Category Archives: Latest News

Doctor’s Annual Allowance – What You Need To Know!

Doctor’s annual allowance has been the talk of the healthcare industry for some time now, as aggravation about pensions continues to boil over. Doctor’s are angrily sharing their frustrations on how they believe that they are being unfairly treated and negatively impacted by the strict structure being put onto the NHS pension scheme.

To add to the irritation felt by numerous members of the medical industry, the BMA (British Medical Association) is now calling for the government to reform both annual allowances and tapered allowances for doctors when it comes to the NHS pension scheme.

So, what is the annual allowance for Doctors?

The annual allowance was introduced in 2006, and originally set up with the intentions of limiting the amount of money that could be saved each year into a pension each year, before a tax charge is applied.

The annual allowance was originally set at a healthy £215,000 but has since drastically dropped through revision, to just £40,000. Each revision has put the risk of running over the annual allowance at an all time high for doctors, which has intensified since the introduction of the tapered allowance too.

How does tapered allowance affect doctors?

In 2016, the government introduced tapered annual allowance, to further the restrictions on the amount of pension tax relief available to those on already high earnings and target those with already high pension savings.

The scheme has consequentially caused more trouble than it is worth, as many doctors saw huge tax bills, that has resulted in them removing themselves from the NHS pension scheme.

Any breach in annual allowance is tax charged at the individuals’ highest tax rate. This will be either 40 per cent or 45 per cent.

A large amount of doctors are now refusing to take on additional work as a way of keeping income down which will therefore help them to avoid tax charges where their pensions are concerned.

Although a surge of doctors are removing themselves from the NHS pension scheme, the benefits of the scheme could outweigh the negative impacts when it comes to annual allowances.

Every single doctor’s circumstances are different, so it’s important to make sure you keep your clients best individual interests at heart of what you do and keep yourself up to date on the ever changing schemes.

The FT adviser has suggested a great way for doctors to get on top of what they’re earning and how they could be affected by advising;

“A practical step that doctors can take is to work out their threshold income by adding together their gross income from all sources and deducting their pension contributions to establish if they exceed the £110,000 limit.”

Five Things You Should Expect From Your Accountant

When it comes to picking an accountant you may find yourself getting a bit overwhelmed by the amount of accountancy companies offering you a huge range of services. However, it’s important to not be blind sighted by huge discounts and special offers that can disguise a lack of crucial experience and skill that you should be looking for in a good accountant.

We are sharing the five things you should expect from your accountant…

Know Your Business/Industry

Your accountant should have a sound grasp of your business and the industry your business is in. You should expect your accountant to research and take the time to understand and value the businesses needs and goals. Your accountant should know what you do, and what key members of your team bring to the business too.

Improvement In Your Cash Flow

Cash flow is an extremely important element to the good functioning of a business, and something you should expect your accountant to improve. Your accountant should be continuously advising you on ways to improve your cash flow and supporting that as a priority in their role.

Prevent Any Unexpected Bills

An important element to an accountants role, is to prevent any unexpected bills, and failing to do so is really a rookie error. An accountant should be clear and concise with any expenditures to the business. They should always provide you with estimated costs and prepare you for outgoings.

Be GDPR Compliant

GDPR has been one of the biggest changes to business in over a decade, and making sure you are GDPR complaint can be the difference between a business thriving and a business being shut down. The sensitivity of the data you will share with your accountant about you and your business should be enough to prioritise finding an accountant who has their own GDPR regulations, as well as following your businesses.

Get Your Tax Correct

A no brainer for an accountant right?! But essentially, this is the most important job you require from your accountant and getting it wrong can cause a lot of problems for you and your business.

You may not have sound knowledge and the experience to manage your financial obligations whilst running your business, so it’s important to employ somebody who does – an accountant. A great accountant will have your tax return filed for the year, and proactively working on your next one.

Making Tax Digital Postponed Due To Brexit Complications

HMRC has made the decision to delay MTD (Making Tax Digital) for both business and individuals for the foreseeable future beyond 2021.

Although VAT has already gone digital recently and will continue to remain digital, issues surrounding Brexit has pushed HMRC into the decision to postpone the MTD scheme for at least two years.

MTD was supposed to be rolled out completely across the UK in 2020, however with the unfortunate circumstances of how Brexit has been handled, the government feel that it would be best to place a wider extension on the digital roll out, whilst terms are still being negotiated.

In the Spring Statement the chancellor said:

“The focus will be on supporting businesses to transition and the government will therefore not be mandating MTD for any new taxes or businesses in 2020.”

MTD for income & corporation tax was scheduled to come into effect from 2020, but as the UK prepares itself for Brexit, HMRC has redirected its focus on the implications of UK’s exit from the EU.

