Chancellor spells uncertainty for limited company locum GPs
The chancellor, Phil Hammond confirmed his plans for public sector off-payroll within the recent Autumn Statement. (GP practices are specifically included as public sector bodies, as yet no information has been given as to whether OOH companies are classed as the same.)
Where locum GPs are engaged through their own limited company to work for a GP practice, from April 2017, responsibility to apply the IR35 rules (also called the 'intermediaries' rules) will fall to the GP practice paying the locum through his or her company. This will result in the GP practice being liable to pay any associated income tax and National Insurance!!!
HMRC will be providing a new interactive online tool in order to help GP practices and other public sector bodies, agencies or other third parties to determine whether the intermediaries rules apply to them or not. Hopefully this online tool will be launched sooner rather than later so we can indicate which locums will be caught out by the new rules. Certainly regular locums are at risk, those who are genuinely ‘stepping in’ if a GP is off sick or on annual leave, who are not controlled by the Practice, may be okay. HMRC’s current status manual supports this – but this may of course be changed. Locums at hospitals are likely to be caught. However at consultant level, they may be in the clear as they are not likely to be subject to supervision or control. Watch this space!