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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Tax treatment of returning officers, etc.: general and arrangements for deduction of tax

(See also the tax treatment of Electoral Registration Officers at EIM61300 onwards)


The fees received by returning officers and their staffs for duties performed at parliamentary and local elections are chargeable to tax as employment income. The fees are specifically excluded from National Insurance contributions liability by the provisions of the Social Security (Categorisation of Earners) Regulations 1975, as amended.

Special arrangements for deduction of tax have been agreed centrally and apply to payments for electoral duties connected with the conduct of European Assembly, Parliamentary, Scottish Parliamentary, Welsh Assembly, County, Regional, Islands Area, Northern Ireland Assembly, District, London Borough, English Parish and Welsh Community elections and all referenda.

Electoral duties include those of

  • returning officers and their deputies
  • acting returning officers and their deputies
  • presiding officers
  • polling clerks
  • counting assistants and
  • all others engaged in the conduct of these elections or referenda.

The arrangements do not apply to payments to electoral registration officers and their staffs for compiling the electoral register. The guidance at EIM61300 onwards applies to such payments.

Arrangements for deduction of tax

Special arrangements have been negotiated centrally to ensure that tax is deducted from payments to returning officers and their staffs without imposing the full range of PAYE duties on employers or Areas. Details of these arrangements are given at EP8595 onwards.