UHY Ross Brooke Chartered Accountants

HMRC target locums

Locum Dentists, Doctors, Pharmacists, Veterinary surgeons and Opticians often prefer to regards themselves as self-employed. This usually gives them a tax advantage over employed status, but HMRC have been taking a very strong line in contesting the employment status of locums.

The onus of proof lies very much with the engager (ie the medical or dental practice) to show that the correct treatment has been applied. This has proved a very fruitful area for HMRC as a successful outcome including back tax, interest and penalties is very rewarding for them.

To determine whether or not a locum is self-employed it is necessary to assess the nature of the engagement and the relationship between the worker and the engager. Over the years the Courts have looked at a number of different factors, none of which in itself is likely to be deciding.

A common argument in support of the self-employed status for a locum is the number of engagements the locum has but this is only one factor to be considered and there are many other factors that need to be examined in order to determine status.

We understand that there are many cases currently under attack by HMRC and we would strongly urge any medical practices and/or locums to talk to their advisors and review their position carefully.

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