Fees

Parochial Fees (Statutory Fees)

Wedding, funeral and burial fees are set nationally by law. How much should you charge, and how should they be managed and applied?

Everyone has the right, subject to qualifying rules, to ask their local Church of England church to conduct a wedding or funeral; thus there are nationally agreed legal fees.

These Parochial (or Statutory) Fees are set annually by General Synod and the published Table of Fees is available to download from this page.

The Ecclesiastical Fees (Amendment) Measure 2011 introduced a number of important changes that came into force in January 2013. The principal changes are as follows:

  • The ownership of the Fee: that part which was sometimes known as the Clergy Fee now belongs to the Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF) and is lawfully payable to the Diocese.
  • There is no Parochial Fee for the funeral of anyone under the age of 16 years and from 2020 onwards the threshold for funeral fees rises to 18 years of age.
  • It clarified what can be included within the authorised fees and thus what 'allowable extras' the local church is able to make, as an additional charge.

So there are two parts to the Parochial Fee:

  • that part which is proscribed to the Diocesan Board of Finance
  • that part which accrues to the local church, the PCC.

As with other dioceses, the Diocese of Liverpool has its own arrangements for allocating a portion of the DBF Fee to retired and self-supporting clergy, as well as those Readers who may take funerals.
In addition to the Parochial Fee there are also allowable extras (such as heating or an organist).

Explore the additional pages in this section for practical guidance on these issues, as well as how to manage the DBF element of the fee, how to record Fee income in the church accounts, and the sometimes complex question of which church actually owns the PCC element of the Fee.

For guidance on Parochial Fees please contact Gordon Fath by email: gordon.fath@liverpool.anglican.org or call 0151 705 2180.
 

Retired clergy presiding at normal services of worship

Retired clergy covering normal Sunday and midweek services outside of their own parish may claim a fee of up to half of the current value of the DBF Fee for a funeral in church, plus travel expenses at the current diocesan rate.

2020

Retired clergy service fee = £54.00
Motor vehicle mileage allowance = 40p per mile
 

Useful downloads

Legal Office Guidance


Parochial Fees

 

Who owns the fee?

All Parochial Fees have two distinct legal elements, the DBF Fee and the PCC Fee. The question is, to whom do these respective fee elements belong to?

The DBF fee

This part of the statutory fee belongs to the Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF).

Over the years this element of the fee has had many names  (e.g. the minister's fee, the clergy fee, the assigned fee). In the past it was owned by the respective parish's incumbent but this is no longer the case. Since 1st January 2013 this element of the fee has belonged solely to the DBF. For guidance on how parishes forward the fees they receive on behalf of their DBF see the Managing Fees page.

Retired and Self Supporting Ministers (including Readers)

The law allows the DBF to give some of their fee to the Anglican minister who takes a particular service, for example a funeral.

The practice within the Diocese of Liverpool is that half of the DBF fee may be given to a retired clergy person, self-supporting minister (SSM), or Reader, who officiates at a funeral or burial, if they wish to receive it. In all cases any such payment is taxable income to the individual and must be declared to HMRC.

From 6th April 2017, non-stipendiary Anglican clergy or Readers who also act as Chaplains may also claim half of the DBF fee in the same manner as Self-Supporting Ministers.

The PCC fee


The second element of the Parochial or Statutory Fee is that portion that is retained by the PCC to support local ministry.

The question here is, 'which PCC owns the parochial PCC fee?' Following an update to the legislation, from 2020 the answer is fairly straight forward, it is the PCC of the church, or churchyard, where the service takes place. Fee allocation is based wholly on where a service takes place, which minister takes the service has no bearing on the decision. In all cases the Minister taking the funeral or burial in a church or churchyard should reclaim the appropriate travel expenses from the PCC who receives the parochial PCC fee payment. 

For Direct to Crematorium funerals and funerals held at the premises of a Funeral Director, the General Synod agreed that the PCC fee they introduced in 2013 should now be removed from 2020 and the DBF fee increased. In these specific cases, the travel expenses of retired and SSM clergy, along with those of an officiating Reader, are considered to be inclusive within the half DBF fee they may claim.


Invoice for Funeral Directors

 

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.

 


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