Allowable extras

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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, such as payments for
  • Heating: 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 these people's services. As these payments are normally made to individuals, it is important to note 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.
  • Choirs, Bell-ringers & Flower Arrangers: It is permitted for people providing these services  for a wedding or funeral to receive a reasonable fee. 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.
  • Gravediggers: Many gravedgiggers operate as registered companies and are often booked directly by a Funeral Director. Where a PCC pays an individual church member as a gravedigger, this payment will be taxable income and must be declared to HMRC.
The key words here are 'genuine choice' - a wedding couple or a deceased person's relatives cannot be charged for 'extras' they do not want.
Extras not permitted
A range of 'extras' that churches have historically applied to weddings, funerals and burials are now no longer allowed.
  • 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 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 administration or lighting (electricity) as these are already included within the statutory fee.