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Tax, expenses and GP registrars

Last week I was giving a lecture to a group of registrars about finance and tax, something I enjoy doing and I noticed a similarity with the questions raised from this course and others.

Typically the points that come up are:

* But that’s not fair! when talking about tax,

* Why they can’t claim their initial registration fees to their professional bodies but can claim the renewal?

* Why they can’t claim their clothes against tax? Although I explain at the beginning of my talk on tax that it is a mistake to talk about fairness in the same sentence as tax, there is an expectation that there should be.

When I explain that you can claim an expense against tax, it always surprises me that a few people in the room will interpret this as meaning that they will get the full cost of the item reimbursed, not the tax on it. It must hit a blind spot with some people, as I usually have to show by example what I mean. To get back all the cost we would have to live with 100% tax rates.

There are always a few people who have formed limited companies to put their locum work through. If you work through a locum agency, then you have to be employed by the locum agency with tax deducted at source. Some in fact mentioned to me that they have been advised to form limited companies to work for the agency and avoid the employment status. This is risky business and questionable advice. It is probably better to obtain work without going through an agency!

Back to the office, and I was dismayed to receive an email from a well respected accountancy website headed: 'How to stop being a boring accountant'. I must admit when my wife and I meet people for the first time and we exchange pleasantries, they are much (actually I mean very very much) more interested when they hear she is a GP than that I am an accountant. Oh well, never mind I have a great new article on Real Time Information (the latest changes to PAYE) to read tonight. Never boring in my house!

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