HMRC has said that its digital delivery team and business analysis team are being redeployed to focus on ensuring that a customs solution will be in place should it be required when the UK leaves the EU.

With the current perplexity surrounding Brexit, HMRC has stressed that ‘this does not indicate any expected outcome but is due to the level of work required to deliver any outcome’.

VAT – When Does It Affect General Practice?

You will find that most GP practices need not worry about VAT, as almost all of the services a GP practice provides are VAT free. However, not all services that you can offer at your GP practice are exempt from VAT, so it pays to be careful and get a good understanding about what you can and cannot do.

To give you a clear understanding of the difference between an exempt from VAT service and services that incur VAT, we have separated the two…

VAT exempt services

Services are exempt from VAT where those services are principally aimed at the protection, maintenance or restoration of the health of a patient. These are the principal services offered by a GP practice.

Services that include VAT

Some services are not exempt, and are subject to VAT. Those services are where the principal purpose of the service provided, is the provision of information to a third party enabling the party to make a decision.

To give you more clarity on this here are a list of services that will incur VAT responsibility…

  • Certificates/reports. A certificate or report may be subject to VAT or exempt. The dividing line is often difficult to pin down.
  • Reports enabling claims to compensation, benefits or registration as a blind person are all subject to VAT.
  • Dispensing of drugs for dispensing practices.
  • Fitness certificates as part of an individual taking up a particular professional or sporting activity.
  • Cosmetic services undertaken purely for cosmetic reasons.
  • A forensic statement or report.
  • DVLA medicals.
  • Medico-legal work such as medicals, reports and expert witness testimony for the judicial system.
  • Pre-employment medicals.

If your practice will or already does carry out any of these services that incur VAT, it is important to keep track of your earnings through those. The total limitation right now is £82,000 and if you exceed that you will need to set aside an amount of income to be taken as VAT.

If you are not sure if you are exempt from VAT, or you need somebody to take care of your VAT responisibilities, Accounts Unlocked For Doctors are here to help.

We can oversee and calculate what you are predicted to earn over or under the limitations and work with you accordingly to give you peace of mind and unrivalled organisation of your tax and VAT affairs.

Four Fantastic Reasons To File Your Tax Return Early

At accounts unlocked for doctors we deal with and file a number of tax returns for our medical professional clients, whom value us as a service, taking a weight off of their busy shoulders so that they can concentrate on saving lives and bettering patient health.

There are two types of clients we work with, those who want their tax return filed as soon as they are able to submit it to HMRC in the new tax year, and those who leave it until a few weeks towards the deadline. Although both ways are equal submissions, there are a few benefits to submitting your tax return early.

 

MORE TIME TO BUDGET

Giving yourself more time to budget and spread those tax payments can be a real life saver for many of us, and can save a lot of stress if you have an unexpected amount to pay. The sooner you submit, the longer you will have to pay your tax bill and will relieve any anxieties or stress you may be having about the affordability of your tax bill.

YOU CAN USE YOUR TAX CODE

Another benefit of submitting your tax return early is that if you owe less than £3,000 in tax, you have the opportunity to have your tax liability collected through your tax code.

This would be a great option for employees, as they can have their taxes collected from their wages without having to worry about saving up the right amount over time.

FASTER TAX REFUNDS

Why wait for your tax rebates? Submitting your tax return early will accelerate the turnaround in when you will receive what you are rightfully owed. This means the money can be back with you, sat in your bank account generating interest or you could treat yourself to a holiday if you have accumulated a higher refund.

NOT MISSING THE DEADLINE

It’s so easy for busy people to put off their background admin like tax returns and almost forget about it day to day. That is why 10% of tax returns are filed late.

If you file late for your tax return you will get an automatic £100 fine to start off. If your tax return then becomes more than 3 months late, you will be charged a daily fee of £10 up to £900. After 6 months you will be fined a further £300 or 5% of your tax due, as well as an extra 5% if your tax return is 12 months late.

It really isn’t worth losing money or sleep over, and getting your tax return in early will allow you to be free of any worry or regret that you didn’t submit sooner. If you are the forgetful type a team of experts like us are your best bet for keeping your tax return on track.

Accounts Unlocked For Doctors are available to assist you with your tax return at anytime in the financial year and we work hard to give you the very best outcome. Whether you file early or leave it until last minute, Accounts Unlocked For Doctors is here to help.

The Privatisation Of The NHS – What You Need To Know

The involvement of the private sector in the NHS has always been a controversial but increasing relevant topic of conversation. Although private companies have always taken a role in the foundations of the NHS everyday running, concern has been growing over the increasing amount of privatisation the NHS is experiencing over time, which is believed to be undermining the core values of the National Health Service.

Private provision of our free healthcare services has always been a controversial topic, although lots of services, such as dentists,  opticians and pharmacies, have been provided by the private sector for decades and you will find that now most GP practices are private partnerships too.

