I have just qualified and I can't decide whether to be a salaried GP, a locum GP or accept a partnership as a GP principal - how can I make up my mind?
You need to set out your personal priorities and, once you have established these, conduct your own research and on top of this take professional advice – this is not a straight forward like for like comparison.
If you are a salaried GP your circumstances don’t change at all from being a registrar. You can go on paying your tax in the form of PAYE, National Insurance and your superannuation contributions remain the same, or similar, and are deducted for you by your employer.
From a GP locum perspective you are self-employed, responsible to HMRC for your own tax return but you can earn more than a salaried GP on two fronts. On the first, in terms of flexibility you can work as little or as much as you like so life style and money become a genuine trade off. On the second, as a locum GP there is an opportunity to have more tax deductible expenses. Travel expenses are a good example of this, as you are registered as operating from your home address the journeys to and from home become a tax deductible expense.
When joining a partnership as a GP principal you are self-employed, again responsible for your own tax returns but without the tax deductible advantages of being registered working from home. However if you are joining a well-run, profitable practice you could be taking a stake in something that’s growing and already successful at the start of your career - but you will need to take advice. Practices differ wildly, some are successful, clinically excellent and well run but others fall short. Depending on different scenarios there may be a requirement to borrow money to pay your share of the working capital of the practice or ownership of the surgery premises. In a situation like this interest on that loan would be an allowable expense for example on a £1,000 interest payment on a loan, an individual being taxed in the 40 per cent bracket would receive a £400 cash benefit.