Associate dentists – are you self-employed or employed?
March 22, 2023

Associate dentists – are you self-employed or employed?

Previous HMRC guidance which automatically treated associate dentists as self-employed will be removed from 6 April 2023. After this date, associates will be assessed using the ordinary tests of employment to determine employment status.

If you are classed as an employee by HMRC, you and your employer will be required to pay PAYE and Class 1 National Insurance.

Why the change?

A HMRC review into the self-employed status of associate dentists found that many were not working within the terms of their standard British Dental Association (BDA) contract with the Principal/Practice, instead using a bespoke contract or not having one in place.

What do I need to do?

To guarantee correct treatment, ensure that you have a contract in place (ideally the BDA standard contract) which reflects the reality of your relationship together.

The tests for self-employment are lengthy, however the main areas for associate dentists to consider are:

  • Do you have clinical freedom?
  • Do you have control over working hours?
  • Are you able to appoint a locum if unable to perform your work yourself?

If you are unsure about any of these areas, please get in touch with our EQ Healthcare team by emailing or by calling one of our offices.