Tax irregularities

March 31, 2011

I am trying to make sense of an inconsistency in the taxation of external-examiner fees.

Since moving from Cambridgeshire to Leicestershire, I have discovered an irregularity in the way fees paid to external examiners are treated by HM Revenue & Customs. In Cambridgeshire, they are considered non-taxable, whereas in Leicestershire, tax is deducted retrospectively. Taxation does not depend on the sum paid or the university paying it but on the recipient's residential address.

When investigating this, I was informed that an agreement regarding the non-taxation of fees exists between universities and HMRC, and that guidance can be found under Employment Status Manual 4152. However, after six months' worth of correspondence and telephone calls, I have yet to find somebody within HMRC who either denies the existence of such an agreement or can implement it beyond Cambridgeshire. Maybe one of THE's readers could help?

Judith Henjes, Leicestershire

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