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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Debt and return pursuit: PAYE recovery and associated processes: special arrangements/schemes: barristers’ senior clerk schemes

There can be two Barristers schemes in operation; the barristers’ chambers PAYE scheme for chambers staff (dealt with at DMBM523415) and a separate scheme for the senior clerk (dealt with here). These will normally both be administered by the senior clerk.

Barristers’ senior clerks PAYE schemes

The advice that follows only applies to barristers’ senior clerk PAYE schemes and not barristers’ chambers PAYE schemes.

To identify these cases the employer name should always contain the words ‘senior clerk’ or similar, for example, ‘J Smith QC (Senior Clerk)’ or ‘J Smith (P Jones snr. clerk)’.

The Head of Chambers is the nominal employer in the senior clerk PAYE schemes. The operation of PAYE is delegated to the senior clerk who then operates PAYE on all payments made to the senior clerk by individual barristers. Failure by the senior clerk to comply with the obligations on the operation of the scheme may result in it being cancelled and replaced with separate schemes for each barrister of the chambers. Subsequently each barrister will then be responsible for the administration of their own PAYE scheme. This would be an added burden for the barristers.

Senior clerk PAYE schemes are non-statutory and cannot be enforced through the normal enforcement routes.

Payments

By concession, these schemes can make quarterly payments (July, October, January and April) even if they pay more than £1,500 per month.

These schemes may automatically be changed from a quarterly to monthly payer by BROCS and if you identify such a scheme, amend the EMY (Estimated Monthly Yield) on BROCS to £1,499.99 or less - you will have to manually update the EMY at the start of every year as BROCS will automatically amend the EMY to the correct amount and pursue monthly if over £1,500.00.

Employers and Employees NIC should be paid through the barristers’ chambers PAYE scheme, and tax through the barristers’ senior clerk scheme, but this does not always happen. The barrister senior clerk is liable for the Employee NIC and Tax due. The barrister chambers are liable for the Employers NIC.

Where payment has not been made

If a phone number is held:

  • contact the barrister’s senior clerk (note: if the scheme has been set up in the name of the Head of Chambers, you will need to ask for the senior clerk where the name is not known)
  • request immediate payment
  • advise we will have to contact the Head of Chambers if payment is not forthcoming
  • record action history on IDMS
  • B/F the case for 14 calendar days.

If a phone number is not held or you are unable to make telephone contact:

  • issue the letter at PAYE Enforcement - PAYE310 (1st warning) from SEES
  • record action history on IDMS
  • B/F the case for 14 calendar days.

Where payment has still not been made

If a phone number is held:

  • Make further contact with the barrister’s senior clerk and Head of Chambers at the same time
  • advise that if payment is not forthcoming then consideration will be given to withdraw the non-statutory scheme concession and explain the consequences of this, which is that each barrister

    • engaging the senior clerk services will have to operate a separate PAYE scheme.
    • will have to administer their own PAYE scheme, make deductions directly from the senior clerk and pay them directly to HMRC.
  • record action history on IDMS
  • B/F the case for 7 calendar days.

If a phone number is not held or you are unable to make telephone contact:

  • Issue letter PAYE Enforcement - PAYE310 Barrister warning letter (2nd warning)
  • record action history on IDMS
  • B/F the case for 7 days.

Where payment is still not forthcoming

Where despite all your efforts payment is still not made you should refer the case details to the DM Operational Support, PAYE Technical mailbox (DMB).