Parochial fees are legally chargeable for services which an incumbent is under a legal obligation to provide or conduct (e.g. weddings and funerals). Fees are set by the Church of England's governing body, the General Synod, and Parliament. The amount payable consists of an element due to the PCC and an element due to the Diocesan Board of Finance ('DBF').
The incumbent and PCC are responsible for keeping a record of the services taken and the fees collected. Except where PTO ministers take funerals at crematoria or cemeteries, it is the PCC's responsibility to pay the DBF's portion of the fee to the DBF and this form can be used to send the required information to the DBF. The PCC holds the DBF proportion as agent for the diocese and should not include such fees in its own income.
Where PTO ministers take funerals at crematoria or cemeteries, the PTO minister should notify the DBF using the Retired Clergy Funeral notification form below, and the DBF will invoice the funeral director.
It is diocesan policy that retired clergy who hold PTO in the Diocese of Chichester are entitled to retain 80% of the DBF's portion of the fee if they are taking a service, (capped at £146.40 for 2023 for funerals in crematoria or cemeteries). For these purposes, retired clergy means formerly stipendiary clergy who have reached state pension age, are not in stipendiary ministry, secular employment or self- employment, and who are beneficed, licensed or hold permission to officiate. It therefore includes retired house for duty clergy even if they are in receipt of an honorarium and/or housing allowance but no stipend or secular employment income. It does not include ministers who are over the state pension age but have earnings from part-time employment or self-employed work. It also includes clergy who do not meet those criteria, but who have been granted the right to claim fees by the Remuneration Committee.
It is also diocesan policy that where a licensed minister takes a funeral in a crematorium or cemetery, the DBF will make a donation of £35 (2022 - £32) to the PCC, in recognition of the fact that the PCC is no longer entitled to a fee.
Except where PTO ministers take funerals at crematoria or cemeteries, it is the responsibility of the PCC to receive the fees for the wedding or funeral, and to distribute any related payments to the respective recipients. Where the fee is paid directly to the DBF (i.e. where a minister with PTO takes a funeral in a crematorium or cemetery), the DBF will pay the minister the relevant portion. In some cases there can be confusion about which DBF or PCC is due a fee for a particular service. Guidance is included in the Church of England guide.
There is a summary of fees on the above return, but sometimes the full Parochial Fees Table CofE 2023 may be needed to explain all the circumstances under which a fee is payable.
The quarterly return or a Nil return declaration should be completed and emailed to the Accounts department at Church House.
Payment of the fees should be done quarterly to Chichester DBF at account 20-12-75 20207314, or by cheque payable to Chichester DBF. Please include a reference which makes your parish easily identifiable.
Further guidance can be found on the Church of England website.
Hannah Heron is the accounts assistant.
Hannah: 01273 425 688