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Locum GPs welcome news that IR35 is deferred for a year

New IR35 tax reforms, which affect GP locums, have been pushed back a year as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. 

Chief treasury secretary Steve Barclay announced last week that the new tax reforms would be delayed until next year.

The turnaround came less than a week after the measures were confirmed in the Budget, but the new IR35 reforms will now come into effect in April 2021.

The IR35, an anti-tax avoidance measure, was from April changing to include large or medium private sector bodies.

This means GP locums working for non-public sector bodies who provide services such as out-of-hours or urgent care would be affected. 

Dr Matt Mayers, the sessional GPs committee deputy chair for the BMA said: ‘I welcome the action by the chancellor to postpone these changes, because the last thing freelance doctors need at the moment when they are dealing with a pandemic is wide sweeping changes to the way in which they report their tax.’

He added: ‘I’m still concerned that these changes are going to happen at all and the instability in locum work force particularly in out of hours that will be caused by them. While I’m pleased they have been delayed for a year, I think they need to be more closely looked at by the government, in collaboration with the BMA.’

The BMA are keen to avoid destabilisation of the workforce as a result of IR35 and last month produced a new document to provide guidance for locum doctors.