The National Audit Office (NAO) have said that lack of investment in the health service by the Conservative government has resulted in “substantial deficits” that have been covered up by dipping into funds intended for long-term reform, meaning that it is very unlikely the NHS is actually able to sustain the demand and increasing pressures from our ever growing population and life expectancy.

The long-term plan introduced this year, which has displayed how the NHS will use the £20.5bn a year funding increase, that Theresa May pledged last year, includes plans of action to improve every area of physical and mental healthcare, for example:

  • The use of online and video appointment services, offering convenient and timely appointments to millions of patients via platforms like Skype. This is intended to reduce the amount of people sitting in waiting rooms and going to emergency service care like walk in centres unnecessarily.
  • 1 in 3 patients are benefiting from care given by community based services, rather than occupying hospitals with their outpatient appointments. These appointments account for 30 million at hospitals and will help to alleviate pressure on hospitals.
  •  More funding to alleviate the obvious difference in life expectancy that is seen between poor and wealthy individuals.
  • The increased recruitment in healthcare professionals from foreign countries, this has been sighted to minimise the damaging impact of chronic NHS lack of staffing, something that has been extremely detrimental to the national health service for years.

So what does all of this mean for the private healthcare sector, the NHS and it’s patients?

Well not much really, the NHS will continue to depend on and work with the private sector to offer patients the best course of care possible to give and will prioritise the areas of the NHS that need the attention private companies can offer, like long waiting lists. As long as patients can access timely and free healthcare to a good standard there is really no huge issues surrounding the increasing merge between private and public healthcare. The NHS can only benefit from addressing their own haemorrhages in the currently national health services with  the partnership and ventures that the private healthcare sector can offer.

Things To Consider Before Starting Your Own Practice

Setting up your own medical practice is the dream for many healthcare professionals, doctors and dentists. Owning your own practice has so many benefits, but can be difficult to get started or you may feel a bit clueless in the beginning. Being your own boss is one of the most enticing ideas behind most practice set ups, and the opportunities can become endless for those who strive for success in their craft and their industry.

In this post we are exploring the things to consider before starting your own practice and the hiccups you may experience on the way.

WHY YOU SHOULD OPEN YOUR OWN PRACTICE?

The private healthcare industry is booming in the UK and only increasing in interest and popularity as the NHS continues to struggle through these uncertain times in Britain. The lack of healthcare professionals in the industry is increasingly worrying for the economy and for public health, but your practice could contribute to making a difference to the community you choose to work in.

Having a clear idea of what you want to offer your patients and the community you decide to set up in is important to the success of your practice. Having a focus will allow you to set out areas of achievement and areas you want to strengthen, making sure that you offer something that your patients essentially need, but also want too.

UNDERSTANDING THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

It is not as simple as finding a suitable premises to rent, setting up your equipment and letting the patients flock in. There are many legal implications that you must adhere to, to ensure your medical practice is in line with the law, so that your practice and patients are protected.

As a doctor you must obtain the right to work in private healthcare, admitting rights and/or practice privileges are essential.  Private hospitals & healthcare establishments have a Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) that comprises consultants of all sub-specialities, one of those people will be the chairman. The senior manager of the hospital should grant practising privileges to consultants who meet the standards set by the MAC.

You will also need to register with a private medical insurer. Before a private professional can actively treat patients, they must be registered so that they can get paid by insurers for the treatment of their patients. You can find out more about private medical insurance here.

EMPLOYING STAFF FOR YOUR PRACTICE

Although you may start small, for optimum growth  and strength as a practice, it is important to employ professionals to take care of the various aspects of your business. From a receptionist to other medical professionals, depending on your goals, focus and budget it is important to gain an understanding of the help you will need to make your practice a success.

OBTAINING AN ACCOUNTANT

One of the most important aspects of starting a new business, let alone a new practice, is the importance of having your finance affairs well organised and in good condition. Obtaining an accountant will take the stress out of these areas, and leave you to get on with treating your patients. Accounts Unlocked For Doctors specifically provide accountancy, financial management and general business administration services to private medical professionals and their practices all over the UK. There is no practice to small or too big for our experienced team who have been working in the healthcare industry for many years.

Find out more about what Accounts Unlocked For Doctors can offer your private practice.

At the end of the day, taking the steps forward into the private healthcare industry, which is currently one of the fastest growing industries in the world, seeing around £70 billion a year made by private practices, is one of the best decisions you could ever make in your career. That’s not to say it will come easy and in this post we have merely scratched the surface on what it takes to start up a successful private practice. However, we believe that with the right support, ambition and determination, the private healthcare industry will only continue to thrive and it is only becoming easier to be successful.

