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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPC rebukes Hutton on MMR

GPs could lose thousands of pounds from their pensions because of errors in new forms designed to certify annual practice profits, medical accountants warn.

Accountants are deluging the NHS Pensions Agency with problems over the End of Year form.

Issues include the impact on practices who do not have a March year-end and the use of a complicated 'pensions overlap' system.

Northern Ireland GPs have also been told not to use the form because it uses the wrong figure for the employer's share of superannuation.

Martin Murray, accountant at Sandison Easson in Wilmslow, Cheshire, said the method for calculating the pension overlap, which ensures superannuable profits are only counted once, was flawed. He said: 'The final figure will be wrong, to GPs' detriment.' Murray also identified a host of other problems in the form, including duplicated deductions, figures that are wrongly scaled back and a lack of consistency with the way tax returns are completed.

Bob Senior, director of medical services at BKL Tenon of Southampton, said practices without a March year-end would lose out. He said a GP with a June 04 year-end could only include one quarter's quality pay, whereas a GP with a March 05 year-end could include a full year's worth of quality.

'Because pensions are derived from profits they would be paying lower contributions for that period,' he added.

Neil Robinson, a medical accountant in Bangor, Northern Ireland, said the formula for working out the employer's contribution was wrong for the province: 'The share in England, Scotland and Wales is 14 per cent, but it is only 7 per cent here. Northern Ireland GPs and their accountants should not use this form.'

The BMA, which drew up the form with the Department of Health and accountants Kingston Smith, said the form was a 'work in progress'.

But accountants said GPs who provided 'false' information would be liable to prosecution.

By Ian Cameron

Problems with the pensions form

·Accountants asked to input data 'inconsistent' with income tax rules

·Date for submission of forms could lower pensions for GPs in practices with non-March year-ends

·Form does not take into account different funding arrangements in Northern Ireland

·Pensions overlap calculation flawed

·'Wrong' figures demanded for certain formulae

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