Pension discrimination test cases
July 1, 2019
Last week the Supreme Court rejected a government appeal against a High Court ruling which found 2015 pension reforms discriminated on the grounds of age, race and equal pay. Today, GPonline.com reports that GPs have begun age discrimination claims against the government in a series of test claims backed by the BMA. Read the article in full, including comments from AISMA board member Andrew Pow.
What to look out for before signing a PCN agreement
May 28, 2019
“Practices should ‘think twice’ before signing PCN contracts, warn accountants”
April 26, 2019
Response to BMA ‘perfect pensions storm’ letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer
April 25, 2019
The Association wrote to the Treasury in 2016 to highlight the significant issues surrounding the recruitment and retention of senior health professionals within the NHS, driven in part by the changes to the taxation of pension savings introduced in the 2015 Summer Budget.
Since then, AISMA has written a series of letters to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Chancellor of the Exchequer reiterating these concerns.
AISMA’s latest letter to the Chancellor, sent last week, asked the government to urgently review the pensions savings regime with reference to the Annual Allowance, and set out three suggestions:
1 – Changes could take the form of raising the Annual Allowance threshold to a position where it removes the majority of key NHS workers from this charge. This can be justified on the basis that pension growth for higher earners is now effectively capped by the reduced Lifetime Allowance. The Lifetime Allowance rules lead to a tax charge where benefits exceed the maximum allowed. This allowance has reduced over the years and therefore automatically caps tax relief on larger pensions. At the very least the tapering rules need an overhaul as they are causing “cliff edges” where additional tax is higher than earnings
2 – The Government could consider further changes to the NHS pension scheme to allow qualified GPs and hospital consultants to cap their pensionable earnings to give them back control over the pension growth they have in any one year. This is more difficult to achieve without a significant overhaul of the pension scheme. Simply allowing the option to say reduce contributions and benefits to 50% as proposed in the latest GP contract will in our view not have the desired impact. Changes need to be more radical than this.
3 – Allow the measurement of the Annual Allowance to be linked directly to combined employee and employer contributions, rather than on the benefit accrual method that HMRC adopt, on the basis that Public Sector schemes now have to be self-funding. This would reduce the burden of administration on the NHS pension scheme and allow tax payers to complete tax returns more accurately. This is the simplest option which would achieve quick results and allows professionals to better control their growth.
State-backed indemnity ‘won’t bring major GP pay rise’ in 2019/20
March 27, 2019
DHSC response to pension scheme consultation
March 5, 2019
Commenting on the publication of the Department of Health and Social Care’s NHS pensions scheme consultation response, Deborah Wood, Vice Chairman, the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants, said:
“Despite the widely-held concerns raised during the consultation about the financial impact of the 6.3% increase in employer pension contributions, the increased rate of 20.6%, plus a 0.08% administration charge, will be implemented from 1 April 2019.
“For 2019/20 a transitional approach is being applied so that 6.3% will be paid directly by NHS England to the pension scheme. Therefore, from a cashflow point of view there will be no immediate effect on GP practices. In 2020/21 GP practices will pay the full 20.68% but should have received funding to cover the extra cost.
“However, the tax impact on individual GPs, who are deemed to pay their own employer contribution for tax purposes, needs to be understood. If HMRC takes into account the additional 6.3% when determining exposure to the pension annual allowance and subsequent tax charges, then even more GPs could find themselves affected by annual allowance tax charges on a regular basis.
“It will be essential for GP practices to see a clear correlation in their funding allocations for the additional 6.3% being added to their budgets out of which they will then have to make the additional employer contributions on a regular monthly basis from April 2020 onwards.”
Read a full report by Nick Bostock at GPonline.com
What should your accountant do for you?
February 21, 2019
In the first of a new series of articles for GP practice management information hub Practice Index, AISMA board member James Gransby, a partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson Maidstone, explains what your accountant should do for you – without being asked! From commenting on new developments that will affect your practice, to financial benchmarking and spotting any missed claims, the article is a useful checklist when comparing the service your own accountant is providing. Visit the Practice Index website to read the article in full.
Global sum increase is a ‘step in the right direction’, say medical accountants
February 21, 2019
AISMA Chairman Bob Senior and board member Andrew Pow give their response to Pulse following the 92p increase in the global sum. ‘Although 92p does not sound like a big deal, the increase should be seen in the context of the changes to indemnity and the addition of the £1.76 per patient for joining a network.’ Click here to read the article in full.
AISMA responds to GP contract agreement for 2019/20
January 31, 2019
Commenting on the GP contract agreement for 2019/20, Andrew Pow, board member of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants, said:
‘There is much to be welcomed in the new contract with almost £1bn extra in core funding for practices in England across five years. There are, however, some issues that we are viewing more cautiously, notably the new state-backed indemnity scheme.
‘The indemnity scheme will be funded by a one-off permanent deduction from the global sum and will cover all GPs and staff, including locum doctors. Since locums will no longer need to pay for their own indemnity cover they have been asked to consider their rates. If locum rates do not reflect the new indemnity arrangement GP partners will be pick up the cost twice; once through the reduction in the global sum and again through the locum fee. AISMA raised this during discussions with NHS England and the BMA. Urgent guidance is required on setting responsible locum fees.
‘Also needed will be guidance on the legal and pension structures of Primary Care Networks so that it is clear where responsibility for contracting and employment rests.’
Andrew Pow is available for further comments on 07957 585808
NHS pension scheme consultation: AISMA response
January 28, 2019
Members of AISMA have a deep knowledge of the NHS Pension scheme, specifically relating to the taxation of pension savings. AISMA’s view is that the proposed changes to scheme regulations 2019 as outlined in the consultation document are likely to result in more members of the pension scheme ceasing contributions which could cause the scheme to have further funding issues and a knock-on effect to how the Government affords the obligations payable to existing members in retirement. The reasons for this are complex and highlighted in the Association’s response.
Click here to read the full response.