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GPs warned to check pension statements as error could hit tax relief

GPs could miss out on tax relief for pensionable pay this year because of a failure with the electronic submission system, now operated by Capita, which meant not all payment submissions have been included.

Accountants have warned practices to double check their March statements, which should arrive this week, to ensure certificates of 2015/16 pensionable earnings that practices had to submit before 28 February 2017 are included.

If the statements are not accurate practices could be required to make a manual payment to claim pension tax relief this year.

But Capita told Pulse that ‘individual members’ pension contributions will not be impacted by any delay'.

Pulse revealed last week that NHS England had enacted a ‘grace period’ for annual submissions sent after the deadline because the mailbox run by Capita was full.

Medical accountants told Pulse they were already hearing from practices whose statements were incomplete, and said they now had to submit payments manually before the end of the month.

Medical services manager at BW Medical Accountants Mark Dempsey told Pulse that this would be ‘more work for GP practices and practice managers’ as for each GP they will have to check the amount to be made and the relevant reference details.

He said: ‘That deadline of 28 February was obviously to get the certificates to be processed in the March Open Exeter statements, and it’s essential that they’re processed in March so that GPs can claim tax relief on their pension payments.

Where practices submitted before the February deadline and their statement is incomplete, to claim tax relied ‘you would have to make a manual payment before the end of the month.’

‘So you have to work out for each individual GP the amount to be paid, putting the reference numbers and making sure there’s no duplication if some certificates aren’t processed and other are.’

Mr Dempsey said BW 'have had a few practices contact us’ with this problem but the full extent wasn’t yet clear as practices would only now be receiving their statements.

He added: 'The system doesn’t appear to be working as it has in previous years now Capita have taken over.’

In a letter to GPs NHS England apologised for ‘the issues and delays’ with pension payments and enquiries and said any manual payments should be sent to it directly.

The letter said: 'We apologise, on behalf of Capita, for any inconvenience caused. This is not reflective of the level of service we commissioned them to provide, as a result, we are working with Capita to accelerate improvements.’

A Capita spokesperson said: ‘As performers list changes are processed, we are completing any required pension adjustments and associated practice payment reconciliations relating to the change.’

’Individual members’ pension contributions will not be impacted by any delay in the processing of pension contributions.’

An NHS England spokesperson said: 'These changes are part of a series of actions we are implementing with Capita, to complete the recovery of PCSE services'.

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