Specialist Healthcare Accountants
In the UK, medical professionals including dentists, consultants, hospital doctors, GPs, locums, surgeons, as well as in some cases nurses, midwives, and other specialists and non-specialists in the field ‒ may work for themselves or receive remuneration through the PAYE system.
Some work through an agency or through their own limited company or receive their salary through the PAYE system of the organisation for which they work as well as earning other income by running a private practice. It is essential to be aware of the pitfalls as well as the benefits of working in private practice as a healthcare professional, whether through a limited company full time, or part-time alongside a PAYE salary.
A specialist healthcare accountant will keep you informed of all the changes that affect compliance as well as ensuring that all the income you work hard to earn works extremely hard for you too.
DNS is one such specialist healthcare accountant, but while it is one among many, it is virtually unique in its approach to delivering services that come with a no-penalties, and complete satisfaction guarantee, Saturday opening, no limit on its helpline services, and free cloud bookkeeping and accounting software, to name but some of the many benefits. DNS appreciates that the approach to taxation and accounts for healthcare professionals needs individual, focussed attention to help minimise specific challenges among this sector of the UK professional workforce. For example, DNS can advise on practice premises transactions, concerns over stamp duty for instance, look after your payroll, help you wheel out workplace pensions, and so on. The BMA provides useful advice about some of the complexities of running a practice in terms of compliance, and their Setting up in Private Practice guide is very useful with regard to what you should consider before doing so.
Among the most highly qualified healthcare professionals ‒ GPs, specialist doctors, dentists, and surgeons, for example ‒ a prospective liability of tax at 40% or 45% is the expectation. Trying to avoid declaring income is a definite no-no; there is no point, especially when there are some compliant means to pay less tax without resorting to aggressive avoidance that could land you in trouble, and particularly in light of recent HMRC tactics to crack down on undeclared income by healthcare professionals. For example, in 2010, HMRC launched a campaign encouraging doctors and other medical professionals to declare their unpaid tax. The campaign raised total revenue of more than £64 million. Bear in mind also that over the last five to eight years, HMRC has grown in power and is able to demand “bulk” information from businesses or government agencies. When in 2008 HRMC started homing in on the medical profession, it acquired information from NHS trusts, private hospitals, and medical insurance companies to test suspicions that practitioners were failing to declare fees for consultations, medical examinations, and other services.
There are specific tax rebates for healthcare workers that should definitely be exploited. Across the healthcare profession, many workers are eligible to claim extra tax relief for expenses incurred as part of their job. This element of tax relief alone can add up to hundreds of pounds. It can only be reclaimed by submitting a claim to HMRC, so if you haven’t done so, you should do immediately, and remember that you can backdate the claim for the last four years.
If you wear a uniform for work and launder it yourself, you can claim a flat-rate tax allowance every year for the cost of cleaning your uniform. The amount depends on your occupation, but can amount to as much as £100 a year without any need to provide receipts or any proof of the actual costs.
An allowance of £12 per year can be claimed if you are required to wear special types of shoes (e.g. non-slip) in the workplace. If you are required to wear stockings/tights/socks of a particular colour, then you can claim additional tax relief of £6 per year.
Following an agreement between the Royal College of Surgeons and HMRC, trainee surgeons, contracted as speciality or core trainees, and who pay the MRCS exam fees themselves, are now allowed to claim tax relief on exam fees. You can also claim 20% of the cost of fees to professional bodies or unions such as Unison, RCN, NMC, HCPC, or SSSC. Likewise, if you pay professional indemnity insurance (i.e. Medical Protection Society) you can claim tax relief on these costs annually.
You can claim the scale rates for mileage if you use your own car for work-related journeys or to attend professional courses. If a colleague travels with you, there is a further allowance of 5p per mile. Check the HMRC scale rates and note that they do change from time to time. At present, you can claim up to 45p per mile for each business journey you make – for example, if you pay visits to patients at home. If you receive less than 45p per mile for from your employer, you can claim tax relief on the difference from HMRC.
For any equipment bought solely for work purposes you are entitled to make a claim for the cost; usually proof of purchase evidence is required, so maintaining records is essential. See how easy DNS’s Nomisma Solution ‒ our bookkeeping and accounting software on the cloud ‒ makes saving receipts: watch the video.
Expenses involved during incorporation of a business can be claimed back for up to seven years before the company started up providing that they were incurred wholly and exclusively in the course of setting up the business for which the expenses are being claimed.
Healthcare professionals are you aware of the plethora of tax changes for 2016/17 and all the many tax-planning opportunities open to you? DNS ensures that healthcare professionals exploit all opportunities to lower their tax liability compliantly in every respect, whichever way they work.
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