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Rohrflöte

Organist's accommodation & tax implications

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I wonder if anyone has any experience/advice on this. My church has the potential to offer me accommodation (a house opposite the church) in lieu of my taking a fee. We are a large parish church with services and senior and junior choir rehearsals on weekdays as well as Sundays.

 

From what I can tell, accommodation can be provided "tax-free" (free of income tax and national insurance) where it is "customary" in that line of work, and they cite parish priests as an example. Clearly cathedral organists are given accommodation and it is customary to do so, but does anyone know or have any experience of where the line would be drawn where it comes to a big parish church offering a similar deal?

 

I'd really appreciate any advice there is, if anyone has had any experience with churches providing accommodation in this way.

 

Thanks in advance,

Rohrflote

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I wonder if anyone has any experience/advice on this. My church has the potential to offer me accommodation (a house opposite the church) in lieu of my taking a fee. We are a large parish church with services and senior and junior choir rehearsals on weekdays as well as Sundays.

 

From what I can tell, accommodation can be provided "tax-free" (free of income tax and national insurance) where it is "customary" in that line of work, and they cite parish priests as an example. Clearly cathedral organists are given accommodation and it is customary to do so, but does anyone know or have any experience of where the line would be drawn where it comes to a big parish church offering a similar deal?

 

I'd really appreciate any advice there is, if anyone has had any experience with churches providing accommodation in this way.

 

Thanks in advance,

Rohrflote

 

Hi

 

I think you'll find that it's only priests and ministers who benefit from this bit of tax law. (From reading the tax updates & advice that the Baptist Union send out regularly). The quickest way to get a definite answer is probably phoning your local tax office - or an accountant who deals with this aspect of taxation, but from what I've read, it would be a taxable benefit.

 

You might also need to consider the implications when you retire/move on - if the house goes with the job, then the problem becomes obvious.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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My memory of having an organist's job with a house makes me agree with Tony. I'm pretty certain I can remember it being taxable.

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I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant, but my understanding is that it depends on whether you are required to live there or not as part of your contract.

If your contract requires you to live in a particular house then this should not be a taxable benefit, as long as it can be demonstrated that this is necessary for the proper execution of duties.

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It will almost certainly work the same as accommodation in a boarding school. I am not taxed on my accommodation because it is a requirement of my job that I live in during term time. However, other colleagues who do get accommodation onsite but aren't houseparents either pay rent or get taxed. If it can be demonstrated that it's a REQUIREMENT - i.e. you couldn't do your job without it, then you won't get taxed. Unless you're going to be called to play for an emergency service at 3am, I can't see it being the case for an organist's post.

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It would be worth looking at how much renting a similar property would cost - then work add that annual cost to your "day" salary, then do the normal tax calculation based on that higher salary. It should give you an idea just how much HMRC will be taking off you.

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