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GPs hit by ‘hefty’ pensions fees

By Alisdair Stirling

GPs could be forced to pay ‘hefty’ fees for adjusting their pensions certificates because of changes to the pensions regulations, it has emerged.

The fees – which could approach £1,000 for extra accounting and a corrected valuation from the NHS Pensions Agency – will affect all GPs aged over 50 who are paying for extra years on their pensions.

The implications of new rules due to come into effect on April 6 are only just becoming clear after discussions between the BMA and the NHS Pensions Agency.

The regulations state that GPs with an uplift in excess of £50,000 in their annual pension value must receive an NHS Pensions Agency valuation certificate no later than 6 October after the end of the tax year.

This is so that tax adjustments can be made in tax returns due by 31 January and will probably require GPs to submit a certificate of pensionable profits to their PCT by 6 June.

But the Association of Specialist Medical Accountants has warned that the new rules will penalise GPs twice. As well as paying a fee to their accountants for the additional work required in preparing the documents, GPs will also need to pay the NHS Pensions Agency for a corrected valuation once the final certificate of pensionable profits has been submitted.

Deborah Wood, AISMA vice-chair and head of healthcare services at chartered accountants Moore and Smalley, said the rules, instigated last year after a consultation process involving the BMA, were ‘not fit for purpose’.

‘The pensions agency fee could perhaps be in excess of £500. But additional accountancy fees could be in the ballpark of several hundred pounds, bring the whole thing edging up towards £1,000.’

‘Over the coming months AISMA will be in dialogue with the NHSPA and the BMA with the aim of establishing a fairer process that puts a stop to GPs having to pay unnecessary fees.’

Dr Andrew Dearden, Chairman of the BMA’s Pensions Committee, said: ‘The BMA is aware of this issue and is exploring it with the NHSPA. We would encourage any GP member concerned about the impact of the changes to contact our pensions department for advice.’

Dr Andrew Dearden: BMA is exploring options with the NHSPA