By Tolley

The following Value Added Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Barristers
  • When do barristers need to account for VAT?
  • Barristers ceasing to trade
  • Accounting for VAT on outstanding fees
  • Final VAT return
  • Issuing invoices after the VAT number is cancelled
  • Remaining VAT registered after ceasing to trade as a barrister
  • Death of a practising barrister
  • Costs associated with shared chambers
  • Partly exempt barristers

This guidance note covers the main VAT tax point rules that apply to barristers. For guidance on when a barrister may need to register for VAT, see the Overview - registering for VAT guidance note.

HMRC Notice 700/44 ; De Voil Indirect Tax Service V5.145 (subscription sensitive)
When do barristers need to account for VAT?

HMRC introduced special tax point rules for barristers after reaching an agreement with the Bar Council and Faculty of Advocates.

VAT Regulations 1995, SI 1995/2518, reg 92

A tax point is the date when a business is required to account for VAT on a supply of goods and services. The business must ensure that VAT is accounted for on the VAT return covering the period in which the tax point occurred.

The tax point for a supply of professional services by a barrister is the earliest of:

  • the date the barrister received a fee for the professional services rendered
  • the date the barrister issued a VAT invoice for the professional services provided, or
  • the date the barrister ceased to practice

    Please note that HMRC can grant permission to a barrister that ceases to trade to defer payment of the VAT due (see below).

Barristers ceasing to trade

If a barrister makes a decision to cease trading and, as a result, does not continue to make supplies which are liable to VAT, the barrister must cancel their VAT registration number. See the Cancelling a VAT registration number guidance note for more information.

De Voil Indirect Tax Service V5.145 (subscription sensitive)

The barrister is legally required to notify HMRC within 30 days that the business is ceasing to trade. The barrister should complete and submit a VAT 7  or

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