement which will allow payments to be spread over a number of months. The government are actively encouraging businesses to make use of this scheme where appropriate.

Further details are available from the HMRC website  or the dedicated telephone line on 0300 200 3835 . If a payment plan is put in place before surcharges or penalties become due then these penalties will not apply although interest will be charged.


Download: Taxation Handbook 9th Edition:

Download ( PDF )


Download: Making Tax Digital - Bar Council Briefing 1:

Download ( PDF )


Download: Making Tax Digital - Bar Council Briefing 2 (FAQs):

Download ( PDF )


Important Notice

This document has been prepared by the Bar Council to assist barristers on matters of professional conduct and ethics. It is not “guidance” for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4, and neither the BSB nor a disciplinary tribunal nor the Legal Ombudsman is bound by any views or advice expressed in it. It does not comprise – and cannot be relied on as giving – legal advice. It has been prepared in good faith, but neither the Bar Council nor any of the individuals responsible for or involved in its preparation accept any responsibility or liability for anything done in reliance on it. For fuller information as to the status and effect of this document, please see here.

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