 

Preparing Your Practice For Brexit

You’re probably sick of hearing the word ‘Brexit’ by now, but with only a few weeks to go until we leave the EU and still a whole lot of uncertainty, we need to address how Brexit will effect the healthcare sector.

The British Medical Association stepped out last year to say a NO DEAL BREXIT would be catastrophic for the medical and healthcare industry. They have covered what they believe to be the implications of a no deal Brexit and are as follows…

  • A no deal Brexit will cause real disruption for almost a million patients receiving treatment for rare diseases, as the UK would be excluded from the European Rare Disease Network
  • Cause delays in diagnosis and treatment for cancer patients because the UK would have to source important radioisotopes from outside of EURATOM
  • End reciprocal healthcare agreements which could disrupt patient care and increase insurance costs. If 190,000 UK state pensioners currently signed up to the S1 scheme and living within the EU return to the UK, it could cost the health services between £500m and £1bn a year
  • Weaken the UK’s response to pandemics and increase the chances of diseases spreading as we lose partnerships with key EU bodies, such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
  • Risk the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland which could see doctors leaving the profession and patients having to travel miles to receive care
  • See fewer doctors and other medical staff – at a time when there are already huge shortages of these roles – due to uncertainty over future immigration status and confusion around the mutual recognition of medical qualifications across the EU

So, how do you deal with the impending unknown that is Brexit? Well, we don’t have the answers, but based on what we are told we can give an idea of what would be and is being advised as best practice for private healthcare providers.

STOP STOCKPILING

Many professionals and experts have said that panic stockpiling is quite unnecessary and will only need to be considered if no deal Brexit is a certain outcome for the UK. There are reports that the government have already contacted pharmaceutical firms to stockpile 6 weeks worth of medicine, but have reassured several times that this is simply a precaution and preparing for the very unlikely worst case scenario.

RECRUITMENT

Recruitment is already an issue in healthcare, both private and national health service struggle to meet demands with the amount of staff they have. But will Brexit worsen this issue? Allegedly many healthcare firms have ALREADY stumped their recruitment process, as a precaution thanks to the uncertainty of Brexit. As well as a stall in recruitment, many doctors who are not native British are considering transferring out of the UK when we leave the EU in March, which would cause many issues. With the information already presented we predict the NHS recruitment issues to worsen before they get better in the immediate future, and private healthcare to follow a similar pattern.

PRIVATE HEALTHCARE BECOMING MORE ATTRACTIVE?

Due to the prediction of the NHS’ demise as Brexit takes hold of Britain, this could see the private healthcare sector boom. With reports of the NHS losing £350 million A WEEK after Brexit, these predicted stats are likely to encourage people to go down the private healthcare route. There is also rumour and talk of the fact that to get the country of a sticky spot, selling off the NHS could be the only option for the government to get us out of the red, something that the population of the UK does not want to see happen. Due to these reports you are likely to see an increase in private healthcare applications, something worth preparing for and something worth taking advantage of.

Overall, whatever we predict or over analyse, the sore fact about Brexit is the only thing that is certain is complete uncertainty. The private healthcare sector could as equally suffer as it could thrive in the grips of Brexit, and with that in mind it’s important to stay on top and organised when it comes to the finances and expenses of your private practice. If you’re unsure how Brexit could affect you or need somebody with expertise to handle your finances and accounts during these uncertain times, Accounts Unlocked For Doctors can help.

Consultants Must Legally Publish Private Healthcare Fees

If you were not already aware, after a thorough investigation by the CMA (Competition And Markets Authority), consultants treating self pay patients are now legally obliged to publish their private healthcare fees and being contacted by the PHIN (Private Healthcare Investigation Network) to do so.

The recent investigation by the CMA seemed to confirm that there was a severe lack of transparency from consultants working and treating patients in the private healthcare sector. Signing up to the transparency movement, will ensure that patients are given clearer information and can make a better informed decision on what they are buying into, what services they will be provided and what those will cost overall.

The new requirements currently relate to self pay practitioners, however the intentions seek to focus on the costs that come with private medical insurance. The PHIN want full transparency for the sake of self pay patients who are duped by hidden costs and price escalation.

The PHIN are aiming to contact and raise awareness in the private healthcare industry by inviting providers to publish their fees correctly and with full transparency. The PHIN want this to be a smooth operation and will encourage hospitals and private practitioners to have this information available for publishing in April 2019.

The CMA have noted that not only will this be beneficial for patients, but for consultants themselves too. Patients will have a better idea of what they can afford from their private healthcare provider, which allows consultants to have better informed conversations with patients.

This can only be a positive movement for private healthcare and allows patients to feel much more comfortable with moving forward with private healthcare as an option especially if the transparency reveals an affordable option for so many patients who have been on NHS waiting lists for a very long time. Everybody involved will benefit from this full transparency and the obligation is certain to be well receive and a relief to many.