Which extras can be charged for and which cannot?
Allowable ‘extras’ are mainly sums that are payable to other people and groups, over which those receiving the ministry have a genuine choice. Such payments are often passed through the PCC, and include payments to vergers, organists, choirs and bell-ringers, for example. The key words here are 'genuine choice'; a wedding couple or a deceased's relatives cannot be charged for 'extras' they do not want.
It is permitted to include a reasonable charge for heating the church building.
Vergers and Organists
It is permitted to charge a reasonable fee for the services of an Organist, Verger, or Vergers. As these payments are normally made to individuals it is important to also understand that they are taxable. As the legal body responsible for organizing the selection of the Organist or Verger, it is also normally the PCC's responsibility to ensure all taxable income is declared to HMRC. If a wedding couple, or breaved family, do not want the church to arrange an Organist, then they cannot be charged for one.
Choirs, Bell-ringers and Flower Arrangers
It is permitted for the above named groups of people, to receive a reasonable fee when providing a service for a wedding or funeral. Where the payment is made to a group account, it is unlikely that any income tax would be due. However, should payment be made to an individual, or individuals, these would be subject to income tax.
Many Gravedgiggers operate as registered companies and as such are often booked directly by a Funeral Director. Where a PCC pays one of its own church members to act as a Gravedigger, such a payment will be taxable income and must be declared to HMRC.
Extras that are not permitted
There are a whole range of 'extras' that churches have historically applied to weddings, funerals and burials that are now no longer allowed. Collecting a fee for 'the maintenance fund' whether for maintenance of a building or a graveyard, for example, is not allowed; all donations must be voluntary.
Charging a fee for the 'future development' of a graveyard, or for opening the ground for a 'first grave' is not permitted. The primary living relative of those within a graveyard may be asked (annually or otherwise) to donate to the ongoing maintenance of the graveyard, but this must be a totally separate request from any burial fee.
Additional fees cannot be charged for any administration or lighting (electicity) as these are already included within statutory fee.