Accountants warn of more woes for GPs as pension ‘Scheme Pays’ deadline approaches
April 19, 2018
The 31 July deadline for GPs to ask NHS Pensions to pay their annual allowance tax charge is fast approaching but accountants are warning that a toxic mix of tax rule changes will bring a sting in the tail for many doctors.
This year, for the first time, NHS Pensions may not allow the full amount of the tax due to be covered by the Scheme Pays facility. In previous years Scheme Pays has allowed doctors to ask NHS Pensions to pay all the tax charges arising from excessive pension growth from their pension pot in exchange for a lower pension in retirement, as long as the tax charge was over £2,000.
However, a change in the tax rules means those with taxable income over £110,000 may find their annual allowance tapered down from £40,000 to just £10,000. The £30,000 loss due to tapering cannot be covered by Scheme Pays and a tax charge of up to £13,500 must be met from doctors’ own personal funds. Only Scottish pension scheme members are able to adopt Scheme Pays on the whole amount.
James Gransby, board member of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants, and head of healthcare at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, said: “These tax charges were due on 31 January 2018 and are already attracting penalties and interest in the eyes of HMRC. However, the figures relate to the 2016/17 tax year and NHS Pensions are not yet in a position to send figures to members of the pension scheme to help them assess their position. Without specialist advice it will be almost impossible for most doctors to work out what tax they might owe.”
Mr Gransby went onto explain that every GP’s situation will be different and urged doctors who think they may be affected to get in touch with their accountant or financial adviser.
Practice Management: April 2018
April 16, 2018
What is 24-hour retirement and how does it work? Writing in the latest issue of Practice Management magazine, specialist medical accountant and AISMA board member James Gransby offers facts and figures on 24-hour retirement for practice managers to share with their doctors. Click here to download the full article
Accountants predict practices with static list sizes will see only 2.6% increase in funds from 2018/19 GMS contract
March 26, 2018
A detailed analysis of the 2018/19 GMS contract has led accountants to predict that practices in England with static list sizes are likely to see a lower increase in funds than the 3.4% announced by NHS Employers on 20 March.
Luke Bennett, a director of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants, said: “0.8% of the investment is to allow for the predicted increase in the population. Therefore, a practice with a static list size might reasonably expect an increase of not 3.4%, but 2.6%.”
Mr Bennett, a partner at accountancy firm PKF Francis Clark, said that funding increases will depend on practices’ individual characteristics and sources of income since different increases will be applied to different income streams.
He added: “Practices will have to fund increases in expenses out of the increased income. Significantly, the NHS pay deal agreed by union leaders and ministers on 21 March is likely to lead to increases in staff salaries, particularly at the lower end of the pay scales.”
“While most practices are not contractually bound by the Agenda for Change pay rates, they are in many cases competing with secondary care to attract staff.”
Mr Bennett added: “All practices will see some sort of increase in funding and this is to be welcomed as a measure to help maintain financial stability for struggling practices. There may be a further uplift in funding once the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body has reported in May. It is hoped that the difficulties in recruiting and retaining GPs will be recognised in the DDRB report.”
Notes for editors
For more information, please contact Rosalind Dewar:
T: 01580 764713
M: 07785 182732
Practice Management: March 2018
March 15, 2018
AISMA accountant Andrew Pow offers advice to practices experiencing financial issues arising from problems in the processing of income claims and pensions by Primary Care Support England. For a run-down of common issues to watch out for and tips on how to resolve them download the full article.
Practice Management: New models of care
February 16, 2018
The government’s desire for GP practices to work at scale is putting them under enormous pressure to join large organisations. AISMA committee member Andrew Pow offers a checklist for practice managers involved in new models of care. Click here to download the full article.
Locum GP? Watch out for the new pension trap
January 29, 2018
Writing on the Pulse website, AISMA accountant James Gransby explains how a three-month break from locum work can lead to a hike in pension contributions. The rules were introduced on the 2017 Locum B form, which is used to pay over monthly pension contributions to the NHS pensions agency. They affect GP locums who are members of the 2015 pension scheme. Click here to visit the Pulse website to read the article in full.
Practice Management: January 2018
January 16, 2018
Writing in the January issue of Practice Management magazine, AISMA accountant James Gransby gives an update on Making Tax Digital. Where do practice managers stand with the proposal to introduce quarterly tax returns, a key component of the new digitised tax system? Click here to download the full article
Seasonal allowances to toast your team
December 4, 2017
Writing in the November/December issue of Practice Management magazine, AISMA accountant Phil Harnby explains the tax rules for treating your team to a night out. Click here to download the full article
Accountants call for urgent reinstatement of local interface for NHS England support services
November 28, 2017
Accountants are calling for urgent consideration to be given to restoring local knowledge and contacts within primary care support services in England. A briefing submitted to GPC England by the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants (AISMA), says that the centralisation of primary care support services, outsourced by NHS England to Capita, has led to the loss of local knowledge and contact base. The briefing highlighted significant concerns relating to Capita’s performance with regard to practice payments and pension administration.
Andrew Pow, AISMA board member, said: “If there is one aspect that should be considered urgently it is the need for the local support services interface to be restored, so that managers have a “go to” person to contact who can deal with issues in their area.
“This would result in returning the significant amount of lost management time to general practice so that managers can get on with the important job of managing their practices at what is a very difficult time for the sector.”
The AISMA briefing to GPC England highlighted problems in three areas; failure to pay practices in a timely manner for work performed; failure to process the correct pension deductions and update pension records; and failure to provide a clear interface between support services and GP practices to resolve issues quickly.
Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP England Executive Team lead on PCSE, said:
“There have been some improvements in the way the PCSE contract has operated since its launch in 2015, largely down to continued pressure from the BMA, LMCs and other organisations. However, there has been a worrying loss of expert knowledge in key areas which AISMA highlights, especially in the administration of key accounting and financial operations. Far too many mistakes are occurring which has left practice payments, pension payments and GP training grants in a state of confusion. The BMA has made it clear to PCSE that this situation must be addressed as a matter of priority.”
Pulse feature: How GPs can limit tax charges on their pensions
November 15, 2017
Writing for the Pulse website, AISMA accountant James Gransby explains that the amount GPs are allowed to save into their pension each year before incurring a tax charge is being reduced. To find out how GPs can limit tax charges on their pensions click here to visit the Pulse website.