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Your financial year planner

Rosemary Smith guides you through the key tasks of the forthcoming financial year – covering both practice and personal finance

Rosemary Smith guides you through the key tasks of the forthcoming financial year – covering both practice and personal finance

The new financial year starting is likely to be another where expenses increase more than income.

The first year this happens you can tighten the belt a little and survive, but each year it gets harder. The most important thing this coming year will be to make sure you do not draw more than the available profit – better to be forewarned than to find yourself overdrawn at the year-end.

Month-by-month, it is important not only to look at budgeted figures but to compare them with actual figures. A budget and cash flow will serve little purpose if not monitored throughout the year and adjusted for the remaining time.

Things you should have done already

Lifetime allowance: On 6 April 2006 changes in the pension rules were brought in by the Government, one of which was the introduction of the lifetime allowance.

This was introduced to limit the amount of pension savings you could have and still benefit from tax relief for the payments into your pension. However it is still possible to exceed this level as long as you have protection in place before 6 April 2009. If this is not done, you could end up paying a 55% tax charge. Check with your accountant.

2007/8 superannuation: Ensure the PCT has made the necessary adjustments from your PMS/GMS payment for your 2007/8 certificate, otherwise you will have to wait another year for the tax relief.

2009/10 superannuation: The PCTs have issued forms for practices to fill in for estimates of NHS pensionable profits and pay for 2009/10. These need to be completed by every practice and submitted to the PCT by 1 April 2009. All the details for every GP provider, salaried GP and non-GP provider need to be included. It is not only the practice income that needs to be included but also all the out-of-hours, PEC, GP locum and solo work.

Personal finance

ISA – the deadline for the 2008/9 ISA allowance of £7,200 is 5 April 2009 so if you want to make the most of it you need to act now. It can be used to invest in any combination of cash and stocks and shares, as long as investment into a cash ISA does not exceed £3,600.

April 2009

Practice records: For the March year-end, ensure the records are up to date and sent to the accountant at the first opportunity.

PMS, APMS, and GMS payments: Care needs to be taken to ensure payment for the budget, patient numbers, QOF aspiration, seniority and superannuation percentages are correct. Mistakes made in this payment could well carry on throughout the year.

2008/9 QOF achievement payment: Make sure this has been received this month, if not already paid in your March payment.

You will be taxed on it in 2008/9 (if your year-end is 31 March) so you want it in your bank account as soon as possible.

Personal finance

Personal expenses – prepare and send your details off to your accountant as soon as possible after your practice year-end. This will ensure that the partnership tax return, and subsequently your personal tax return, can be completed as soon as possible and let you know your tax liabilities at the earliest time.

May 2009

Practice PAYE: End of year forms P14 and P35 need to be submitted by 19 May 2009. P60s for employees need to be distributed by 31 May 2009. With two bank holidays this month, it is worthwhile checking that the number of bank holidays you are paying your part-time staff has been correctly calculated.

Personal finance

Income tax reduction fund – by now you should have all the details of bank interest, dividends, P60s, loan interest and personal income earned privately to send to your accountant for your personal tax return. Send them off and find out your tax liabilities for July 2009 and January 2010.

June 2009

Enhanced services: You have reached the end of the first quarter. Check that all your enhanced services have been paid with the relevant uplifts.

Cash flow: Is the money available for the second payment on account at the end of July? If not, now is the time to organise it.

July 2009

Practice PAYE: Payroll P11Ds need to be submitted by 6 July 2009.

Budgets: Check the first quarter's income and expenditure against your budget. Look at the differences and why they have happened. Most importantly, do they affect your future budget and cash flow? If so, they need to be amended now.

Personal finance

Second payment on account – due before 31 July.

August 2009

Holiday month: Can you cover the holidays of the other GPs in your practice rather than paying for locums? Ensure holidays are staggered to enable this. The same goes for practice staff's holidays.

September 2009

Accountant's meeting: By now you should have scheduled your annual accounts meeting to ensure you have time to arrange availability of money for tax payments in January and superannuation adjustments in March 2010. Don't spend too much time on last year – use your meeting to move forward.

Personal finance

This is a good time to arrange a meeting with a financial adviser to check over all your insurances and pension position. Get annual update figures from Pensions House.

October 2009

Cash flow: After the end of the half-year, revisit your budgets and cash flow. If you are worried, arrange to have six-monthly management accounts prepared to make sure you are aware of any problems before they get too serious.

November 2009

Forward planning: Arrange an away day to discuss the practice over the next five years. Are any retirements likely and if so how will the practice deal with them? Is there scope in your area to offer a speciality service? Are there local practices you could offer some services to?

Personal finance

Balance up payment for 2008/9 and the first payment on account for 2009/10 due before 31 January 2010.

December 2009

Taxable gifts: Christmas is upon us. Talk to your accountant to check whether tax will be due on staff presents and if so, how you can pre-arrange for this with the revenue.

January 2010

Tax returns: Check both the practice and your personal tax returns have been submitted and that you know the liabilities due and have the finance available.

February 2010

Superannuation: Beware – the 2008/9 certificates need to be completed by 28 February and they are likely to throw up some large underpayments and overpayments. Because the certificates will change for this year there is a strong possibility you will not know the amounts until quite late. Check your accountants have included an estimate in your 2009 accounts as they should have shown the PCT as a debtor or creditor.

Personal finance

Your 2008/9 superannuation certificate is due by 28 February and adjusting payment will come out of March's monthly payment.

March 2010

2008/9 superannuation: Ensure the PCT has made the necessary adjustments from your PMS or GMS payment for your 2008/9 certificate, otherwise you will have to wait another year for the tax relief.

Rosemary Smith is healthcare manager at Tenon, the UK's third largest medical accountancy firm

Your financial year planner

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