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0 votes
Well I know they do these days but is there any way round it?  Can a clerk be an unpaid volunteer for example?

I'm about to leave my post as clerk at a small very rural parish (precept less than £1k, 3 meetings a year) and a couple of people who have expressed an interest have been put off by the PAYE requirement.  They might however consider it as a volunteer though I feel this is wrong as it devalues the role.  As I can't leave until a successor is appointed can anyone suggest a way round the PAYE requirement?

I know several clerks who left locally when the law changed as it was more admin than it was worth and it complicated their personal financial situation rather than the wish to avoid paying tax - and the salary is so small anyway.

Your thoughts please?  Thanks.
by (160 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
Quite a few small parishes have volunteer clerks, either councillors or other citizens. They can and should certainly receive the sincere thanks of councillors and parish citizens!

If the post is paid, there is no way round PAYE. HMRC have stated plainly that parish clerks are employees and that any payment must be handled through PAYE.

For significant amounts of money, it is usually best to use an external PAYE service so that the clerk isn't in charge of their own pay. But if the amount is very small, it is not difficult to use a free online PAYE service such as
by (32.9k points)
Ignoring for the moment the whole issue of the role of the clerk even in a small council and paying for an appropriate professional service, I am aware of a council that ended up paying thousands in audit fees/fines when they allowed their clerk to continue to be paid as a contractor.  The inland revenue are very specific that parish clerks are employees and their salary, however small, must go through the PAYE system.  The Basic Tools software programme which is an HMRC resource is very simple to use and takes literally minutes to run and submit a return.  It will not impact on a clerk's personal financial situation unless of course they are trying to hide their income from HMRC!
Thank you  - yes I use the Basic Tools software, having used it for other councils when I did several.  Clunky but do-able.  I'm now going to try to find a volunteer as I've had no luck with finding someone who wants to do it paid.
0 votes
Off on a tangent here, but 3 meetings a year????
by (23.5k points)
Local Government Act specifies a minimum of 4 per year
I thought it was 3 a year, it's actually a parish meeting rather than a council but all the usual rules apply, it's just that there are no elected councillors, just whichever residents decide to turn up on the day.  Not sure what they'd talk about at 4 meetings a year!  I'd better check up on what else isn't right before handing over the baton to a new clerk.  Thank you.
Off on another tangent make sure you don’t fall foul of the National Minimum Wage as I know some football clubs have because they paid a nominal amount
No sorry Liz, it is definitely 4 meetings a year as a minimum. One must be the annual parish council meeting in May.
Thank you, yes payment will be in accordance with the payscales.  I get around £11 if memory serves me right.  I once took over from a clerk who was paid 80p an hour!  Councillors had never heard of payscales, contracts and so on.  The Clerk was happy about it as it meant she felt she didn't need to do much!  I was a bit of a shock to them!
Thank you.  I had included the ann meeting in the 3 but officially yes of course it's 4.  The 2 ann meetings sort of get absorbed into the regular May meeting anyway as it seems pointless to have separate ones.  Nobody ever turns up or shows the remotest interest - one of the reasons I'm packing in clerking altogether after years of it at various parishes.  Parish councils seem pointless round here and residents are rarely interested!  Thanks for the reminder though.  Liz

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