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Finance diary, June: How partners’ CCG earnings affect practice income

June is a time when many practices start to receive draft 2013 accounts from their accountants. For those with partners involved in CCG work it is the first time the effect of working a full year in their new role will be revealed.

In most cases the funding has been straightforward, with GPs often paid on a self-employed basis, perhaps with additional payments to the practice to cover locum costs. But from 1 April 2013, any GP who is a CCG board member or senior official with significant financial responsibility is likely to be regarded by HM Revenue and Customs as needing to have PAYE deducted from payments. HMRC cannot rule that GPs are employees of the CCG, but it can tax them as if they were.  

That causes problems if the post is carried out in partnership time and the income is pooled with other practice profits – all tax, employee’s national insurance and superannuation is deemed to relate to the individual GP.  

What you should do

There is no simple mechanism to formally reallocate those amounts across all partners. The only solution is for the accountants to make compensating adjustments. If you thought accounts were hard enough to understand, wait until those adjustments start to appear.

Perhaps the most important task where a CCG role is treated as pooled practice income is to apply to HMRC for an NT (no tax) code. This will prevent tax being deducted on the CCG post. It is not, though, normally possible to stop national insurance being deducted.

Given the complexities that will arise when CCG posts are deemed to be practice income, would it not be simpler for the GP to reduce practice sessions and do CCG work in their own time? It certainly would, but CCG posts are often limited. If the job is likely to last for only two or three years the GP will want to make sure they can pick their practice sessions back up when the job finishes.

It is important the partnership agreement is updated to reflect the workload impact. If a partner is putting sessions into a CCG post, the practice has to cover for the absence. Locums will not do everything a partner would – the remaining partners pick up the rest.

Bob Senior is chair of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants and head of medical services at RSM Tenon