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HMRC internal manual

VAT Time of supply

Tax points for specific categories of supplier: barristers and advocates

Tax points for supplies made by barristers acting in a professional capacity are governed by regulation 92 of the VAT Regulations 1995 (see VATTOS2365). The regulation also applies in Scotland to supplies made by advocates. Under this regulation the tax point is the earlier of the following times

  • receipt of payment of the fee (to the extent of the amount received)
  • the date of issue of a VAT invoice (to the extent of the amount invoiced for), or
  • the day when the barrister or advocate ceases to practise.

For most supplies by practising barristers the tax point will be the receipt of payment. This is because the fee notes normally issued to solicitors do not become VAT invoices until they are receipted and returned to the solicitor following payment.

Unusually for supplies covered by the time of supply regulations, a tax point is also created for outstanding fees at the time a barrister or advocate ceases to practise. But on the other hand, barristers and advocates are not required to account for VAT on fees outstanding at the time of registration.

VAT becomes due at the time of cessation at the rate then applicable, subject only to the special rules that may be adopted in the event of a change in rate (see VATTOS7200). Nevertheless, there are special accounting arrangements that allow payment of the tax to be delayed until the outstanding fees are collected or a VAT invoice is issued. Adoption of these arrangements does not affect the rate of VAT which continues to be governed by the tax point on cessation. Details of the scheme are publicised in Notice 700/44 (Barristers and advocates).

It should be noted that regulation 92 does not apply to any other business activities a barrister or advocate might be engaged in such as farming or forestry.