Extern Examiner Fees
Extern Examiner Fees
The tax treatment of fee payments payable to Extern Examiners has been subject to considerable correspondence and discussion since Revenue issued a letter in 2006 to the IUA stating that such payments should be processed through payroll. Since this date, the Universities, while moving fees payable to Irish resident Extern examiners to payroll, argued against the payroll treatment of fees payable to non-resident examiners. However, UCD has now reached a point where there is no option but to follow the Revenue direction on this matter.
UCD made a final appeal to Revenue in early 2021 which was rejected in October 2021. The result is that UCD now has no option but to cease non-payroll fee payments to Extern Examiners with immediate effect.
While the Payments Office will continue to pay examiner expenses, any fee payable will have to be processed through the HR/Payroll route, which will require in the first instance, the examiners to be set up as UCD employees.
Impact on examiners
From the 1st March 2022, the individual examiners engaged by UCD will have to go through the employee on-boarding process via the UCD HR website. Their fees will then have to be authorised by Schools/units as part of an on-line approval process and subsequently paid through the UCD payroll.
Many of the Extern Examiners will not have Irish PPS numbers and while this will not prevent payment through payroll, it will mean that their fees will be paid under deduction of emergency tax of 40% plus USC of 8%. Externs can, if they wish, apply for a PPS number but it is likely that obtaining one will not be a straightforward process for them.
Increased Extern Examiner Fee Rates
The UMT at its meeting on 1 March 2022 approved increased Extern Examiner rates (detailed below with the estimated deduction which will apply where no PPS numbers are in place).
|Estimated Tax Payable||Fee||Estimated Tax Deducted||Estimated Net Fee Payable|
|Daily subject/special external examiner fee||€442||€212||€230|
|Research Masters & MCh||€180||€86||€94|
The increased rates should ensure those Extern Examiners without PPS numbers will receive a net payment similar to the net payments previously received.
The tax applies to fees claimed and not expenses.
The situation has been both complicated and potentially simplified by the Covid crisis. Almost all Extern Examiner services since the start of the Covid crisis have been provided remotely and the fee payments have continued to be paid on a gross basis, outside the payroll system. Revenue has confirmed (subject to a number of conditions) that fee payments for remote (outside Ireland) Extern services do not have to be processed under deduction of PAYE and can be paid on a gross basis.
However, in the event that Extern Examiner visits restart with a physical presence on the campus, any fees payable will have to be paid through payroll.
With immediate effect, Extern Examiner fee payments, which involve a visit to UCD, must now be processed through payroll under deduction of PAYE and USC.
Extern Examiner fees can continue to be paid on a gross basis outside payroll provided the full engagement is carried out on a remote basis with no presence in Ireland.
Assessment, UCD Registry will be contacting UCD’s Extern Examiners to advise them of the new payment process.
The UMT’s position is that, as soon as is practical, on-campus Extern visits should recommence and once again become the norm.
- The current Extern Examiner fee claim forms available on the Assessment, UCD Registry website will be reduced to one form to be used for remotely delivered Extern services. The form should now only be used where the Extern Examiner service has been provided on a remote basis from outside Ireland. Fees for on-site visits must be processed through HR/Payroll with the Extern Examiners/reviewers first on-boarding through the UCD HR website.
- An Extern Examiner expense claim form will be put in place to allow Extern Examiners, who deliver their services on campus, claim for expenses for travelling to/from UCD.