Church organists and tax reporting

Recent press reports have mentioned changes in tax reporting rules and their impact on churches and their employees.

Under the real time reporting rules for operating PAYE introduced last year, all employers are now required to report to HMRC (or in some cases simply record) the earnings of all employees, including those who are paid very little. If you work as an employed church organist, your church will deduct any tax due on this income under PAYE.

However, this change does not in any way alter any organist’s employed/self-employed status and so has no implications for self-employed church organists. If you are a self-employed church organist you should continue to report your earnings from this work on your self-assessment tax return and pay any tax due through this route. The church should not be deducting tax from your pay under PAYE.

For more information on how to decide whether you are employed or self-employed, read our advice page Employed or self-employed, which can be found in the legal section of Advice & documents.

For further guidance on tax, you can consult the HMRC/ISM online tax information service. ISM members can call our 24 hour legal and tax helpline, or read advice pages in the Business & tax section of our website.