The National Health Service (NHS) is the main healthcare provider in the UK, providing quality care to UK residents for free. Working along the NHS is a cluster of private healthcare providers committed to making a difference in people’s lives through excellent care.
Working arrangements available for medical professionals
In the UK, medical doctors can work in a variety of capacities. They can work as a salaried GP, operate as a consultant, a locum, or a hospital doctor. They can also choose to set-up as a sole trader, establish an unlimited liability partnership, or opt for a limited liability partnership or even run a limited liability company.
In the case of a locum, they may be contracted to work in different tax environments within the same year, such as within a limited company or partially PAYE (pay as you earn), and possibly even have to contend with IR35 regulations.
Each system of employment has its own idiosyncrasies and requirements. They also demand commitment, time and energy from you and can have a profound impact on your tax liability, take-home pay, even down to how you keep your financial records in accordance with the law. It leaves little wonder that medical professionals often find it challenging to manage their taxes and finances without help from a trusted chartered accountant specialising in this sector.
SOLVERS: the accountants for medical professionals
With such widely varying work conditions, a doctor’s accounts will differ from practice to practice and are not amenable to a one-size-fits-all solution. At Solvers, our chartered accountants have been working with medical professionals working in a myriad of capacities across UK for years. Our clients include:
- Salaried GPs: we help salaried GPs to prepare tax returns, advice on what expenses you can claim, share tax planning ideas, prepare Type 2 Superannuation certificates, and give you the necessary support should you want to explore a GP partnership.
- GP practices (sole trader, partnerships or a limited liability company): we assist with a wide spectrum of accounting tasks from bookkeeping, cash-flow, VAT returns, payroll, to tax planning. We can also train and support the implementation of Xero in your practice.
- Locums: for many years now, we have been working closely with locums helping them with the preparation of accounts and tax returns, locum form requirements, tax planning advice, expenses advice, as well as giving the necessary support if you’re aspired to become a GP partner.
- Consultants: our range of services include accounts preparation and tax returns, national insurance compliance, expenses advice and any tax enquires you may have.
- Private healthcare providers: advising on the best structure which can maximise revenue and minimise tax obligation is usually the first step that we help. Subsequently, we help private healthcare providers with tax returns, company secretarial support, directors’ tax returns, tax planning and the full suite of accounting services from bookkeeping, cash-flow forecast, VAT returns to payroll.
Tax is a complicated subject which explains why questions abound. In our Belfast office, our experienced accountants for doctors regularly answer great questions from medical professionals such as: What tax rebates are available for doctors? Must you complete a tax return? Are training costs tax deductible? Do you have to pay National Insurance on your private earnings?
For the purposes of this article, we shall look at a few common expenses which you the medical professional can claim. The crux of the matter is the expenditure must be incurred ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily’ in the performance of a doctor’s duties. These can include:
- Professional dues – These are subscription fees to medical societies or associations that represent medical professionals and assist in protecting the interests of their patients. Some such groups in the UK include the General Medical Council (GMC), British Medical Association (BMA), Medical Defence Union (MDU), Medical Protection Society (MPS), and Royal College just to name a few.
- Travel and accommodation expenses between hospital bases – there are circumstances where travel and meals during travel to a temporary location can be claimed for a tax rebate.
- Telephone expenses while on call.
- Specialist education training courses and conferences – HMRC allows tax relief for training courses and books where they are an intrinsic part of the employment and part of the duties of employment.
- Medical equipment – Work expenses for personal use on the job can be claimed for tax relief. These can include scrubs, footwear, stethoscopes and operating glasses.
What Solvers can do for UK doctors
In addition to tax planning and tax advice discussed above, we also help medical practitioners with many essential accounting services so that you can keep your focus on your medical practice:
- Manage bookkeeping and accounts that meet national guidelines in a timely manner
- Provide payroll service and VAT returns
- Complete and submit tax returns
- Provide NHS pension planning
- Process expense claims
Making Tax Digital scheme for doctors
HMRC has begun to require all businesses to use a digital, cloud accounting platform as part of ‘Making Tax Digital’ scheme, a government initiative to make tax administration more effective, efficient and easier for taxpayers through a fully digital tax system. Clients of accountants generally did so by subscribing to a compatible cloud accounting software package through their existing accountants.
Designed for business owners, Sage and Xero was built to be user-friendly, straightforward and requires little prior knowledge. The dashboard overview provides a clear view of the most important financial information. It also offers ‘in-the-cloud’ security and maintenance-free financial record keeping for any medical practice. Being cloud-based, you can also invoice the client as soon as you finish a job.
Sage and Xero also integrate well with other cloud services for doctors such as:
- Cliniko – A complete practice management system for healthcare practitioners. Manage your schedule, notes, invoices, payments and a lot more.
- Timely – An appointment software for clinics, salons or anyone that needs scheduling. Save time, attract clients, seamlessly sync invoices & payments with Xero.
- Better Clinics – An affordable and easy-to-use online practice management software for health and fitness professionals. Manage scheduling, clients, invoicing, marketing and your entire team from a single secure platform.
Solvers has worked with Sage and Xero since 2011. Solvers Accounting can help make your transition to digital tax administration smooth and problem-free.
Talk to Solvers today
Contact one of our specialist accountants for doctors today. Give us a call on 02896009203 or send us a message via our Contact Form.